By Robert Such. Published in Hospitality Design.

Looking like an outsized piece of elaborately folded paper, the new Bella Sky Hotel just outside the Danish capital Copenhagen stands out on the horizon—just what Danish architectural firm 3XN and the hotel client Comwell wanted.

Sandwiched between green open spaces and Ørestad, a new city development extending southeast from the capital, the hotel is “out in a big nowhere land,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, 3XN founder and principal architect, “so it has to be more expressive. We had to add some character to the area with this building.”

The idea was also to shift the visual focus away from the visually unremarkable low-rise Bella Center, a trade fair and conference center built back in the 1970s, towards a more iconic-looking building. Ørestad is “a new place so it lacks energy,” says Nielsen, “yet this building is meant to add some identity to the area, and the Bella Center as well. In the middle of Copenhagen it would have looked completely different.”

Given a limited building footprint and a height restriction because of the hotel’s proximity to Copenhagen airport, 3XN came up with the idea of putting two towers side by side. Tilting and folding the two glass and aluminum structures meant that more rooms could have outward-looking views and guests’ windows could be angled away from each other. As for the triangular pattern on the facade, it “came out from the two angles of the towers,” explains Nielsen.

On the inside, the triangular motif reappears in the shape of wall-mounted lobby mirrors and ceiling lights. Other key lobby design features include a 2,000-square foot [180-square meter] planted wall and a soft-lit color-changing LED chandelier.
Inspired by its surroundings, the curved green landscaping serves as a dining backdrop for the lobby’s mezzanine-level restaurant, one of the hotel’s five restaurants.

With more than 800 guestrooms, Bella Sky also stands out for its niche accommodation offering: On the 17th floor of Tower Two (dubbed the Bella Donna floor), 20 rooms are exclusively for women—from the color scheme to room accessories.

To create a warm, informal and relaxed interior in the restaurants and the 23rd-story Sky Bar, 3XN teamed up with Swedish design firm Thomas Eriksson Arkitekter (TEA). They worked with natural wood, like ash and oak, warm and cool colors, curvy furnishings—a counterpoint to the building’s angular form—and brought in furniture by Scandinavian firms and designers such as Hay, Arne Jacobsen and Finn Juhl.

“To get customers out there they needed to have something extraordinary,” says Nielsen, “and they wanted something that called for Scandinavian cool design and state of the art Scandinavian architecture.”