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Design Hotel Levi’s architecture was designed by PAVE Architects. Founded in 1999 in Oulu, Finland, PAVE Architects is a Finnish architectural firm who have become known for their high-profile domestic hotel projects and for their impressive apartment building designs, which have received also international attention in journals side by side with the world’s best firms. However, this is only one side of the story according to PAVE Architects’ CEO and Creative Director, Architect Pave Mikkonen.

We are sometimes profiled as a firm specialized in hotels because we have had the pleasure of being involved in some of Finland’s top hotel projects, but in actual fact we are quite omnivorous when it comes to assignments. Our projects are actually quite diverse, ranging from individual houses to large apartment buildings, airport interiors, city blocks, town planning reference plans, and so forth, comments Mikkonen.

– If someone asks what we specialize in, we specialize in great architecture, laughs Mikkonen.

– We want to be more of a comprehensive consultant to our clients than a traditional architectural firm. We want to provide our client with an end product that makes sense and is efficient also in terms of the building’s day-to-day operation and the clients’ business objectives. We are a partner to the customer from the early design stages of the project to its completion. Comprehensive support to the client’s project is really the key. Our services include also interior design in many projects, Mikkonen says. 

According to Mikkonen, interior design had also an unusually central role in the conception of the Design Hotel project. 

– I met the CEO of Levi Hotel Spa Resort, Sanna Leinonen, in Helsinki and she requested a quotation for the interior design of the 17 rooms of Levi Hotel Spa’s oldest wing. I called her after a couple of days and said that I don’t really want to offer interior design for her needs. Instead, I would like to offer a master plan for the development of the entire resort area. I suggested that we would look at the property as a whole, see how the buildings are located in the plot, then demolish the old wing and build an entirely new building there to replace it! Now we have 77 new rooms nearing completion and a groundbreaking new hotel concept. I would say that is pretty remarkable, says Mikkonen.

The nature of Lapland and the surrounding village landscape major inspirations for the architect

The Design Hotel’s modern interpretation of hipped roof welcomes the traveller arriving in Levi. The materials reference the highland nature and at the same time connect the building as part of the general look and feel of the fell village. The Project Architect Paulus Sipilä from PAVE Architects says that the nature of Lapland and the surrounding village landscape were major inspirations for the building’s architectural choices.

– The greying pinewood exterior connects the architecture of the new hotel with its surroundings, the older log buildings of the Levi Hotel Spa Resort, as well as with the colours of highland nature. Early on, the exterior will be light brown, but over time, it will receive a more greyish hue. In time, the sunlight will provide the southern and northern façades with slightly different colours. The hotel exterior with its shapes and natural materials continues consistently into the hotel interior, to the lobby and the corridors which meander through the building like fellside streams, all the way to the individual hotel rooms, Sipilä says.

– To me, as the project architect, the hotel resides somewhere in the borderland between the nature of Lapland and the fell village of Levi, bearing a resemblance to both. There is built environment there, but at the same time, the roof of the building is shaped like the peak of a fell. There is almost boulder-like ruggedness in the exterior. Something rough that really touches on the essence of Lapland, on what the nature of Lapland is all about, says Mikkonen.

– The eloquent balconies, protruding from the exterior, will be illuminated using a subtle, constantly changing, coloured light which lives and pulsates like a jellyfish. This really adds the finishing touches to the whole, evoking a WOW from the guest arriving in the night or in the evening twilight, in the blue hour, under the midnight sun. We can ourselves barely wait for the hotel to open, says Mikkonen.

– We rarely really aim for WOW architecture, but this particular project certainly has the potential to be that, says Sipilä.

– We wanted the hotel building to convey to the guest an experience of Finnish nature in all its purity and power. Instead of four seasons, Lapland really has eight, and the hotel will live in tune with each of them. It is not only a winter hotel; it is also a summer hotel. We want the guest’s experience to reflect this and change according to the season. We want the hotel to give to the guest a piece of Lapland, a genuine experience. Every decision in the hotel’s architecture supports this, says Mikkonen.