Located in southern Finland, Porvoo is known for its old town, idyllic wooden houses and small boutiques, restaurants and cafés scattered along narrow streets. Now Old Porvoo also has something new to be proud of: the relaxed yet elegant boutique hotel Runo. The interior of the hotel was designed by Studio Joanna Laajisto.
WHEN COMPLETED IN 1913, the building was the most impressive one in Porvoo. The first floor housed a bank, and the two floors above it hosted apartments for prominent people in the city. Over the years, the stone house known as Valtimontalo had served in a variety of purposes. It had housed offices, barbershops, cafés, municipal offices, a myriad of shops, a library and even the first movie theater in Porvoo.
Now this building, designed by construction manager Oskari Holvikivi, stands renovated in its former glory. At the beginning of summer 2021, boutique hotel Runo was opened in the building. The people behind the hotel project include hotel manager Erkka Hirvonen, who had gained a great deal of experience in Dubai’s luxury hotel scene, and a group of seven private investors.
The first floor of the hotel welcomes the guests with a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. The entire first floor consist of an open space with a reception desk, drink bar, restaurant and lounges. The color scheme is soft and light, which gives the whole space a calm feel. The relaxed jazz playing in the background and the large sofas invite you to sit down and forget the hustle and bustle of the world.
The first floor of the hotel welcomes the guests with a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
Before the first floor became the harmonious, open space it is now, it went through immense changes. “When I visited the building for the first time, the space was crammed and labyrinthine, and the floor had many different levels. Already during my first visit, I got the idea of an open-plan first floor with a long bar counter that would tie together the reception area, which was located on a higher level, and the restaurant, which as located on a lower level,” describes Joanna Laajisto.
For the other two floors, Laajisto designed 56 hotel rooms. The stylish spa section she designed in collaboration with architect Eveliina Saranpää. On the upper floors, only slight changes were required to the wall lines, since the space had been divided and the windows had been placed in a way that was suitable for a hotel.
When walking through the hotel lobby or corridors or visiting the hotel rooms on the upper floors, it feels like every surface, detail and piece of furniture exudes the same level of sophistication and quality. It is clear that this hotel has been designed extremely carefully, down to the last detail.
The interior has been created by combining original architecture with rustic contemporary style, which Laajisto says to be based on the American Shaker style. Modern, high-quality design furniture adds a refreshing touch to the whole. The decor includes classic Scandinavian furniture by Danish Carl Hansen & Søn and Fredericia as well as Finnish Nikari. Part of the products was supplied by Finnish Design Shop’s Contract Sales.
The interior of the hotel has been created by combining original architecture with rustic contemporary style.
Anything old was preserved to the extent that was possible in a hundred-year-old building. The façade and stairs were in the best condition. Inside the building, on the other hand, almost everything original had been destroyed over the years. The preserved fragments, such as original wooden doors and a few traditional tile fireplaces, were restored.
“The aim was to design an interior that could not be categorized right away in terms of period and style. I also believe that these kinds of solutions stand the test of time”, says Joanna Laajisto.
The custom-made fixtures and furniture designed by Laajisto add their own interesting element to the interior. Laajisto has also selected art by young artists for the decor. The hotel features pieces by artists such as Inka Bell, Linda Linko, Iisa Maaranen and Riku Riipppa.
Now that hotel Runo is ready, there is much-needed new accommodation available on the outskirts of Porvoo’s old town. The hotel will, no doubt, inspire people to embark on a cultural trip or a short staycation.
“This hotel has been an exceptional project in my career as a designer. From the start, the owners had a clear vision of what kind of a hotel they wanted to develop. They had realized the value of the old building, interior design and high quality. In Finland, hotel projects are rarely implemented with such devotion and detailed design,” comments Joanna Laajisto.
RUNO Hotel Porvoo, Rihkamakatu 4, Porvoo, Finland
Text: Anna-Kaisa Huusko Photos: Mikko Ryhänen