Posted in Projects on 5 April, 2017

SPACE’s Tonje Odegard had a peek at Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre to see how Iceland’s rich natural history has fused the interior design of this lifestyle hotel…

Iceland’s first Canopy by Hilton hotel in Reykjavik is a fascinating little jewel that has incorporated the strong cultural and historic heritage of both its country, its neighbourhood and its building. Using the colours of the Icelandic landscape, local manufacturers and native artists in the design of the hotel, a stylish, modern and inviting space has been created.

Situated on Hverfisgata Street, a thriving area in the city, Canopy by Hilton has taken inspiration from the capital’s artistic flair, exciting culinary life and unusual volcanic scenery to form this 112-room hotel.


Before the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre property was built, the site was home to one of the city’s most popular music venues, Faktory, which used to be a hub for cultural activities such as poetry reading and gigs. This part of the site’s history has been perpetuated through the creation of a Poet’s Corner and LP Library at the hotel. Located in the Canopy Central Café on the ground floor, this is a cosy hideaway for guests to enjoy a large selection of local and international literature, and the LP Library offers more than 1,000 records to be played at the hotel’s 10 on-site record players.

The site on which the hotel sits presented some unique challenges. It was, for instance, home to a number of large-scale pieces of street art. Since this urban decoration is such an important feature of the area around Laugavegur Street, which used to be one of the few spots where artists could use their spray cans without risk of prosecution, it was something Canopy by Hilton decidedly wanted to integrate into the design.

The hotel is also built on the site of one of Iceland’s best-known furniture factories, which was in operation from 1937 to 1963. The factory was responsible for producing some of the most notable Icelandic furniture of that time.

This melting pot of creativity has influenced the hotel’s look. And while Canopy by Hilton brings something new and different to the neighbourhood and to the city of Reykjavik as a whole, the aim of the design was also to develop a hotel that complements and maintains the integrity of the existing architecture of the city. The building includes a pared back and an elegant corrugated façade to preserve the looks of the surrounding buildings.



The vision for the interior design was Iceland’s dramatic and incredible natural landscape. The raw, volcanic and artic scenery that this country offers is strongly, but delicately represented in the property. The look is completed with the use of natural materials, bespoke furniture crafted by local designers, and colourful street art.

Steeped in local culture, the colours of ocean blue and grey volcanic rock have been applied, making a comfortable and invigorating interior. The spacious rooms, the open, light lobby and the relaxing public spaces all have the atmosphere of a fresh, beautiful, crisp and cold winter’s day.

The patterns in the guestrooms draw its influence from traditional Icelandic basalt geometry and the materials used are reminiscent of those you would find outside the hotel. To the design team of Canopy by Hilton, it was important to include references to Reykjavik’s distinct aesthetics throughout. Fun local twists have also been added to the rooms, such as little Reykjavik Music Boxes, able to lull guests to sleep with a traditional Icelandic lullaby, or poems by local writers printed on the walls. Other examples are chairs designed by Icelandic furniture designer Hjalti Geir Kristjansson, and furniture inspired by visionaries such as Danish furniture designer Finn Juhl.

The guestrooms have light, unfinished wooden floors, wooden feature walls in ocean blue and large wall-to-wall windows to allow abundance of natural light to come in – a true representation of classic wooden Nordic homes. The other furniture is minimalist mid-Century, similar to the design of Iceland’s Scandinavian neighbours. Intriguing and colourful art pieces can also be found dotted around.

The rooftop bar feels like a typical Nordic living room with a strong presence of ‘hygge’ – comfortable furniture in warm colours and soft material, plush carpets, a burning wood fire, grey tiles and wooden wall panels and floors. This look is also apparent in the Poet’s Corner on the ground floor, which has a gigantic bookcase that stretched all the way up to the first floor.


The hotel’s incredible restaurant, Geiri Smart, is a sleek and sophisticated area with a mid-century look – floor tiles in a funky pattern, thin wooden chairs, and low-hanging, simplistic lamps. There’s also reference to the building’s factory history in this space.

The work of local street artists have also been blended into the design, offering an extension of the vibrant scenes visible around the Laugavegur Street, and a nod to the building and site’s rich history. Other original artwork by local artists is featured around the hotel to honour the fact that Reykjavik has one of the most exciting creative communities in the world.

Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is an accomplished and beautiful hotel. It holds character, individuality, history and intriguing design, which really brings it to life. There’s no doubt you are in Iceland when visiting this property, and like Gary Steffan, Global Head of Canopy by Hilton said: “Reykjavik is unlike any other city on Earth. Its rich heritage and natural beauty perfectly align with the ethos of the Canopy by Hilton brand.”

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