VALO is the name of a complex on the outskirts of Helsinki that combines hotel accommodation with office facilities. With a dual use that is both efficient and viable, the beds are folded away during the day, making way for fold-out desks.

The hotel industry was amongst the worst hit by the pandemic, and it has experienced a slow recovery. But one forward-thinking company in Finland has shown potential for growth and a rapid return to economic normality. VALO Hotel & Work on the outskirts of Helsinki is based on a flexible concept that combines hotel accommodation, work space and wellness.

Work Lounge, Valo Hotel, Helsinki
The hotel’s well-lit lobby is also a spacious lounge for working.

This is a response to the fact that ever more people don’t work in a fixed location. Remote working is the latest big trend in the world of work. And it wasn’t born out of the pandemic, either, but was merely accelerated by the situation.

Hotel room transformed into office

Specifically, this means that the 422 hotel rooms in the complex can be turned into functional offices via an app-controlled mechanism. During the day, the bed simply folds away into a purpose-built niche in the wall. This reveals a fold-out desk on the underside of the bed, which completes the transformation.

Depending on the size of the room, in the daytime several people can work together here. It is an option that broadens the possibilities for occupancy, in terms of both the type and duration of use. While hotel guests are usually only found in their room at night, at VALO the rooms are useful throughout the day as well.

Hotel room, Valo Hotel, Helsinki
Transformation from hotel room to office is controlled via an app.

Rather than having a hotel vacant during the day and an office empty at night and weekends, VALO combines the two utilities into one space.

Design Team, VALO Hotel & Work

The Sleep & Work concept was developed by the hotel’s design head, Minna Hurme, together with office specialists Workplace Oy, interior design studio Fyra and Finnish construction firm SSA.

More choice, fewer emissions

The hotel founders believe that their project can become a model of how to improve hotel occupancy and consequently the environmental credentials. Above all, it is business travellers who benefit from the ability to stay in one place for all their activities. “Our sustainable innovation is based on the dual use concept,” the VALO team explains. “Rather than having a hotel vacant during the day and an office empty at night and weekends, VALO combines the two utilities into one space.”

Interior design, Fyra, Valo Hotel
A flexible use of space and Scandinavian simplicity characterize the interior concept of the hotel restaurant “Elo”.

When you take the entire lifecycle into account, the occupancy rate of hotels is around 40 percent, and this drops to only 8 percent for offices, according to the operators: “VALO offers a viable solution to this global problem. By combining all relevant business services into one, we significantly reduce emissions and waste while also creating better services for travellers.”

Multifunctional restaurant concept

This multifunctional approach to the hotel rooms is continued in the restaurant “Elo” and the lounge bar “Suo”, which are available for hotel guests and office users, and also for visitors to the hotel. In the mornings, both of these function as breakfast rooms for hotel guests. Then at midday and in the evenings they are popular with business people and Helsinki residents alike.

Bar Suo, Valo Hotel, Helsinki
The lounge bar “Suo” functions as a breakfast room for hotel guests in the mornings. Then in the evenings it is the perfect atmospheric setting for an after-work drink.

The interior design by Fyra radiates a dignified, Nordic style with plenty of wood and warm shades. The majority of the furniture by designed by Fyra, who commissioned local carpenters with production. They paid special attention to creating easily adaptable furniture, with sufficient charging facilities for mobile phones and computers.

Workspace includes sauna

The lobby of VALO Hotel & Work is situated in a central atrium and also functions as a “work lounge”. A wide wooden staircase with informal seating and working areas connects two different levels, while a glazed wall lets a lot of daylight into the spacious room and creates a pleasant atmosphere for working.

Wellness Lounge, Valo Hotel, Helsinki
The hotel’s wellness lounge can also be booked for meetings.

Different packages are on offer for companies and coworkers, taking into account the fluctuating need for office space and infrastructure. Besides open coworking spaces, there are also shielded workspaces, individual offices, creative office landscapes and seminar rooms.

And after a hard day’s work, you can head straight for the sauna. The rooftop wellness area is even included in the coworking price.

Text: Gertraud Gerst
Translation: Rosemary Bridger-Lippe
Photos: Riikka Kantinkoski