Jonathan Tuckey transforms factory in Norway into hotel and cultural hub

Located inside the Arctic circle in the Lofoten archipelago, Trevarefabrikken originally opened in the 1940s as a factory to produce cod liver oil and house a carpentry workshop. The abandoned site has been transformed, with its first phase just completed.

Having purchased the factory in 2014, four friends with family, craftspeople and the local community have gradually retrofitted the site to accommodate an ocean sauna, yoga studio and café. It is also the site of the annual Trevarefest, a music and cultural festival.

Jonathan Tuckey Design was commissioned in 2019 to compartmentalise the open-plan factory floor. Key challenges included retaining the sightlines and atmosphere of the concrete shell while implementing a network of bedrooms.

The scheme consists of three main spaces. The first-floor corridors have had the least work done to them, left ‘in the dark’ to reflect Norway’s long winter nights. Transom windows above hotel room doors let light in while bricks from the factory’s chimney have been repurposed as steps.

Guest rooms and suites are located within the existing concrete shell on the first-floor level. A material palette of bespoke timber joinery contrasts with the retained industrial details. All timber has been sourced from local islands, including furniture, panelling and shutters. Existing services have been left exposed, along with the concrete ceilings and floors, while new services have been concealed behind timber bedside panelling.

The former cod liver oil production facility has been repurposed as a wine bar and restaurant. Existing apertures here have been taken advantage of to frame expansive views across the Vestfjorden sea. Bespoke 5m-long communal dining tables formed from local larch trees have been created for this space.

Local builders, friends and volunteers carried out all construction and carpentry work. Joinery and furniture was made by locals and travellers staying at the hotel. Additional sustainability measures include acoustic insulation to all hotel room floors, walls and roof and triple glazing throughout. Preservation of existing timber floors involved replacing any rotten ends with poured concrete, harking back to the factory foundation’s original construction using timber-formed concrete.

The second floor is a work in progress. Potentially it will become an additional event space.

Architect’s view

The project was a true collaboration between practice and client. We composed a scheme that celebrated the existing built fabric, which would be implemented by the owners over time at their own discretion. This gentle approach is very much indicative of the building’s historic evolution.

The adaptive reuse aspect of the project was of great value to us, but the challenge of its extremely remote location became a unique opportunity. As we led the conceptualisation and detailed design, the owners and their cohort of builders, friends and volunteers carried out construction and carpentry work. This started as a deliberately simple scheme, which grew into something rich in skill and craft as the team grew more confident in their tools and abilities.

To nurture a social atmosphere, the hotel’s wine bar and restaurant (Trandamperiet) features 5m-long communal dining tables. Initially, we suggested using sections of plywood, but importing the material to the remote island proved costly. Instead, the owners sourced from a nearby island, which grows long-length larch trees, allowing the tables to be simply designed for easy assembly. This sustainable solution echoes both ours and Trevarefabrikken’s wholehearted commitment to supporting local economies.
Dan Stilwell, project lead, Jonathan Tuckey Design


Client’s view

Trevarefabrikken was bought by two pairs of brothers from Bergen (a coastal town on the south-west of Norway) with ambitions to create a meeting place across cultural expressions in a small local community. Supporting and attracting the local community as much as visitors was paramount. The building has slowly been transformed into a place with a vibrant cultural scene of local food and drinks, ocean sauna and rooms for a good night’s sleep. Today, the factory is a natural meeting place for the entire region and global visitors alike, who come to enjoy the restaurant, café, accommodation, yoga and a wide range of cultural offerings against a backdrop of Arctic serenity. While many guests may come to experience nature, relaxation and tranquility, ultimately the hotel has been designed to be a social space for visitors to gather and connect.
Martin Hjelle, co-founder, Trevarefabrikken


Project data

Location Henningsvær, Norway
Start on site
February 2019
Completion March 2023
Gross internal floor area 1,500m² across three floors (700m² designed by Jonathan Tuckey Design)
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Jonathan Tuckey Design
Clients Martin Hjelle, Mats Alfsen, Andreas Hjelle, Andreas Alfsen
Carpenter Von Holzen Treverk
Interior designer Jonathan Tuckey Design