Scandic Paasi

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Scandic Paasi - Helsinki's new arena for personalities

The Challenge

In August 2012, Scandic’s new flagship hotel in Helsinki Scandic Paasi Hotel opened in the city’s Siltasaari area. The Paasi is a 170-room hotel integrated with one of the city’s true landmark buildings, the Paasitorni conference and congress center.

A city is only as vibrant as its personalities. The best architecture, the finest views, the fanciest restaurants - it all counts for nothing if the streets and buildings are not brought to life by the zest and character of the people who populate them. This is true of Helsinki and particularly of the Siltasaari area, just a five minute tram ride from the main center.

Siltasaari is the Finnish capital at its most dynamic, honest and authentic. A magnet for creative and progressive thinkers and spiced with a dash of bohemian attitude, the area gets its offbeat cultural charm from the colourful personalities of its history.

In the 19th century, the area was home to the Finnish trade union movement. The bridge Pitkäsilta (”long bridge”) became a symbolic divide between the bourgeois centre and the working class areas. But it wasn't all about industry and hard work. In 1885, the famous Finnish architect Theodor Höijer transformed a wallpaper factory into a circus with seats for 2000 spectators, which gave the street where Hotel Paasi is situated its original name of Cirkusgatan (Circus Street).

The opening ceremony was held in 1887, and featured 110 artists, 62 horses and a grand orchestra. Among the countless performers during the years were the Scipione Ciniselli Circus, Manuel Veltra and his six lions on bicycles, and a German circus with animal trainer Henrik Henrikssen who wrestled with fifteen polar bears. The last circus performance was held in 1907 and in 1912 the building was torn down.

The hotel is integrated with the ruggedly beautiful granite fortress of Paasitorni, formerly the Helsinki Workers’ House. Paasitorni provided education, leisure activities and entertainment for the workers of Helsinki, and the building was a candidate for a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2010. Today it is one of Helsinki’s biggest conference and convention centers.

The hotel is located in three adjoining buildings, containing the hotel's 170 rooms, which together present an opportunity to journey into Siltasaari’s history.

The Solution

The stars of the Siltasaari circus are especially celebrated in the reception area. Entering the hotel, you can imagine the roar of lions and the crack of the ringmaster’s whip. Next to the lobby and bar, the drawing room offers a warm and cozy ambience, with its huge bookshelf filled with objects, photos and books that tell the story of the area's history. Each piece of furniture in the lobby and drawing room has a specific label dedicated to selected characters from the area. 

Three interior design room themes named Spectacular, Leisure and Conscious express different personalities from the history of the area, while complementing the lifestyles and personalities of the hotel guests. The wallpaper silhouettes and the signage of hotel corridors and guest rooms are a tribute to the circus performers, artists, musicians, craftsmen, painters and writers that colour Siltasaari’s heritage.

The Result

Inspired by the colourful characters from the Siltasaari neighbourhood, Scandic Paasi Hotel offers a real sense of place, and attracts guests looking for an inviting, comfortable and inspiring place to stay. The hotel is the perfect arena for today’s personalities who like to mingle with the colourful characters from the past.