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Hotel design in a class of its own

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.

Essential for some, good for everyone

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.”

Flagship for the tourism industry

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.

Formula for success

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 vision of an inclusive Norway

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


Here are the category winners:

Architecture: Margarinfabrikken kindergarten Oslo, Nav AS Architects

Landscape architecture: Schandorffs plass, Østengen & Bergo AS

Transport: High speed passenger ferries, Tide Sjø

Product: Tuva cutlery, Per Finne Industridesign

Furniture and Interiors: Scandic Gardermoen Oslo Airport, Arkitekterna Krook & Tjäder AB (interior architects), Narud Stokke Wiig civil architects in co-operation with TUPELO arkitektur (architects)

Service and interaction design: yr.no, NRK and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Graphic design: Blanke Ark voting equipment, Innovativoli, Blueroom Designstudio, Kadabra Produktdesign


This is the Innovation Award for Universal Design:

The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion coordinates the government’s investment and presents the award on behalf of Handlingsplanen for universell utforming. The Norwegian Design Council has the role of coordinating the process.

The innovation Award for Universal Design aims to honour companies/institutions and architects/designers who have developed innovative solutions for the benefit of everyone.

The Award is given within the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, transport, product, furniture and interiors, graphic design and interaction and service design..



Norwegian Design Council
Program Director Onny Eikhaug
mobile tel. +47 992 92 500

Norwegian Design Council
Head of Information Grete Kobro
mobile tel. +47 907 65 971

Senior Advisor Olav Rand Bringa
tel. +47 22 24 81 85

Communications Advisor Helge Skinnes
mobile tel. +47 901 93 148