Today I go to visit the most VIP of all VIP places when it comes to Sweden, airports and travel. Today was the inauguration of the VIP lounge for royalties, celebreties and politicians at Arlanda airport. Here is a preview.
The VIP lounge at Arlanda is one of those more secret locations at the airport. This is not a lounge associated with any airline but rather with just being VIP. So this is not the new SAS Lounge or Finnair Lounge. Just a super proper VIP lounge of the airport. For instance, if you are a guest here you go directly to the plane, and not through taxfree.
The new house with the lounge is designed by Tengbom architects and was planned, constructed, decorated and inaugurated within two years. Extremely swift. The new building had to meet security restrictions and for instance not have windows for the ground. Instead the architects have played a lot with the light from the ceiling.
The lounge has nine rooms and a larger lounge. You could actually buy your self access to the VIP lounge. It cost a starting fee of approx 350 euro (and then 90 euro for the following people). The concept is slightly different from the ordinary lounge at the airport. There is no buffet. Instead you get your room and a host/hostess that helps you with what you need. Every visitor needs different things. Some just want to work and some want to relax. All food come from Pontus in the Air at the airport.
All rooms have a neutrual and relaxing hue and atmosphere with Scandinavian design. Here you can find design pieces by Gärsnäs, Fogia, etc.
The whole concept of the interior is to be an interpretation of Swedishness. There are earthy hues and references to birch bark.
Lets look at some pictures and I will come back with comments.
Earthy tones and mix of materials.
The royal suite. This is the actual room that the royal family of Sweden actually sit and rest before their next trip.
Same room but here we see how they work with the daylight in the ceiling. The walls a deliberately wooden to be a reminder of a Swedish wooden house.
Dining table with room for work or play. A lot of VIP guests bring their family to this. I was asking what the percentage was, but noone knew.
If I am not mistaken this is the table by TreSekel.
Again, nice daylight from the ceiling.
All bathrooms have a mobile for toddlers to look at.
From other rooms we see details of the colour palette.
In the hallways the walls are not wooden but rather made of conrete – but with added texture.
The larger lounge area. If you would want to get married here (as you can) this is the larger lounge. Or if let’s say the national soccer team would chill before a flight off to a game.
At security you can sit and take a break at this bench with a classical pillow by Svenskt Tenn.
So summary and some critical thoughts. I do love the architecture and how the whole building has a sense of safety. Thick walls and every one seems collected and nice. Professionalism. I did really love how they used the ceiling to get natural light in the house.
I do lack a sense of sustainability. This is 2018 (almost 2019) – where are the solar panels? Where are the waste disposal arrangements? New materials in construction?
When Swedish organisations and visitor oriented organisations use the word “Swedish” I automatically get on my toes. I think it is difficult to use that word. What is Swedish? Especially in multicultural times like today. Are all Swedes blond and blueeyed?
The interior design is made to make you relax, but I am missing a lot. A lot. I think it is too plain. Too 2016. I am missing eyecatching conversation pieces. It could have been so much easier and add some of the new quirky design made for the new Nationalmuseum. Or why not even red as we have in the landscapes (the red houses). I do understand that perhaps the target audience wants a room for relaxation – but where are the curtains for a textile feeling? We saw one pillow from Svenskt Tenn with lots of colour and pattern – could we not have had more of that?
Sorry – can I say something blunt? It feels a little to much like Scandic Hotels to be the number one travel lounge in the country.
I am also missing sockets for work, if work is important…
Lastly, I talked to another journalist about the services offered. Where is the bed for resting? Where is the prayer room? Where can a pop star like Madonna get her hair done? Or get a massage?
So finally. I love the house and how they have worked with safety and light but I lack a lot for the interior design.
I give this two stars out of five.