On March 18, 2019, Clarion Hotel The Hub re-opened its doors, expanding its identity into the 21st century, adding to its already substantial 20th century history.
Formerly known as the Hotel Viking, later as Hotel Royal Christiania, the building was created for the 1952 Winter Olympics, and served as one of the main residences for the athletes during the games. At the time of its formal, first opening on December 10, 1951, Hotel Viking was the largest hotel in Scandinavia. Today, the hotel is the largest in Norway. Yet, even though it has a rooted history in Oslo, it has taken three years to be renovated and re-purposed, expanding its Oslo legacy through a new artistic, sustainable vision.
Emilie Stordalen is the young marketing manager of Clarion Hotel The Hub, and seems to symbolize, like the Hub itself, the unique combination of innovation and heritage. Emilie is the firstborn and only daughter of the famous Norwegian hotelier, Petter Stordalen, founder of Nordic Choice Hotels. She is well-educated, having attended and graduated from the Cornell University in upstate New York. For her advanced degree, she studied at the Imperial College of London. She has also worked in hotels before, but for a young woman, under 30, marketing The Hub is a large and complex project.
I spoke with her at Clarion Hotel The Hub, usually called The Hub, during the week of the launch in March 2019, and asked about how her legacy, in terms of her name and her business, blended with her work at The Hub. She pondered this, then provided an astonishing reply:
“What has always been important in our family is that you first and foremost don’t inherit monetary values, but rather, a set of principles and humanitarian values. These range from helping people with gaps in their CVs to find jobs, working closely with the LGBT community, providing legal assistance to refugees that need assistance in their application process, being a forerunner in sustainable collaborations. Personally, the responsibility of carrying on these great initiatives is a much more important legacy than “just” a family name.”
In a similar, evolving way, the legacy of The Hub has expanded from a seasoned, mature hotel into what it is now. According to Emilie, “The Hub has great DNA, due to the fact is has history, but now we see this identity as evolving into a high end, luxury conference hotel with new, contemporary, one-of-a kind touches.”
It was easy to notice the newness: first, the exceptional interior design and artwork in the lobby and around the elevators of The Hub. Like its sister hotels, Amerkalinjen, a few blocks down the street, and The Thief, farther down the street but still in Oslo, the works of contemporary art inside Clarion The Hub were breathtaking.
The installation of this art was due in part to the hotel ‘s collaboration with art curator Sune Nordgren. He sourced artwork from numerous renowned artists including Hamish Fulton, Eric & Heater, ChanSchatz, and Anne Karin Furunes. The artwork is displayed on the hotel’s walls, ceilings and elevators. The hotel also has an agreement with the Munch Museum to collaborate on future art exhibitions and events. In addition, the hotel lobby houses a library as part of its relationship with Deichmanske Folkebibliotek (the Oslo Public Library.) The Hub library features books by local authors, with stories that celebrate Oslo’s art, culture, design, and history. It is a sanctuary within this large, busy hotel, for guests to read and think.
Clarion Hotel The Hub
“Other innovative touches, especially for a hotel this size, is our dedication of eco-sensitivity and sustainability,” said Ms. Stordalen. “It is shown in so many ways – one of our favorites is GrowHub: the largest rooftop meadow in Scandinavia, encompassing 200 square meters, where the vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers from the meadow are incorporated into the Clarion Hotel The Hub’s exceptional food and beverage offerings. Norda was Inspired by Chef Marcus Samuelsson, the world-famous executive chef.
“But also,” added Ms. Stordalen, “We are first in Scandinavia to have smart elevators — eco-friendly inventions that can operate with much less energy, use less building square footage and incorporate eco-sensitive finish materials.”
She also spoke of Pop-Up shops she and her colleagues, GM Andre Schreiner and others, had a hand in implementing. Such shops allow The Hub to further communicate brand promise through immersive though somewhat impermanent, shopping experiences.
“Through the Pop-Ups, the great dining, artwork, library, and our conference facilities where we have innovative solutions for audio, light and image technology. and our location – we are right across the street from Oslo Central Station, we are creating a great luxury hotel. I know that it looks large from the outside, but inside, it is comfortable and intimate. And, luckily, I work with amazing colleagues and count myself very lucky to learn from these educated, brilliant people at a grand hotel like this.”
Clarion The Hub
The Hub Library
Clarion The Hub
Norda Restauarnt Offerings from GrowHub, their organic garden.
Clarion The Hub
The Hub Event Venue
Clarion Hotel The Hub Exterior
Exterior of Clarion Hotel The Hub.
Clarion The Hub
Grow Hub: The Oranic Gardens of Clarion The Hub