Polish design in creative district of Reykjavik. Interview with Svanfríður Jónsdóttir,
Co-Owner of Hotel Grandi
Grandi by Center Hotels is a family run business located in the lively and
creative district of Reykjavik. The hotel, which formerly housed the Héðinn
machine shop, is a significant spot on the city map, where the history meets a
new approach of creating an inviting and cozy space filled with exquisite Mid-Century furniture.
We came to the capital of Iceland to visit the hotel and talk with one of the owner - Svanfríður Jónsdóttir who revealed more about the story about creating an inspiring space at Grandi, where over 800 of iconic furniture pieces by 366 Concept are the inherent part of this stunning project.
What is a story behind choosing to create a hotel in this area and the building?
Previously here was a shipping industry building. They were making parts for the boats out of steel. The name Héðinn was a well known name in the city. They were here for the long time. They are still a living company, 100 years old. For 20 years this building had other social usage - for the theatre, film industry, f.ex. Baltasar Kormákur, a famous filmmaker in Iceland, who had his studios in this building. This place had many phases and everyone knows it is in Héðinn’s house, if you say Hotel Grandi, everyone knows it’s a former Héðinn’s house.
Was it always about to keep it industrial or did you want to design it in a different style?
It took us 3 years to get allowances and to start to build. They told us to honor the history of the
house, on its layout, on its outside, not to change it. Before we get those allowances we had time
to discover the inside, to save parts we wanted to save, reuse certain things and get inspired.
It was from the very beginning about honouring the history of the house. When you look around you can find the old objects that actually used to be here. Our architect collected those things to use as a decorations. The old original staircase is still here, with paint stains on it from XX century. We want to tell the story that people can see and experience.
The furniture of 366 Concept and the idea of honouring the history of the building correspond on the similar level when it comes to giving a new life to the objects. How did the process look like regarding choosing the furniture for Grandi interiors?
When we came to explore the building we found many pictures from that time. It was 50’s, 60’s,
and the furniture on the pictures was also from that time. The architects that was working with us,
Gláma Kím and main architect Richard Blurton, found 366 Concept and said that this design
looks like the Mid-Century furniture we would like to have.
Together with I-AM London designers we visited Poland to meet the Founders - Agata and Maciek and the Team, and to see the furniture manufactured by 366 Concept. I-AM London designed the Héðin restaurant and the Hygge coffee shop which are inside the Hotel Grandi. Everyone was very pleased with furniture aesthetics so without doubts we started collaboration with 366 Concept.
As you mentioned before, Grandi it is not only the Hotel, there is also a restaurant and cafe with a quite big selection of 200-190 Chairs, Bar Stools, 366 Armchairs and Fox Rocking Chair. What was the idea behind integrating those spaces with Hotel Grandi?
We have a saying in Center Hotels ,,Live like a local’’. They also come here. Our hotel it’s an open space not only for tourists but also for local community. In out other hotels we also have this concept of being open to locals where people can meet, work, relax and feel like home. That it’s also why we chose furniture designed by 366 Concept, which is timeless.