Task
New suites and restaurant extension for Arctic TreeHouse Hotel

Year
2019

Scope
Restaurant extension 110 m2, ArcticScene suites 180 m2

Client
SantaPark Ltd

Design
Studio Puisto Architects: Mikko Jakonen, Emma Johansson, Sampsa Palva, Heikki Riitahuhta, Willem van Bolderen, Sami Logren, Guillaume Keidel, Ioana Maftei, Ayda Grišiūtė, Heikki Muntola, Jenna Ahonen, Tuula Vitie (Interior)

Partners
Contractor: Rakennus Palola Oy (ArcticScene suites) / Rakennusliike Araks Oy (Restaurant extension), Facade paneling: Jukola Industries (ArcticScene suites), Photographs: Riikka Kantinkoski

Competence
Area planning, building design, interior

Continuing the unique story

An extension including three executive suite cabins and a reception space within the restaurant structure is a new chapter in the story of the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, an award-winning hospitality concept and resort designed by Studio Puisto Architects a few years prior for the arctic north of Finland.

These spaces are an aesthetic and sensual continuation of the existing resort, strengthening the original vision while offering new opportunities for engagement. They provide different, relaxing ways for us to mindfully connect with not only the overwhelming power of the northern landscape, but also with ourselves.

Architectural design

The reception space is a dedicated area within the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel Restaurant, which with its similar dark, oil-stained wooden walls, evokes a sense of arctic mysticism and the tranquility that the absence of light brings. Its addition deepens the arrival experience, bringing guests now to a peaceful area of the building for a welcoming moment before following a narrow corridor to the sudden, breathtaking views of the landscape beyond the large restaurant windows. Within this frame, the glow of the central fireplace is a warm, raw element that contrasts with the wilderness of the outside.

For the ArcticScene suites, one of the most prominent spatial changes results from the development of a natural wellness concept. Larger in size than their earlier counterpart, these new cabins now have a sauna and bath integrated into the design along with defined spaces for leisure, rest, and cleansing. Even though the overall architectural footprint remains similar, the facade is purposefully treated differently with custom-made dark brown panels that are 3D-milled to resemble the scales of a pinecone. This, in turn, distinguishes these cabins from the others, suggesting a different experience inside.

Material details

With distinctly Finnish aesthetics in mind, the chosen materials throughout the interior of the ArcticScene suites together foster a fresh, soothing atmosphere that harmoniously juxtaposes the wild, untouched Finnish nature around it. This contrast contributes to a nest-like environment inside, where the warmth and tactility of the materials amplify a sense of security and tranquility.

Each of the senses are thoughtfully catered to throughout the cabin. In the living room, for example, the use of softly woven textiles for the upholstery encourages idle moments while the wooden paneling on the walls promotes pleasant acoustics and emits the hint of a crisp, natural scent. Similarly, all the fixed furniture within the cabins are custom and therefore, meticulously designed and guided by the material concept. One special moment of this is how the small bunk in the wall, accessible by a ladder, offers a hidden place of refuge where the materials and their immediate closeness construct an even more intimate, safe atmosphere.

This material concept resonates even in the smallest details such as the locally sourced skin care products and handmade linens. All these products support not only the practical needs of the guests during their stay, but also the authentic lifestyle that the experience aims to bring to them as well.

Experiencing moments

One of the guiding architectural elements that shapes the overall experience at Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is the subtle use of distinct spatial transitions. When walking into the ArcticScene suites, those dark, oil-stained wooden walls that characterize the preceding reception space and narrow passageway ultimately give way to a flood of bright, natural light. In the horizon amid the light, the view is thoughtfully framed so that the focus is directed immediately out of the window into the landscape. This sharp distinction fosters a powerful, sensory-rich arrival moment that awakens and impacts each guest, ultimately forming a lasting memory that lingers long after departure.

Inside the cabins, the spaces remain airier and ethereal through the strategic use of several expansive, ceiling height windows. These windows harbor a powerful connection to the overwhelming nature outside during all seasons, making for dramatic, atmospheric moments that feel personal and intimate – no matter whether it is when waking up for the day with a cup of fresh coffee or winding down for the evening in the sauna. To keep this connection even in private areas, such in front of the bathtub, the window is smart glass that changes in translucency if desired. Nevertheless, the strong visual imagery of the earlier corridors is not completely forgotten either, as it also continues through subtle details like black lighting and plumbing fixtures.

Above all, the extension for Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, both in the ArcticScene suites and in the reception space, is intended to extend and build upon the compelling and spiritual experience of staying there. Each season offers its own perspective and context, making the resort enriching and meaningful all year long. Particularly with the ArcticScene suites, the architecture celebrates the ritualistic and relaxing aspects of a spa as an additional component with the natural wellness concept. The warm grasp of fire, the chilling breath of frost, and the natural scent of wilderness all together contribute to bringing our hectic, daily lives to a pause – a brief moment where all the elements that construct our livelihood are genuinely felt and embraced.

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