Tampere, one of Finland’s largest cities, has long been recognised as a centre of industrial production, and in fact the industrial boom of the 19th and 20th centuries earned the city its nickname ‘Finland’s Manchester’. In light of this, when Sokos, one of Finland’s largest commercial property developers, decided to open a Solo-branded hotel in Tampere, it needed a design firm that could honour this heritage, while suggesting something of the city’s thriving arts and music scene today. Cue Stylt Trampoli.
The way in which the hotel rises out of the old locomotive sheds in the city centre is symbolic in itself, and Swedish design consultant Stylt Trampoli has matched this external narrative of revival perfectly through the hotel’s interior.
“Tampere’s story is one of rise, and fall, and rise,” says Stylt founder and creative director, Erik Nissen Johansen. “The post-industrial challenge is one that many, many places around the world faces, and it’s very exciting to explore how a hotel can play a role in a city’s future by telling that story.”
The local connection is evident everywhere you look. The interior is characterised by the striking graphic patterns and motifs that recur throughout, while Stylt artist Kasra Alikhani has designed carpets, wall features and a 20ft collapsible wall, inspired by the local landscape and history.
Local creative forces have been invited to put their own mark on the hotel, for example in the restaurant, which is a celebration of a musical genre unique to Tampere, known as ‘Manserock’ – a name that derives from the textile-producing town’s nickname, ‘Finland’s Manchester’. Guitars belonging to well-known bands adorn the walls, and the menus themselves are made of old vinyl record sleeves.
The rooftop bar is exclusive only in the sense that it resembles a cutting-edge metropolitan sky bar, for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere more closely resembles a pub environment.
In the same vein, the entire 17th floor is given over to a creative lounge which is open to anyone, from near or far, in need of an inspiring place to work. There is also a library, dedicated to Tampere’s literary heritage, where guests may borrow books during their stay.
What is more, the hotel is home to the largest commercial art gallery anywhere in the Nordic countries, with over 300 artworks by 22 local artists. Admission is, of course, free.
“The owners wanted a hotel with a genuine connection to the place and to the local creative forces that have powered the city’s revival,” says Erik Nissen Johansen. “The result is an experience that is completely unique to this place.”