The groundbreaking Six Senses Svart will be the first ‘net energy-positive’ hotel in the world, setting a new standard for carbon-neutral travel and providing a blueprint for sustainable development. Jenny Southan reports
Located at the base of the Svartisen glacier in the Norwegian Arctic Circle, the 94-room Six Senses Svart takes the form of a ring and appears to float on the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord.
Globetrender has actually written about it before but it’s only now that they Six Senses has become attached to the project, which is expected to debut in 2024. (It was going to open this year but has been delayed.)
Taking its cue from local fiskehjell (an A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish) and the rorbu (a coastal fisherman’s cabin), the Six Senses Svart will be constructed on stilts, “dissolving the boundary between land and fjord, ensuring minimal land impact and seabed disruption”.
Six Senses says: “The circular form is tactile, creating a feeling of openness and perpetual consciousness of nature as it gives the building a transparent appearance.”
It adds: “Superior craftsmanship will bring nature inside to form the modern and sustainable Scandic interiors, with corridor space filled with fun and quirky artwork, artifacts, and landscape follies, charting local heritage and creativity.”The Six Senses Svart says it aims to inspire guests to “take a beat” and raise awareness of the possibilities of regenerative travel and the importance of the polar region, in partnership with the local community.
Creating a new standard for carbon-neutral travel, the most innovative feature of the Six Senses Svart is its energy efficiency. Functioning independently of the grid, it will harvest more than enough solar energy to power the hotel and its adjacent operations.
Six Senses says: “Such energy-positive buildings could deliver 89 per cent of the 45 per cent decrease in emissions required to reach the scenario where global warming is limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“As such, Six Senses Svart is the northernmost implementation of the Paris Agreement, demonstrating that carbon neutrality can be not only feasible in a sophisticated development at an eco-sensitive site, but can also be profitable.”The Svart will also be self-sustaining when it comes to waste and water management, recycling, and renewable infrastructure. The team will work with existing sustainable fishing and farming operations and engage local like-minded suppliers for the restaurants and bars. As a brand, Six Senses filters and bottles its own drinking water throughout all its properties, so single-use plastics will be kept to a minimum.
Jan-Gunnar Mathisen, CEO of the project’s owner and developer, says: “To enhance the vision of Svart, we have established a Net Zero Lab, a vehicle for developing and taking to market the technology created by us in a joint effort with Six Senses to reach the common goal for net-zero travel.
“This means the guest journey will have zero environmental impact from start to end. The mission is to achieve common ground for all stakeholders pushing the technology to the next level to benefit the resort and the industry at large.Wellness is also central to the Six Senses DNA and the brand says the Svart is an “opportunity to innovate further”. Each guest room will feature Svart Touch contactless technology that “adapts the room to the guest’s state of mind and health”. Meanwhile, the on-site spa will offer guests compression boots and vitamin IVs in the biohacking lounge.
Ivaylo Lefterov, Svart’s development director, says: “Building a unique environment through cutting-edge design and superior craftsmanship comes with clear obligations. Creating a sustainable destination through an optimised resort operation requires us to collaborate with the right partner.
“Six Senses shares the same ethos and ambition, to redefine bespoke travel through technological innovation, carbon-neutral approach, ground-breaking design, and an exceptional guest journey.”
Other features of the hotel will include the Experience Centre for relaxation, zero-waste restaurant the Marketplace, the Six Senses Alchemy Bar for making your own beauty products, and the Earth Lab, which will serve as the sustainability outreach space. There will also be a Svart Design Lab, which will act as an incubator for carbon neutral innovation and education.