Hotel Rangá’s South America suite stuns with vibrant colors, beautiful craftsmanship and lots of traditional geometric designs. We recently chatted with hotelier Friðrik Pálsson to learn more about the inspiration behind the room. Keep reading to find out about the history of Hotel Rangá’s South America suite.
Influenced by Peru
“When we first started designing our continental suites, we thought about what country to have as a focus for South America,” says hotelier Friðrik Pálsson.
After doing some research, they quickly identified a country that stood out.
“The Inca influence in Peru made it quite different from other countries. Theirs is a unique decorative style with many geometric prints. So Peru seemed to be logical to use as our starting point.”
As you gaze around the South America suite, you will notice colorful wooden panels on many of its walls. These were built from different types of wood sourced directly from Peru.
“To our surprise, it turned out that in Peru there is a lot of very interesting wood,” says Friðrik. “Different kinds and colors, strengths and toughnesses. One example is the two trees yellowheart and purpleheart. They are practically sister trees and very beautiful–one lighter and one darker. So we decided to build the room more or less from that wood.”
A Team Effort
“We were so lucky with these wooden decorations. At that time, we had Italian, Canadian and Icelandic carpenters working for us. They worked together to create the wooden decor, which you will find in the room itself, on the walls and around the doors and wardrobe. Gradually, it became a very colorful and beautiful room.”
A Ceiling Modeled after the Andes
If you look up, you’ll notice that the room’s ceiling isn’t flat but angular. This was actually an intentional design choice.
“When we were deciding what the ceiling should look like, we got this idea of having the ceiling to look like the Andes Mountains, the huge mountain range running along South America’s left side. This totally changed the look of the room,” says Friðrik.
Authentic Furniture and Decor
“Most of the decor and furnishings came from South America. In fact, even the wooden lamps came from Uruguay. We ordered the furniture, carpets, artwork and the stone tiles from Peru. We used these stone tiles on one of the walls as a sort of reference to the famous Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. That wall had to be strongly reinforced so it could withstand this very heavy weight from the stones.”
An Evening Hobby
“There is a lot of beautiful decoration in the bathroom. In fact, every piece of the wall is made of two or three different types of Peruvian wood,” says Friðrik.
“Everything is completely handmade. In fact, the door itself and the decoration around it was more or less the evening hobby of the carpenters. The door is a masterpiece and shows how you can really play with wood if you have the experience and the imagination.”
Inspired by the Incas: Bold, Geometric Patterns
Above the bed, you will find a big tapestry from Peru in the Inca style. A colorful geometric wall mural surrounds the tapestry. In fact, there’s actually a good story behind these decorations.
“A painter from Reykjavik was painting part of the wall behind the bed,” says Friðrik. “He told us that in the Inca world they didn’t use many organic shapes, meaning those similar to things found in nature. Instead, their designs were geometric and made up of mostly straight lines. It’s quite interesting to wonder why the Incas were drawn to such bold, angular patterns.”
The Real Deal
“When we first were considering a continental theme, I was pretty hesitant,” says Friðrik. “I thought it would be very difficult to make the concept original. I also worried it could feel inauthentic. But now I can proudly say that we have done a hell of a good job. Those who have visited and lived in these continents always comment that we made these rooms really authentic.”