ART FOR FOLK'S SAKE
KLAUS K'S EPIC UNDERTAKING
“We wanted to have a little fun with it, to create some kind of reason to talk about something with our staff and our guests, you know, what is an envy room?”
Embracing the mantra, “style and story,” Marc and Mia Skvorc, together with the renowned Finnish architects at SARC Group and the interior design firm Stylt Trampoli, weaved Finnish folklore into nearly every fold of Klaus K’s aesthetic fabric. One of the epic’s central characters played a musical instrument made from the jaw of a pikeperch, and so at Ilmatar, Klaus K’s popular Finnish restaurant, guests enjoy uncomplicated, modern takes on regional specialties under a large pikeperch mosaic.
The front desk owes its own genesis to a creation myth from Kalevala, Finland's national epic. According to its verse, the world was formed by the splitting of a great egg, and Klaus K’s egg-shaped front desk is a bold, ovular white-and-gold wooden structure haloed by a ring of twisted white metal meant to resemble an inverted nest.
The four themes of the Kalevala epic—passion, mysticism, desire and envy—make up Klaus K’s four room categories, from the burnt orange hues and reindeer motif of the “mysticism” rooms to the decadent chocolate and Bordeaux tones of the high-end “envy” rooms.
“We wanted to have a little fun with it,” explained Marc, “To create some kind of reason to talk about something with our staff and our guests, you know, what is an envy room?”
This playfulness and penchant for storytelling also led to the development of a fifth Klaus K room category: the art suite. Three years ago, the Skvorcs invited two Finnish painters whom Marc had befriended at an exhibition hosted by Klaus K, to each come spend a week in one of the hotel’s envy rooms. Once there, they were to use the walls of the room as a canvas, taking the idea of envy as their inspiration. In the Riko Sakkinen suite stands a large mural of an oversized cartoon robot with the body of a Cup-o-Noodles container shooting Finnish meatballs from its side. Above the robot, bold block letters declare, “The Reasons Why I Envy Finland” (the robot, purportedly, envies the food).
The walls of the Jani Leinonen suite are covered with a swirling motif of tattoo-style hearts circumscribing the names of famous couples (Romeo and Juliet, Diana and Charles), which fade from white to black as the stories of the couples become more scandalous and elicit (John and Marilyn, Charles and Camilla). Guests of the hotel can even pay to have their own name and that of their beloved added to the wall, and already several new couples adorn the suite.