Downtown Camper is a Stockholm lifestyle hotel opened earlier this year by the Nordic hospitality chain Scandic. Located in one of the city’s less explored central neighborhoods, Brunkebergstorg, it serves as a hub for curious visitors keen to seek out urban adventures. Part of Scandic’s bolder, more characterful Signature imprint, the hotel has already become a go-to for both local and international guests. They have been drawn to this Brutalist building which conceals a playful interior that features games pieces by Vietnam-based modern-industrial design company District Eight.
Intrigued, we met with their Marketing Manager, Mette von Schack. Introduced to us by our friends at Dunke Design, Mette helped us to understand how Downtown Camper, Scandic’s third Signature hotel in the Swedish capital, has been effective in targeting an audience in search of dynamic, authentic experiences.
Describe the vibe at Downtown Camper for someone who hasn’t visited yet.
The hotel’s vibe is young and active. We attract people who like to enjoy the outdoors, and who want something approximating that experience even in an inner-city location. We’re not shooting for a specific age range, but rather we are aiming for a “mental age” which we’d put somewhere around 30.
We want to provide an environment that is engaging. We’re a leisure hotel, and that should be immediately evident to our guests. That applies even if they only visit our meeting rooms, which are different to the enclosed conference rooms that you would usually see in more traditional hotels. Ours are open to everyone, which transforms them into creative social spaces.
So, Downtown Camper is primarily focused on the leisure segment. What are some other features you’ve integrated into the hotel that appeal to this market?
Besides the meeting rooms, every common area is a social space. In these spaces, we have included pieces from District Eight—namely their shuffleboard and ping pong tables. In total, there are five creative spaces for meetings and events. We have the Game Room, Cocoon, Nightwood, the Board Room and the Camper Lounge. All of them are capable of hosting between 10 and 65 people, each with a slightly different focus ranging from a cinema room to a meeting space.
Why have the games pieces been so well received?
It’s rare to see these games in a hotel anywhere in Stockholm. I feel that the games pieces help inspire creativity, and I have found that people want something playful and new to engage with. This kind of unique environment can help trigger ideas and solutions. Our corporate clients and guests have been pleasantly surprised by the ping pong and shuffleboard tables.
What existed here before Downtown Camper?
Scandic has been managing this space for a long time. Before it was Downtown Camper, it used to be another Scandic branded hotel. The exterior dates back to the Brutalist architecture period of the late 1960s. The intention is for the harsh exterior to starkly contrast with the creative interior.
Many design features of the hotel borrow inspiration from one of Stockholm’s oldest skate spots, which used to be right in front of the hotel entrance. Actually, the hotel check-in desk is in the shape of a quarterpipe.
Overall, the Swedish design aesthetic feels quite reserved. Why do you think this is?
There is a Swedish expression referred to as the “Law of Jante”. It’s an old saying that is deeply embedded in Swedish culture; kind of a law of conduct. It has become more of a cultural undercurrent, rather than a practice that is actively taught. In layman’s terms, it means there shouldn’t be too much or too little of anything. Moderation is the key. This resonates well with many Swedish and Scandinavian people, and partially explains why this part of the world is well known for minimalism and functionalism. Each design element serves a purpose. And the overarching theme is that things are clean and simple.
I suppose that as Sweden is becoming more internationalized, we are moving away from this ideology, though it is still deeply rooted in the psyche of the Swedish people.
What are your impressions of Vietnam?
I’ve never been to Vietnam, so I don’t know much more than what I’ve read. I’ve heard the country is lush and beautiful, which makes me think of beaches and nature. On the other hand, I have an image of Vietnam as a powerful industrial country. Those are the two impressions that hold the strongest associations for me.
In regards to the food, I think of fresh vegetables, herbs and an overall light cuisine. Personally, I love Vietnamese food. There’s a Vietnamese restaurant nearby my home in Stockholm that recently opened with a variety of vegetarian and noodle dishes. Although I’ve never been to Asia, in addition to Vietnam, there are many places I would also love to visit like China, Japan and Mongolia.
What other hotels should we check out while we’re in Stockholm?
Our sister properties in the Signature collection are all really interesting extensions of the Scandic brand. Downtown Camper is the third Signature hotel. It was preceded by the Haymarket and Grand Central, both of which would be worth checking out.