History Meets the Present in Oslo

, 01 Jun 2021

The boutique hotel Amerikalinjen in Oslo breathes nostalgia with a contemporary twist. Located in the Neo-Baroque headquarters of the former Norwegian America Line cruise ship company, the vibrant branch of Nordic Choice Hotels is designed for the modern explorer and aims to convey the legacy of its visitors and passengers of the past. Next to rooms, suites, and public spaces that include restaurants and bars, Amerikalinjen also offers Vista: a petite library and comfortable social space.

In the center of Norway’s vibrant capital lies the Amerikalinjen boutique hotel. This is the place wherein the journey for thousands of hopeful Norwegians once began: the headquarters of Norway’s America Line. As early as 1919, people from cities, towns, and villages all across the country came by train to Jernbanetoget, Oslo’s central station. Back then, Amerikalinjen was the place where they deposited duffle bags, suitcases, and cabin trunks with their most valuable belongings, ready to embark on a journey by sea to the land of opportunities.

The building itself is in Neo-Baroque style, designed by the Norwegian architects Andreas Bjercke and Georg Eliassen at the beginning of the 20th century. It certainly made an impression back then and still does so today, polished and spruced up by local firm Kritt Architects, who foregrounded the building’s decorative maritime trimmings, soaring vaulted ceilings, ornamental moldings, and grand staircases. 

Vista – The Heritage Room of Amerikalinjen Hotel is a place that whispers old stories, breathes local heritage, and invites guests to create new memories.

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Director at aatvos

Where history meets the present

The second floor of the hotel houses a small space of twenty square meters that was to be transformed into a comfortable place to stay, namely the Vista – The Heritage Room. aatvos was asked to design this space in collaboration with the craftsmen of Artisan Tech. “We strived to develop a place that whispers old stories, breathes local heritage, and invites guests to create new memories,” explains Creative Director Aat Vos. To reflect the history of the building and its location, one of the key inspirations in the design was to allude to the journey of Norway’s fortune seekers.

Once a place where people left for a new future, the Amerikalinjen Hotel is now a popular anchor for those returning to Norway to discover the land of their ancestors.“I remember that we, the Amerikalinjen crew along with the teams from Artisan Tech and aatvos, were sitting in a café at Jernbanetoget, to brainstorm ideas for our new project. All of a sudden, the man sitting next to us turned around and told us that he had just arrived from the United States to visit the land of his grandparents and that the waitress who served us coffee was actually his daughter who had recently moved back to Norway to find her roots.”

For us, Vista is the perfect starting point for our guided tours around the house. A room where we connect the historical dots and tell stories of people in motion for our modern-day explorers.

Wilhelm Hartwig Wilhelm Hartwig General Manager at Amerikalinjen Hotel

Hospitable and rustic

Working around constraints such as walls, floors, and a ceiling that were listed as cultural heritage, the petite library of Vista now invites its guests to take a seat, whether alone or in company, enjoy a cup of coffee and delve into a book. “I find it fantastic to see how our guests have embraced Vista from the very beginning. They love to spend time in our little library, exploring books and old artefacts from the actual ships”, describes Wilhelm Hartwig, manager of Amerikalinjen Hotel. “For us, it is also the perfect starting point for our guided tours around the house. A room where we connect the historical dots and tell stories of people in motion for our modern-day explorers.”

Welcomed by a massive three-by-three meter oak door, guests are drawn into the intimate space with seating inspired by historical train compartments. The bookcase is a link to the new Deichman Bjørvika Library, which opened its doors in Oslo in 2020. Inspired by Art Deco, all materials and props were carefully selected to complement the architecture and interior design of Amerikalinjen. The result is a hospitable and rustic space that references historical wanderlust, inspiring hotel guests and all other visitors to dream up modern-day adventures.

PROJECT CREDITS

Vista – The Heritage Room of Amerikalinjen is a co-creation of aatvos (concept and creative direction) and Artisan Tech Oslo (production and development).

This project post is based on information by Artisan Tech.
Photography: Francisco Nogueira (Vista – The Heritage Room), Magne Risnes (portrait Wilhelm Hartwig)