Nordic Delight

August, 2017


Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto,
and Ola Rune, Founders and
Architects, Claesson Koivisto Rune.

Constructed in the 1760s, donated by local philanthropist Alexander Kaae, the structure was built with the intention of providing a restful retreat to the elderly in need. Fast forward 50 years, the legacy takes on the form of an 18-room hotel, Villa Terminus. It is the smallest property of the hyperlocal hotel group De Bergenske, a family-run group of five remarkable historic properties in the heart of the city. Freshly refurbished and sensitively restored by renowned Swedish architecture and design firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. Villa Terminus offers guests a finely balanced fusion of Bergen’s history, Norwegian culture and iconic mid-century design coupled with modern-day comfort.

Vintage lamp pairs are in
every room.
The chairs are designed by Ejner
Larsen and Axel Bender Madsen


“We didn’t really know which direction we needed to take, as it’s very difficult to do modern interiors in protected spaces since many options simply can’t be done. While pondering, we chanced upon an exhibition the Danish painter Wilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) in New York, who made these wonderful paintings of the interiors of his home. We chose that as our inspiration to begin with and then the rest fell into place very naturally - the ambience, the colour scheme (inspired by the paintings) and the furniture, etc.”, says Eero Koivisto, describing the initial stages of the project.

The combination of different lights do
not disturb the overall aesthetic.
The library has a collection of regional authors
amongst books of the city and property.


Although products were sourced from well-known designers, their lesser known pieces were deliberately selected. Some of the designer pieces include a chair by Jasper Morrison, a floor desk lamp by Ilse Crawford, convex mirror by Josef Frank, woven wool blanket and pillow by Andreas Engesvik, sofa by Michael Sodeau, pendant lamps by Jørn Utzon, dining chairs by Børge Mogensen, TV by Erwan & Ronan Bouroullec, desk lamp by David Chipperfield, woven carpets by Ogeborg along with an extensive usage of in-house décor collections. Pairs of vintage bedside lamps adorn each room, with different couplets in the various rooms. The result is a subtly familiar feel with both vintage and modern Scandinavian pieces blending into the mix.
“The reason for choosing a number of interior pieces from the mid-19th century was because it was the last period when handcrafted furniture was strong in Scandinavia. And, if anything, the entire building is handcrafted”, adds Ola Rune, another architect of the project.

The grey and white
tones are typical of
Scandinavian design.
The interiors of a guest
room in the villa.


With a restrained late-baroque exterior and an interior design language that stretches from the 1760s to present day, Villa Terminus seems to exist in several time periods all at once. “Maybe the biggest singular design idea is that we didn’t do a period-correct project. Since it’s also a preservation project, it’s not really about innovation in a technical way, ,adds Koivisto. Being the oldest protected building in the city of Bergen, extreme care had to be taken with the renovation. Except the bathroom and some additional walls, the original building remains intact with altercations made in the most respectable way.
A rare site, a boutique hotel in a protected building is a truly unique concept. The clear schemes of individually sourced furniture create an unfussy space. Maintaining a classic simplicity and yet making a statement, the studio’s functional design is a head turner.
Founded in Stockholm by Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto and Ola Rune in 1995, Claesson Koivisto Rune is a Swedish architectural partnership. Although it started out as an architectural firm, it has since become an internationally-acclaimed office with an equal emphasis on both architecture and design for projects and products alike.

A work unit is present in
each room.
A view from the dining
area to the kitchen.