From Einstein, who went sailing in dead calms, to Da Vinci, who was so paranoid that he kept all of his notes in mirrored writing, the line between genius and madness is a subtle one. And while that thought might seem to be an odd inspiration for a hospitality space, it’s one that Swedish design firm Stylt Trampoli celebrates in the Cuckoo’s Nest, a new restaurant and bar located in Gothenburg, Sweden’s Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel.
According to Erik Nissen Johansen, founder and creative director with Stylt, the Cuckoo’s Nest was specifically designed to appeal to the 20,000 students, teachers, and scientists working in the surrounding Lindholmen Science Park, a bustling tech and innovation hub located in one of the city’s old shipyard districts.
“It wasn’t just that the hotel needed a restaurant,” Johansen said. “It was that the people of Lindholmen—the thinkers, innovators, coders, contrarians, and creatives—needed a meeting place, somewhere warm and home-like where they could brainstorm, write, and hatch new ideas.”
The restaurant’s design embodies the eccentricities (some would say insanities) of the world’s greatest minds by mixing a variety of warm, plush furnishings with whimsical storytelling elements—an aesthetic Stylt describes as “a happy clash between an old-fashioned library and the most comfortable natural history museum ever.” A mysterious collection of scrap paper, connected with red strings à la CSI, surrounds a flat-screen monitor; scribbled notes and calculations from Albert Einstein cover the bar; and a small biplane toting a banner reading “Nothing shocks me, I’m a scientist” hangs from the ceiling.
“Creative people have a very serious need for whimsy,” Johansen said. “Playing is the best way to have an idea, and this place is all about new ideas. And old!”