INNOVATION WINNER: Jury leader Guro Fjellanger presents the Innovation Award for Universal Design to Wendel Holdener, General Manager at Scandic Oslo Airport, together with Onny Eikhaug, responsible for the Innovation Award for Universal Design at the Norwegian Design Council. Photo: Johnny Syversen.
DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE: “Our hotel may still be standing here for centuries to come, so our investment in inclusive design costs relatively little compared with all we can expect to receive in return,” said Wendel Holdener, General Manager at Scandic Oslo Airport. Photo: Johnny Syversen.
HELP FOR ALL: Having the reception counter at the correct height enables everyone to utilise this area independently, including guests who must remain seated. Photo: Johnny Syversen.
Oslo: Scandic Oslo Airport is the winner of Norway’s first national award for universal design. In the opinion of the jury, this is a hotel in a class of its own, where every guest receives equal treatment.
“I’m impressed by the excellent quality of all the entries. It is apparent to us that the principles of inclusive design are being implemented in many sectors in Norway, with words actually being put into action. As minister responsible for this area, I am immensely proud of the progress that has been made,” said Audun Lysbakken, Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.
On Thursday, in front of a packed hall at the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture in Oslo, Scandic Oslo Airport and architects Arkitekterna Krook & Tjäder and Narud Stokke Wiig Sivilarkitekter, together with Tupelo Arkitektur, Utstillingsplassen Eiendom and the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association (NAAF), received the Innovation Award for Universal Design.
“Winning this award means a tremendous amount to us. Right from the start, we focused on making the hotel accessible to everyone, and the award is confirmation that we have succeeded,” said a visibly moved Wendel Holdener, General Manager at Scandic Oslo Airport.
Onny Eikhaug, responsible for the Innovation Award for Universal Design at the Norwegian Design Council, commended the prize winner: “At Scandic Oslo Airport, you are received in the same manner regardless of whether you are able-bodied, have allergies or have one or more disabilities. This is a hotel in a class of its own in Norway.”
She also added, “Whilst the ideas in the hotel are absolutely essential for some people, they also enrich the experience for all the other guests. This is the core of inclusive design – what is essential for some can be good for everyone.”
When Scandic decided they would build a new hotel at Gardermoen, they wanted to create a building where every single guest would feel welcome. Thus began their early collaboration with the Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People and the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association. The hotel, which opened its doors in 2010, has become a flagship for inclusive design in the tourism industry.
The building has been designed to cater for the needs of allergy sufferers, those with ashtma and people with impaired vision, hearing or mobility. There is easy access throughout the hotel, excellent lighting, carpet-free rooms, adaptable counters, adjustable beds, induction loops and alarms that alert you with light, sound and vibration, to name just a few of the integrated solutions. So far, Scandic Oslo Airport is the only hotel in Norway that is officially approved by the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association.
“This has been a conscious investment in the future. Our hotel may still be standing here for centuries to come, so our investment in inclusive design costs relatively little compared with all we can expect to receive in return,” said the General Manager.
Interior architect Johanna Vestlin of Krook & Tjãder said that realising the hotel was a comprehensive and challenging process. It required the many participants to maintain a close and continuous dialogue, as well as project management with an eye for detail.
“Due to the enormous amount of detail involved, it was extremely important to instruct, explain, listen and ask questions and have information repeated again and again - to quite simply communicate. That was something we really worked at, and perhaps one of the main reasons why we succeeded so well,” she said.
The Innovation Award for Universal Design is part of the Norwegian government’s vision of an inclusive Norway by 2025. Commissioned by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, the process concerning the award was planned and managed by the Norwegian Design Council. Former Minister of the Environment and Liberal politician, Guro Fjellanger, led the jury which also included seven of Norway’s leading designers and architects, all experts on universal design.
This article was written by Pressenytt for the Norwegian Design Council on behalf of BLD. Pressenytt has editorial responsibility for the content of the article.PUBLISHED 24.11.2011 11:18