Get­away

The fjords can wait: be­fore chug­ging up Nor­way’s rugged west coast in pur­suit of icy swims, glaciers and the last of the sum­mer black­cur­rants, spend 48 hours in Oslo’s smaller, but cooler, sib­ling city

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

Get your win­ter fix of Nordic cosi­ness in Nor­way’s new hotspot, the cool and colour­ful Ber­gen

THE CITY

Be­hind the rows of pink-, rust- and mus­tard­hued clap­board houses, res­i­den­tial Ber­gen teeters on the hill that rises from the seafront. Nor­way’s sec­ond big­gest city is per­haps best-known in Bri­tain as the jump­ing-off point for ex­plor­ing the Western fjords, but al­though parts of it still feel like a fish­ing vil­lage, a wave of in­ven­tive cooks and cre­atives and – of course – a thriv­ing cof­fee cul­ture is now mak­ing the city start to sparkle in the eyes of de­sign, art and ar­chi­tec­ture mag­pies. ➤

Villa Ter­mi­nus, a beau­ti­fully re­stored 17th-cen­tury house, where the 18 bed­rooms – chalky­walled and lit by sub­tle sky­lights and Arne Ja­cob­sen lamps – are chic, yet homely. At break­fast, guests mill around the ar­chi­tect­de­signed kitchen is­land while the house chef brews fresh mint tea and cooks perfect scram­bled eggs to or­der (£162 per night; vil­later­mi­nus.no). It is the old­est of five small, in­ter­est­ing ho­tels re­cently set up by a Ber­gen fam­ily in a va­ri­ety of his­toric build­ings – the big­gest, Zan­der K ( 1), is spread over a 1920s bike shop, ex-garage and new build­ing (£105 per night; zan­derk.no), and the grand­est, Ber­gen Børs ( 2), is housed in a red tiled and soap­stone Neo-clas­si­cal build­ing (£162 per night; bergen­bors.no). All five ho­tels were de­signed by Stock­holm stu­dio Claes­son Koivisto Rune and kit­ted out with cus­tom fur­ni­ture by Norwegian car­pen­ters, in­ter­spersed with pieces by a roll-call of our favourite names in de­sign, from Ilse Craw­ford and Josef Frank, to Danish fur­ni­ture de­signer Børge Mo­gensen and east Lon­doner Samuel Wilkin­son.

En route to the morn­ing fish mar­ket, pick up a cup of Oslo-roasted Sol­berg & Hansen cof­fee from tiny café-shop Blom ( kaf­femisjo­nen.no), and a seed-steeped cob­bler from lo­cals’ go-to Godt Brød ( 4) which, trans­lat­ing as Good Bread in English, does what it says on the tin ( godt­brod.no). At sun­rise, a riot of pinks, or­anges and pun­gent salty air awaits at Tor­get’s 300-year-old daily dock­side fish mar­ket, where you will find ev­ery­thing from cured sal­mon on slabs of brown bread to just-caught cray­fish sold by the kilo. Wan­der through Nygårdsparken park to Møh­len­pris, a for­merly thriv­ing neigh­bour­hood that the pro­pri­etors of retro, pis­ta­chiogreen-painted new café-con­cert hall No­bel Bopel hope to re­turn to its for­mer glory. The venue is vi­brant, with a sea­sonal lunch menu, a bi-monthly beer-brew­ing fes­ti­val, and mini per­for­mances by the Ber­gen Phil­har­monic Orches­tra (no­bel­bopel.no).

A po­tent cock­tail at Bare – a restau­rant lo­cated within the grand for­mer stock ex­change’s Cham­ber of Com­merce, where a Car­rara mar­ble bar now oc­cu­pies the space in which the board­room ta­ble stood – is an ex­cel­lent way to start the evening ( bar­erestau­rant.no). The build­ing’s in­te­rior is de­lib­er­ately rem­i­nis­cent of men’s tai­lor­ing – think hound­stooth up­hol­stery and ar­gyle pat­terned floor tiles – and the restau­rant serves so­phis­ti­cated dishes, such as hal­ibut with goose­ber­ries and buck­wheat ice cream. Cool Ber­gen­ers come here for a beer on Mon­day evenings. Sim­i­larly mod­ern-but-cosy are Lysver­ket ( 3), a brasserie at­tached to the Kode 4 art mu­seum (try the de­li­cious roasted cau­li­flower with miso and peat; lysver­ket.no), and Marg og Bein, a light, airy din­ing room with huge win­dows, bare bulbs and lush, green plants – make sure to leave space for the de­li­cious lemon meringue pud­ding (marg-bein.no).

ARTS AND CUL­TURE

On a fine day, hike – or take the fun fu­nic­u­lar rail­way – up Fløyen moun­tain for spec­tac­u­lar views and to pay a visit to Tubakuba ( 6), a con­tem­po­rary cabin that was de­signed by Ber­gen School of Ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dents and is rented out to fam­i­lies in or­der to en­cour­age city chil­dren to ex­plore the wild (floyen.no). Back in town, head to Horda­land, Ber­gen’s first artist-run art cen­tre, which currently has Bri­tish book de­signer Phil Baber in res­i­dence ( kun­st­sen­ter.no), or the water­side ‘ house of cul­ture’ Kun­sthall, with an ex­hi­bi­tion of sculp­tor Ma­gali Reus’ work open­ing 3 Novem­ber ( kun­sthall.no).

SHOP

Things to ad­mire or ac­quire across Ber­gen in­clude cult LP sleeves at Apol­lon record shop (apol­lon.no), de­signer anoraks at Norwegian Rain­coat’s flag­ship (nor­we­gian­rain.com) and care­fully cu­rated clothes and per­fumes at Pep­per, a shop stock­ing treats, from Ital­ian brand Marvis’ cult tooth­paste to Commes des Garçons’ coats (pep­per-ber­gen.blogspot.com). Plus, you can take home Nordic berry pre­serve or cured salami from Colo­nialen, the deli-café at The House of Lit­er­a­ture, where you might catch a de­bate – if you’re lucky, in English – on any­thing from fish­ing to fem­i­nism ( lit­thus­ber­gen.no; colo­nialen.no).

ES­CAPE THE CITY

If you’re after a night in the wilder­ness, but would pre­fer not to sac­ri­fice great de­sign and a hot shower, head out to A292 Aur­land ( 5, from £ 154 per night; 292au­r­land.com), a work­ing farm where ‘300 years of hap­pi­ness meets moder­nity’, as its own­ers put it. Check into its Goat Barn, a ge­nius new-build that was as­sem­bled us­ing win­dows from the es­tate’s derelict out­houses and built with tim­ber boards sal­vaged from the for­mer smoke­house. There’s a sauna, eco hot tub, wood­burn­ing stoves and a break­fast of eggs (from the neigh­bour’s hens), goat’s cheese and rasp­berry juice to pro­pel you up the moun­tains for a bike trip along the for­mer Flåm rail­way track.

Words CHAR­LOTTE BROOK

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