Cuckoo’s Nest, Lindholmen Science Park Gothenburg
Einstein went sailing in dead calms. Da Vinci’s was so paranoid that he kept all his notes in mirror-writing - upside down. Nikolai Tesla liked to electrocute himself in public, and Richard Feynman picked locks in his spare time. You don’t have to be mad to be a scientist, but it sure seems to help!
This was the insight that inspired The Cuckoo’s nest, a restaurant, bar and all-day, all-night social hub located in the arcane borderlands between genius and madness. It is also, somehow, located on Lindholmen (how that works? No idea, it must be science!). Lindholmen, an innovation park, technology hub, and IT campus all rolled into one, can be a chilly place in winter. It’s the first stopping place for icy winds blasting in off the North Atlantic, and the gleaming glass-and-steel buildings don’t offer much shelter. Almost 20,000 students, teachers, and workers spend their days here.
And it is also where Gothenburg’s newest and most talked-about hotel, The Radisson Blu Riverside, perches above the still water of the harbour. “It wasn’t just that the hotel needed a restaurant,” says Stylt Trampoli creative director and founder Erik Nissen Johansen. “It was that the people of Lindholmen, the thinkers, innovators, coders, contrarians and creatives (and their friends), needed a meeting place - somewhere warm and home-like where they could brainstorm, write, mingle, drink, laugh, eat and hatch new ideas.”
Visually, it is a happy clash (as so many good ideas are) between an old-fashioned library and the most comfortable natural history museum ever, and there are more than a few whimsical touches - such as the mysterious collection of scrap paper surrounding the tv-screen, the chalked Einsteinian notes on the bar and the small banner-toting biplane suspended from the ceiling.
“Creative people have a very serious need for whimsy,” explains Erik. “Playing is the best way to have an idea, and this place is all about new ideas. And old! We wanted to help tell the story of this place, of industry and innovation and technology, and the people who made it all happen.”
Lindholmen’s busy brains seem to feel right at home at The Cuckoo’s Nest, and the restaurant is nearly always buzzing with everything from business lunches to students reading. Which goes to show that anyone can create a restaurant, but it takes a special kind of passion to create a meeting place.
Cuckoo's Nest won the Bar category at the 2013 European Hotel Design Awards. Read the jury's motivation here.