KOTI: A Finnish Sleepover experience in Paris
‘Go to sleep in Paris, wake up in Finland’. I knew very little of our evening before we arrived at Koti Sleepover at the Institute Finlandais on the left bank in Paris. I had been invited to experience Koti (meaning home in Finnish) on their opening night during the January edition of Paris Design Week. Pack a toothbrush I read. So off I went…
There are six unique Finnish cottages in combinations of a family cabin, a bunk bed twin, single and double size which have been designed and built in the windows of the Finnish Institute. Any passer by can just stop and watch you (there are privacy doors on your cabins for when you sleep though). Guests who stay are to expect traditional Finnish hospitality, offering tranquility (your nights sleep), peaceful simplicity (in the design of the space), Finnish cuisine (breakfast) and the opportunity to meet fellow Koti sleepover guests.
You can book your experience via Airbnb (click here for the link) for the next 100 days starting from today. Why 100 days? Each night marks a year of Finnish independence. Whether you choose to book for 1 night or 3, the space is an exhibition space so expect visitors into the space during the day.
Above, Koti concept creator Linda Bergroth & Tinu Gin
The cabins are designed to allow maximum privacy whilst keeping a community feel. There are no windows as you would find on the traditional cabins you’d find in the fields in Finland. Each cabin features a lamp by Innolux which simulates natural daylight to calmly wake you in the morning, robes and slippers are provided, and the bedding was specially designed for the space by project creator Linda Bergroth by the Finnish linen and wool weaving mill Lapaun Kankurit.
Let me explain how it works when you arrive. For me, I arrived on the launch night, so the cocktail party was mid-swing, and half of the Finnish population of Paris were there nibbling away on rollmops and Finnish gin by Tenu Gin. The idea is that you arrive around 7-9pm where you are checked into your cabin and shown around.
There are bathrooms and a pair of shower cubicles which have been designed in the same style and are perfectly private for your morning shower. The early evening is an opportunity to meet other guests, and during the 100 days the exhibition space will be conducting evening events and screenings which you can join in on.
You are welcome to then leave for the evening, you can just go for dinner over the road to Brasserie Balzar over if you don’t fancy venturing far.
You’re just asked to return at a responsible time (around 11ish) so not to disturb fellow guests. Bear in mind I could hear my neighbours turn in their beds, brush their hair and tip toe off to the showers in the morning, so this is a very communal experience (earplugs and eye masks are provided which I forgot about).
Once you’re tucked up in bed, you can plug in the headphones offered to you for the night and log into the in-cabin experience. Log into the Koti Sleepover website where you’ll find a series of documentaries, animations, short films and travel guides by Visit Finland. I was glued, and at 3am realised I was still watching a short film about the Finn’s relationship with saunas, a very moving film, you’ll have to watch it.
The double cabin above, and my single cabin in the middle below
I woke at 7am, it reminded me of when I spent the night in an igloo last year, only a lot warmer. I quietly pulled my door ajar and it was still pitch black outside. I crept around to take some night shots, there is a night guard on duty so you’ll never be alone, and I could hear the Koti team preparing breakfast.
By 7.30 it was time for a coffee and you could hear everyone stirring in their beds. The communal dining table and benches were designed by architects Mattila & Merz, and as everyone appeared there were various introductions with us standing around in our pjs, some had gone to bed before us, some after so it was fun to share our experiences and wonder who that was snoring last night.
A delicious breakfast is served from 7am, traditional rye bread, salted butter and Finnish berries are all provided by Food from Finland.
The custom-made ceramics are by Nathalie Lahdenmäki, and before you think I wish I could take this all home, you’re led to the shop where you can buy yourself a blanket/set of pillow cases/basket/mirror/cookbook.
I am truly dying to go back for the night. Now who wants to come with me?
To book click on this Airbnb link
LWSY was a guest at Koti in January 2017