Impactful Entry Space: Choice Hotel Expo

In this Impactful Entry Space blog series, we will feature a designer or artist that has created an attention-grabbing design for the main lobby space of a building. Drawing inspiration from completed entry spaces around the world, we travel beyond the image by diving into the design process and concepts behind it.

Today, we feature our interview with Anders Buchardt of  Haptic Architects about the lobby design of Choice Hotel Expo in Norway.


GPI Design: What did the lobby space mean to the building as a whole?

Anders Buchardt: The lobby is more than a reception and waiting lounge, elevated to a communal dining and meeting point for hotel and conference guests. Subtle lighting has been installed to work with the planted trees, where shadows from their canopies dance upon the articulated lobby ceiling. The lounge and library space is defined by a slender timber screen, that seemingly goes off for a walk, creating bar shelving, bookshelves, desks and ceiling. By contrast, the hotel rooms are pared down, with simple, quality materials and custom-made furniture fabricated in collaboration with B&B Italia.


GPI: What were your functional and conceptual goals for the lobby?

Buchardt: The Norwegian forests are a primary inspiration, whereby timber is used throughout in very different ways to create semi-permeable screens, cladding to cores, a bespoke square-log reception and bar, right down to details such as signage and loose furniture. The main lobby space is framed by a stylized forest wall, that divides the lobby from the restaurant but allows glimpses between the spaces and filters natural light from the main skylight above.

GPI: How did you use specific design tools (such as color, form, materiality, lighting) to create the space?

Buchardt: Choice Hotel Expo is inspired by the stunning Norwegian landscape and uses a primary palette of natural materials to provide variety in spatial composition, form, texture and color.  Sub-divided into several dining experiences, the canteen & café takes centre stage, at the heart of the hotel.  The canteen and cafe is elevated to a dining and meeting point for hotel and conference guests.


GPI: What was the biggest constraint in turning this design into a reality?

Buchardt: The biggest design challenge was to rationalize a complex set of inter-connecting spaces and functions.  It was further important to provide spaces that felt intimate, whilst being easy to get to, flexible and compatible with large-scale event logistics. The main communal space of the hotel is understood through a simple architectural theme, the “big floor”, which is then subtly sub-divided into zones.  A consistent design language was developed, built around the theme of nature.


GPI: What makes this space impactful?

Buchardt: Whilst the hotel is located outside of Oslo, the Fornebu area is becoming a buoyant hub of activity, alive with innovative businesses.  The hotel design draws upon the natural context, extending the landscape into the building.  The building in turn connects back to the landscape, yet feels intimate and relaxing whilst inside.  The local community and businesses seemingly enjoy this space, with mix of activities and uses coming together.  The hotel building also provides office space, conferencing and an innovation / exhibition centre for oil company Aker Solutions (also designed by Haptic).  Choice Hotel Expo won Choice hotel of the year 2012 and has recently been shortlisted for several awards.


Many thanks to Anders for sharing the inspiration for this lobby design. Stay tuned to our next Impactful Entry Space interview coming up in two weeks. For more visual inspiration, follow our Impactful Entry Space board on Pinterest.

Image credits: Arch Daily