A Hotel Called Grow

 

Grow is a hotel concept combining the relationship between architecture, design, food and experience. The difference? The restaurant. It is being designed at the exact same time as the hotel, making its design and food completely in sync

 

In Solna, only ten minutes from the centre of Stockholm, a hotel is literally growing which will house 170 rooms and a 160-cover restaurant and is scheduled to open 1 September 2018. With its nine floors plus a basement, the hotel is aiming to actively contribute to create a more open neighbourhood. The ground floor will house the lobby, reception, bar and restaurant and the basement will include the gym and sauna for guests and locker rooms for the staff. The outdoor terrace has been designed to capture the sunny west side with a façade for shelter. The intriguing part of the hotel, beyond its clever V-shaped design is the restaurant theory, which is being created from the beginning to ensure it’s very much a part of the hotel’s fabric and ambience.

David Berggren, the man behind the AVEQIA restaurant concept in Stockholm and London is the restaurateur who has joined the project at the very beginning and has been involved with everything from the smallest room detail to the style of cooking in the restaurant. “I was asked by Reshi Chibba and Karl Lilja to become a partner a year ago, and together we are creating a new Nordic hotel chain,” he explains. David has a proven track record of delivering restaurant concepts and was delighted to be able to share his thoughts and ideas for the hotel as well as the restaurant. “Being involved from the start, I was able to recommend Note design studio who are working on the architecture and the interior. They recently won ‘Designer of the Year Exhibition’ and I’m developing a few things with them. They are doing great work and have established a close relationship with the architect firm 3XN who are the team behind the great illustrations we have of the property.”

David’s AVEQIA was built on a philosophy of getting people together to cook because gastronomy can bring people closer in a way that few other activities can. The relationship-building meetings are ideal for friends and colleagues because interactive cooking can suit all people. Groups get together, cook a high-class meal and simultaneously build and develop their relationship. It is easy to see why Grow Hotel wanted to work with David from the very beginning and the restaurant concept for Grow Hotel is just as inspiring.

“We wanted to offer something completely new,” David explains, “a twist on Nordic cooking, but still using the ingredients we all love. The restaurant is designed all around a coal oven placed in the middle and the menu cooked by a technique called brazier.” The ancient cooking method is similar to those used in COYA in Mayfair, where chefs entertain as Peruvian food is prepared for the open grill, and ROKA – also in London – where the cuisine is cooked on a robata grill. “This Japanese technique originated from the fishermen of the northern coastal waters off Japan, where they would cook their fish on the boats and share the bounty with one another using their oars. They have placed their grill amid the diners and it is more than a feature, it is the beating heart of the restaurant.

“Our restaurant will take these influences of Asia and Peru and combine them with more traditional Nordic cuisine. It is the first time this has ever been done in Sweden so we’re very excited to introduce it. By taking little bits of successful styles we know people are going to love it. In Sweden we love to barbeque, from April to November we are all cooking this way at home. We are taking that concept to the next level and using our ingredients with a bit of influence – herbs, ginger, garlic, chilli. It’s a combination of the very best elements.”

David believes being involved from the start of the hotel’s life has aided the restaurant concept creation greatly. “Being involved in the room design, the textures, the colours and more has all helped us work on the restaurant. To really make a hotel feel part of a property, this process has been essential. Some hotels leave the restaurant to the last minute, but here we can work on the flow and ambience.” David also wants the restaurant to have its own identity to encourage non-residents, so it will have its own name. “Where we are located, only ten years ago was like a small city. All the areas around Stockholm were the same at that time, they are now all being combined. It’s a bit like how the Docklands and Canary Wharf were in London, only we are only ten minutes from the centre, so a bit more like a Convent Garden location to the centre. There are no restaurants in the area in the league we’re going to be in.”

The growth of the hotel restaurant as a viable revenue stream is happening in the UK and across Europe. They can become destinations in themselves and David believes the whole hotel concept will support this, “It’s going to be a modern, sustainable hotel with design and digital incorporated.”

Restaurant design and architectural experience is essential for new concepts going forward. A strong strategy and a well-organised restaurant does impact upon a diner and putting Grow Hotel just outside Stockholm, it’s going to attract droves of locals.

David and his partners are creating a hotel that will work in both the glorious sunshine of summer and the long dark winter Sweden endures each year.

Stockholm is a diverse capital with all the makings of a grand European city but with a cool vibe. A modern hotel with a cutting- edge Nordic food scene with Peruvian and Asian influence will only add to the coolness.