What do Succession, Ex Machina and the Beatles have in common?
If you’ve ever considered taking a trip to Norway, Succession Season 4 episode 5 will whet your appetite for possibly the same reason that Alex Garland’s Ex Machina‘s did too: Norwegian wood (which was also the title of the beautiful Beatles song) and a stunningly located hotel.
This episode of HBO’s addictive Succession series takes us to some breathtakingly beautiful parts of Norway, where the Roy siblings Kendall, Roman and Shiv together with the big wigs of the Waystar board discuss their impeding deal with GoJo tech billionaire Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård).
While the Succession episode makes it feel like these scenes all take place in the same location, they’re actually made up of a few different different locations in western Norway. “Norway is a glorious, natural setting. It immediately seemed like a perfect place for a family gathering in the series. We studied different countries, but we realised Norway just has this exceptional landscape — like nowhere else in the world,” production designer Scott Ferguson told Variety
Matsson summons the Waystar team over to his annual retreat to check out the ‘cultural compatibility’ of both companies. He hosts them all in a wonderful hotel set in the Norwegian woods, consisting of a number of timber-clad cabins nestled among rocks, forests, and flowing water. Floor to ceiling glass affords some magnificent views.
Matsson’s retreat is in fact the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldal, designed by Jensen & Skodvin Architects and located between the UNESCO world heritage Geiranger Fjord and Trollstigen (a 90-minute drive from the closest Norwegian city, Ålesund).
The Juvet Landscape Hotel was also the choice for the location of another on-screen tech billionaire’s hideout – that of Nathan Bateman in Ex Machina.
In this award winning Scifi, Bateman lives in a secluded Alaska home which was created for the screen with a combination of two real locations in Norway together with some purpose built sets at Pinewood and some killer special effects.
The Juvet Landscape Hotel in Ex Machina doubles as the billionaire’s dining room.
Ken and Roman Roy in Succession are used to all kinds of luxury but clearly they don’t know a good thing when they see it – they moan about the size of their rooms. It’s not about size guys, it’s about quality.
Matsson stays in another part of the same hotel – The Juvet’s writer’s lodge. We get a good look around this lodge when Shiv joins him for a private chat and a whiskey.
Here we find some notable furniture and decor. The stunning and iconic Chieftain Chair designed by the Danish designer Finn Juhl is nestled in the corner. An icon of the House of Finn Juhl collection, it is a powerful, contemporary throne, on which to read, relax, or conjure up plans for world domination!
At its introduction in 1949, the Chieftain Chair marked a renewal of the Danish furniture design tradition. Today, it is perceived as one of the most important exponents of the Danish Modern movement in the US during the 1950s. For this reason, Finn Juhl is often considered the father of Danish Modern and is widely credited with infusing Nordic style with a new regality and flair.
On the black marble coffee table we spy an Ultima Thule carafe and two matching tumbler glasses. Inspired by the melting ice in Lapland, the Ultima Thule is the Finnish design legend Tapio Wirkkala’s most famous work. Wirkkala originally created the surface of Ultima Thule in the 1960s after carving into a graphic mold. Ultima Thule is an exclusive design which reflects the thousands of hours spent perfecting the glass-blowing technique required to produce the effect.
This glassware range has a rounded base with three ice peaks that float above the surface and bring a slice of arctic nature to your home.
This Writer’s Lodge is a ‘chalet’ of 70 sqm (750 sqf) and contains two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and a patio facing the forest. The view is framed by windows that serve as landscape paintings towards the valley, the river and the mountains. The large windows face the forest with birch and pine and with a forest floor with moss and blueberry heather.
In the real Writers Lodge we find several Scandia chairs by Hans Brattrud.
After checking into their accommodation, the two teams meet and greet each other with caution and a healthy dose of one-upmanship in play, in the Gudbrandsjuvet cafe building.
This scene is scattered with wooden Scandia chairs by Norwegian designer Hans Brattrud.
The award-winning designer Brattrud was best known for the Scandia chair which he designed in 1957. It has been widely imitated but official versions are made by Fjordfiesta (get it?).
Due to the success of the Scandia chair, he developed and enhanced the original design to create and manufacture additional models and variants, resulting in a whole Scandia series.
Another scenic location used in this episode is the Eggen restaurant which is reached via the Romsdalen gondola and features vast windows which cover 360 degreee view of the fjord.
The big outdoor party scene in this episode takes place on the side of a ravine – a 5 metre wide a, 20–25 metres high ravine through which the Valldøla River forces itself.
Starting to rethink your next trip yet? You can almost taste the fresh air. If a trip isn’t on the cards you know now how to bring a piece of Scandinavian craftsmanship into your own home, Succession-style. Or at least include the Beatles Norwegian Wood on your next playlist!