We have had the honour of asking Louise about her beliefs on good workmanship, quality and her daily job working as Creative Director at Svinkløv Seaside Hotel.
The relationship between Svinkløv Seaside Hotel and Proem Parades is based on mutual values, a love for good craftsmanship and timeless design.
Svinkløv Seaside Hotel is located by the coast of the North Sea, Svinkløv, Denmark, and is originally from 1925. In 2016 a horrific fire burned the hotel down to the grown.
The hotel has been rebuilt by local craftsmen and the interior of the hotel is recreated in a fine balance between present and past by now owners Louise Toft-Hansen and Kenneth Toft-Hansen.
The iconic hotel is loved by tourists and locals for its honest and natural atmosphere and food.
Would it be accurate to say that respect for good craftsmanship, traditions & quality are core values in your work as Creative Director?
The work of the hand and good craftsmanship are absolutely fundamental throughout the house. It has shaped everything from the wooden construction, the style of construction, the interior, the food and our hand drawn logo.
The unspoiled nature we are so lucky to be surrounded by is probably the biggest wow-factor up here. That is what has created the foundation for how we have recreated the hotel after the fire.
The hotel is a wooden house with a wooden construction, built like it was done in the past, with mortise and tenon joints and tongue and groove. The headline for the construction has been “how far can we get with wood”. That has great importance for the summer house feel we wanted to recreate, where naturalness and sustainability play a huge part.
I always think about quality - and I think it would be somewhat fair to say that I am not willing to compromise in that respect. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy, because “good enough” is rarely “good enough”. Over time, I have learned to shrug my shoulders once in a while, when it’s necessary. But I always put an honour in not doing anything halfheartedly.
WHICH PERSONAL VALUES HAVE YOU ADDED TO THE HOTEL OVER THE YEARS?
The new interior design is probably the most obvious example of some of the values I have been part of adding to the hotel. And the new aesthetic expressions continue through our visual identity and generally in our external communication. I am incredibly proud of the work I have been part of, when it comes to lifting the aesthetic of the hotel, by adding light and timeless interpretations of what was already here. Furthermore, I have, in collaboration with Badeanstalten (a Danish Skincare company, ed.) produced our own natural, organic and clean soap products, which we offer in each of our rooms.
And then there are all the ideas that are still in the making, which I really look forward to realizing. Personally, I contribute with a positive presence and good energy.
"I call myself the love ambassador".
HOW DO YOU USE ART AND CULTURE TO CREATE THE ATMOSPHERE AND AMBIENCE OF THE SEASIDE HOTEL, AND CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE ATMOSPHERE?
Music has always been central to me and I have loved to sing since I was very young. For me it is the ultimate form of expression and I can hardly imagine anything, apart from my family that gives me the same rush and sensation of happiness.
There has been music at the hotel for many years and that is a tradition we have continued. Every season I make a small matinee in The Yellow Salon in the afternoon, and it is one of my absolute favourite things.
Many of our guests enjoy that everything is “as it always is” here. They find peace and calm in the informal atmosphere we try to create here in our “shared summerhouse”. There is something mentally sustainable in not offering wi-fi, TV or minibar in the rooms. That is a premise one has to buy into when visiting us. Many of our guests mention those values when they are here, because it is not so often, in our busy everyday life, that one takes the time to just sit and let the mind wander.
A few weeks ago a guest said to me “being at Svinkløv is like getting a mental hug” - I think that’s a really good description of the atmosphere we want to create.
Are circular processes included as an important part of the yearly running of the hotel?
We spend the winter, when the hotel is closed, preparing produce for next year’s season. Autumn and winter are, for example, the best time to produce ham and charcuterie. The root crops and ingredients that are in season in autumn, are pickled and fermented in autumn so that they’re ready for the following season. In that way, it fits perfectly with the time the natural processes take.
The winter season is also used to maintain the house and the natural materials. We take good care of our house - the longest wooden house in Denmark demands a lot of love, in order to be strong and solid for the next many years to come.
One of my good friends always says that profit can be measured in many more parameters than money. That makes sense to us.
"Quality is expressed both in the things we can touch, but certainly also in the relations that are created in the hotel, between guests and staff. Going to work everyday has to be meaningful and that is a principle we do a lot to sustain."
Do you consider how the respect for good craftsmanship is connected to thinking responsibly in a greater perspective? Both personally for you and your family, but also as a business?
I do that every single day.
It is at the core of our vision with the hotel and what our entire business revolves around. We exert ourselves in everything that we do and do things properly, from scratch and with great respect for the subject we are working with.
That means good and sustainable results. We have to take some responsibility and take care of the planet we are so lucky to live on. It is important to me that thought has been given to the processes and that they leave the smallest possible imprint on the planet.
I enjoy investing in timeless, good craftsmanship, because I think it makes sense both now and in a future perspective.
However quality is expressed both in the things we can touch, but certainly also in the relations that are created in the hotel, between guests and staff. Going to work everyday has to be meaningful and that is a principle we do a lot to sustain.