The neighbourhood hotel redefined
Occupying the former headquarters for Oslo Lysverker - the city's electrical company - Sommerro marks the rebirth of a 1930s landmark in one of Oslo's loveliest neighbourhoods. The latest venture from Nordic Hotels & Resorts, Oslo’s first neighbourhood hotel is a gamechanger. Redefining the hospitality industry, with a strong focus on culture-hungry locals, Sommerro will stand as a community in its own right, an open house and the neighbourhood’s with a hub of restaurants and bars, a library, a small private cinema, and the city’s first rooftop pool, sauna and terrace – a year-round destination with sweeping views over Frogner and the Norwegian capital.
A history rich in architectural details
Perched on Solli Plass in Oslo’s elegant Frogner neighbourhood, Sommerro’s original design is the work of prolific Norwegian architects Andreas Bjercke and Georg Eliassen, creators of some of Oslo’s most recognisable buildings such as the neo-baroque headquarters for the former cruise ship company Norwegian America Line.
Owing to a sporadic construction period spanning about 13 years from 1917, the monumental building is a fusion of neoclassical aesthetics, unfussy functionalist features, and a layer of glamorous art deco details. As such, the sobriety of the hand-hammered bare brick façade has been boosted by subtle embellishments like the bas-reliefs, by sculptor Asbjørg Borgfelt, carved into the stone pillars at the entrance, art deco elements – from the lighting to the decorative terrazzo and wrought iron staircase – and rich details by the celebrated Norwegian artist, Per Krohg. These include the expressive mural in the main hall, a ceiling fresco in the former canteen, and the iconic mosaic feature wall in the basement public bath and swimming hall.
A community hub
Fulfilling Bjercke & Eliassen’s dream to transform the area into an urban hub, Sommerro’s extensive sweep of public spaces encompasses 13 private hire rooms, including five light-filled boardrooms and the iconic Per Krohg event space, which takes its name from the Norwegian artist, whose remarkable fresco adorns the ceiling. From a classic brasserie to a restaurant helmed by chef Frida Ronge,there are also no less than five restaurants and three bars including Oslo’s first rooftop pool, sauna and terrace, while plans for a library and a small cinema are in the pipeline. The highlight is, no doubt, Vestkantbadet. Originally created to give back to the local community, this art deco gem with its Per Krohg mosaic mural, is one of the few public baths left in the country and has now been restored as part of the beauty and wellness centre to include a sprawling 400sqm gym and 16 treatment rooms and hammams.
Welcome to Frogner. Scattered with magnificent 19th-century buildings and stretching from the Royal Palace up to the glorious Frogner Park, our neighbourhood, in the city's west end, is one of the oldest in Oslo. Packed to the brim with museums, art galleries, antique stores, niche boutiques and restaurants, we are also within short walking distance from many of the city's highlights. This includes Aker Brygge wharf - the lively restaurant-lined pedestrian waterfront with great views of the marina and Oslo Fjord - and the city centre, where you'll find bustling food halls and top attractions like the Oslo Opera House and the Munch Museum. Whether you're here for business or leisure, we'll help you go beyond the guidebook to explore the real Oslo.
Why are there nazi symbols at the gates?
Built in 1931, Sommerro was originally the head offices for Oslo Lysverker, the city's electrical company. In the early 1900s, the swastika, a symbol long revered by the Buddhists and Hindus, was a common representation of electrical power. It was used to decorate innumerable power stations and electrical companies of the era, and a total of 30 swastikas was thus also included in the design for the Oslo Lysverker iron gates.
A year after the building was opened, Germany officially incorporated the swastika in the design of its flag. Many electrical companies stopped using the symbol, but the gates at Oslo Lysverker stayed unchanged. After the Second World War, the fate of the gates were debated, and the question of whether or not to remove the gates has been up several times since, but without results. Today the gates have acquired a historical and cultural value that ultimately countermanded wartime Germany’s appropriation of the symbol.