CULT OF PERSONALITY
INDIVIDUALITY AND UNDERSTATEMENT AT NOBIS
“I have little understanding for people who want to have a D&G logo printed on their forehead. We try to infuse personality into our hotels. We don’t look outside for inspiration. We go our own way.”
“It’s always been a fascinating place in Stockholm,” says Alessandro Catenacci of the two magnificent stone buildings that house his 201-room Nobis Hotel. Built in the 19th century, the structures sit on the very square—Norrmalmstorg—whose plot is the most valuable real estate in the Swedish version of the Monopoly board game. The buildings, ironically, were originally planned as a hotel but never fulfilled that purpose. Until now, that is.
The interiors have the crisp yet welcoming look typical of the renowned Swedish/Finnish architectural firm Claesson Koivisto Rune, a longtime collaborator with the Nobis Group. “We’ve got a common language,” says Catenacci. “It’s developed over the several projects we’ve done together.” The firm’s vision—purist and somewhat minimalist, but often incorporating warm elements—is obvious in the Nobis Group’s Hotel J and Hotel Skeppsholmen. In Nobis Hotel, however, it reaches new heights, so to speak: a cathedral-like lounge with 25-meter ceilings is situated in a vast 800-square-meter public space. Just off the lounge is the Golden Bar, which exemplifies its name with walls and the ceiling covered with golden mirrors. There are several restaurants, including the new version of the Caina, serving simple and delectable Italian food by—who else—Catenacci’s younger brother, chef Stefano.
Although all of the rooms at the Nobis are impressive, even those on the smaller side feel expansive thanks to high ceilings and large bathrooms. The hotel’s materials, such as zinc, rusted metal, stone, and native woods, are meant to gain a patina that improves them with age. Underlying it all is a sense of individuality and understatement—the angel in the rooms, the white porcelain room numbers on doors in otherwise dark, unadorned corridors—that feels wholly original and unprompted by what one might find at another hotel. Catenacci likens it to the clothing he wears: tailored, meaning high quality but without a brand name on one’s back. “I have little understanding for people who want to have a D&G logo printed on their forehead,” he says, adding, “We try to infuse personality into our hotels. We don’t look outside for inspiration. We go our own way.” What really matters, he says, “is the personality you can offer.”