Hálfadan Pedersen Translates KEX Hotel Concept from Reykjavik to Portland

Vivian’s dining space is bordered by an L-shaped leather banquette and features a mix of refurbished chairs and tables. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.

Icelandic designer Hálfdan Pedersen brings a worldly eye to KEX Portland, the first U.S. outpost of Reykjavik’s Kex Hostel, which Pedersen also designed. Housed inside a historic 1912 apartment building, the new property has been restored to accommodate 152 guests within 14 private and 15 shared rooms.

The ground floor boasts Douglas fir beams reclaimed from Fort Vancouver train station, milled, and laid in a herringbone pattern. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.

To recreate a Nordic sense of hygge, which champions comfort and sustainability, Pedersen applied muted pastels and earth tones in the guest rooms and reclaimed finishes throughout. The designer sourced furniture, artwork, and building materials during a trip around Europe, selecting eclectic vintage pieces from the 1920s to the 1970s. Further channeling the brand’s Icelandic roots, guest amenities include a sauna and a well-equipped communal kitchen.

A wall of horse name plates from a Belgian racetrack greets guests in the check-in area. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.

On the 3,000-square-foot ground floor, the restaurant, Vivian (named after the hotel’s origins as the Vivian Apartments), adjoins flexible performance and lounge spaces. Other public spaces include the lower level’s 850-square-foot meeting and event space and a rooftop bar, Dóttir, slated to open next spring.

Wainscoting has been constructed from the building’s original apartment doors. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.
Bunk beds in KEX Hotel’s 15 shared rooms are custom-made by Blackmouth Design. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.
The bunk beds are outfitted with privacy curtains, reading lights, and custom canvas sleeves for personal items. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.
Private rooms include queen- and king-sized beds with headboards made from refurbished fireplace mantels. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.
Adopting the Nordic ethos of sustainability, organic mattresses and sheets are environmentally friendly. Photography by Mikael Lundblad.

Read more: DesignAgency Gives Fort Lauderdale’s The Dalmar Hotel a Mid-Century Modern Cachet

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