The ultimate fantasy of many a 1980s teenager is being made a reality in Oslo, where a hotel is offering guests the chance to sleep with A-ha. Well … one of the band members anyway. Other available bed-partners include the bassist from Coldplay, the singer from the Danish band Mew, or a Grammy award-winning music-producer (for the more discerning guest).
The Nordic hotel that replaced pay-TV porn with contemporary art has produced another first: an interactive suite that encourages guests to project a life-size image of their favourite musician onto the bed beside them as they sleep (or not, as the case may be).
The idea came from A-ha’s Magne Furuholmen, Coldplay’s Guy Berryman, Mew singer Jonas Bjerre and producer Martin Terefe, who together make up the pan-European supergroup Apparatjik. The band formed in 2008 to create the music for the BBC Two series Amazon with Bruce Parry and has been recording and performing together ever since.
Rock stars are generally better known for wrecking hotel rooms than designing them but Furuholmen says that the idea of creating a suite held a particular appeal. “One common denominator of all four members of Apparatjik is that we’ve spent a disproportionately large part of our lives in hotel rooms and we were sick of every room looking identical.” Petter Stordalen, boss of the Nordic Choice chain, felt the same and invited Apparatjik to do something about it at his flagship hotel, The Thief. “Art has always been really important to me,” says Stordalen, “so this seemed like a good idea. I gave the band carte blanche to do what they wanted – and they did.”
“We started by going around tacky gift shops trying to find things to make the room as kitsch as we could and create a sort of ‘disco combat’ feel,” explains Furuholmen. “We found pixelated carpets, retro fabrics, lots of vinyl, and something every hotel room needs: a disco ball for the bathroom.” Furuholmen and his band mates took these treasures and created Apparatjik World, an eclectic mix of art, video, music and installations – including projections of band members dressed as semi-nude muscle men with bulging silver posing pouches (“we like a costume: it gives us freedom,” says Furuholmen). The result? “Quirky … with a touch of insanity,” is how Stordalen describes his new suite.
The guests seem to like it, too. “We’ve had a great response from regulars, as well as some big names who’ve stayed,” says Stordalen. The hotel is a favourite among A-listers and although its owner won’t name names, gossip sites report that Justin Bieber and Jay Z have been recent guests.
There’s just one problem. “We’ve got this internal competition going on about which band member’s projection is the most popular,” says Furuholmen, “in bed.” So whose buttons are getting pressed? Stordalen, the man with the answers, won’t divulge numbers. “I don’t want anyone to get upset,” he says. “So the results are strictly confidential.”
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