At Six and HoboJoann Plockova • August 16, 2017
In the late 19th century, Stockholm’s Brunkebergstorg Square was a hotspot for the city’s socialites filled with shopping, dining, and hotels. In recent years it has fallen out of style, but now, as part of a larger urban regeneration project, the downtown square is returning to its former glory as a vibrant social hub. At the center of this rebirth are two new lifestyle hotels: At Six and Hobo.
Housed inside one of the Brutalist highrises—originally designed by Swedish architects Boijsen & Efervgren—that popped up during the ’70s and ’80s surrounding the square, the sister properties are part of the region’s largest brand, Nordic Choice Hotels, the brainchild of Norwegian entrepreneur Petter Stordalen. Don’t expect similar interiors. At Six acts as the older, more sophisticated sibling, taking cues from the existing architecture and metal-clad façade. Hobo, on the other hand, has a more playful vibe, opening itself up to its surroundings with a design that relies on whimsical touches.
The 343-room At Six, designed by London-based Universal Design Studio, blends a refined Scandinavian aesthetic with a dramatic color palette across its 10 floors of guestrooms and two floors of public space. The London-based studio’s codirector Hannah Carter Owers calls it “a study in midtones inspired by the existing building alongside the surrounding buildings of Brunkebergstorg.”
Strong, natural materials, atmospheric lighting, and a mix of classic and contemporary furniture, including bespoke pieces, are the background to an exceptional collection of original contemporary art (more than 1,600 artists were commissioned for what has become one of Europe’s most coveted art collections) to bring a human touch to the architecture. “It’s the details that humanize the space, and of course, the art,” adds Carter Owers. Take the white granite-clad staircase, featuring a handrail wrapped in leather from a local saddle maker that also functions as a plinth for “Mar Whispering,” a stunning marble head sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa that greets guests upon entry. Meanwhile, at the wine bar, a communal table is handcarved from a single piece of elm by local maker Lies-Marie Hoffman.
“For the interior shell of the public space, we balance a monotone palette of stones, blackened steel, marble, and timbers as a way of referencing and modernizing the building’s existing character,” she points out. The monochromatic tones extend to the guestrooms, where timber wall paneling and marble credenzas give the austere space a cool dynamic, including in the penthouse suite, which was designed as a collector’s apartment with bespoke lighting, custom velvet sofas, and once again, dark marble that runs the length of one wall.
Next door, the 201-room Hobo is a pure and modern experience perfect for travelers who insist on some fun. Designed by Berlin-based Studio Aisslinger, the seven-floor boutique hotel features bold splashes of color (found in furniture, carpets, and red partitions in the restaurant), a flip-dot wall installation from tech brand Teenage Engineering in the lobby, art in the elevators by local duo VAR, and a hydroponic system for in-house urban farming that grows herbs used in the restaurant, bar, and café. There’s also a pop-up space for local artists and a retail component that will feature hotel-branded items and products curated from local designers. Overall, there’s a laidback, whimsical feel, thanks in part to the curated vintage furniture, explains designer Werner Aisslinger, including a colorful wall of books near reception.
In several guestrooms, freestanding beds are oriented toward the window to soak up the view, while pinboard walls and headboards double as closets and desks, respectively. “The unusual placing of the bed, it’s open steel-frame structure, and the view contribute to a sense of freedom in these rooms,” adds Aisslinger.
At the top level, the two hotels come together through the shared restaurant, Tak by Göteborg, Sweden design practice Wingårdhs, which sits above Hobo and includes a rooftop terrace—a rarity in Stockholm that offers views of the sprawling skyline.