On that trip to Oslo in the summer of 2013 I stayed at The Thief - partly because it is promoted as a design hotel, so it seemed like a good subject for a post on this blog, and partly because the hotel is very much part of the new development and I wanted to stay there, rather than in the historic centre of the city, so that I could see what the area was like in the early morning and in the evening and so on.
In the end I didn’t really enjoy the stay and decided not to write about it on this blog. Don’t get me wrong I had a fantastic time in Oslo and The Thief is an extremely comfortable hotel but I am not in the demographic that it targets for visitors - to be honest I’m just a bit staid and my inner puritan is a bit close to the surface.
However, the hotel did have a crucial role in the early stages of the development to draw people to this new part of the city: along with a new major art gallery, the Astrup Fearnley Museum designed by Renzo Piano, it was one of the key new buildings that are crucial to the ongoing attraction and success of a new development. The importance of this area of Oslo will be consolidated by the redevelopment of the former West Station at the city end of the area as it was confirmed earlier this year that it is to be the site of new buildings for the National Museum.
The Thief also illustrates well that new hotels, at the top end of the market, are important in the professional world of interior design and architecture: hotels provide major and high-profile commissions for architects and professional designers; the hotels need very large quantities of new furniture and fittings when they are set up, so are important for manufacturers, and they can establish new trends and make the reputations of new designers as hotel guests are inspired to emulate ideas in their own homes. Particularly the design of bathroom and shower fittings in a new hotel can drive forward the style and arrangement of domestic bathroom fittings but guests also take home with them ideas for bedding, trendy colour schemes and so on and it can be a chance, particularly in design hotels, for potential buyers to try out well-known classic or new and innovative designs of furniture that they may go on to buy for themselves.