VALO Hotel courtyard

VALO Hotel & Work

VALO Hotel & Work – Freedom of wireless lighting for hospitality perfectionists

VALO Hotel & Work’s fresh service and space concept cater to different users at different times of the day. During the daytime, it offers office space for modern workers. But when the sun goes down, the same spaces transform into luxurious hotel rooms. Helvar Freedom wireless luminaire components were chosen to help create the hybrid building’s lighting solutions.

VALO Hotel & Work is located in Ruskeasuo, northern Helsinki. All of the 422 rooms function for both accommodation and work and the building also encapsulates Bistro ELO, Lounge & Bar SUO, and even a unique wellness and sauna area on the top-floor terrace. For this kind of multi-purpose building, lighting is a major factor to ensure a solid and working concept.

Versatile usage of space turns VALO from a productive workspace into a moody hospitality experience. Images: VALO and Aki Rask / Akifoto Oy.

Better than your average smart building

Minna Hurme, Andreas Lindqvist (Director of Operations, VALO) & Teemu Saari in VALO enclosed courtyard

Designing and delivering room controls and a management system for a building that changes its shape every single day is not an easy task. All of the rooms have to provide ideal conditions for both working and unwinding.

“Our main driver is to increase the utilization rate of spaces. With convertible furniture and smart tech, we’re able to transform the rooms in several ways. It makes spatial planning difficult, but at the same time very interesting.” VALO Head of Design Minna Hurme explains.

VALO’s philosophy is to provide a full experience that is catered according to each visitor’s unique needs. For example, this can mean that office users are able to access the building and spaces without ever seeing a real person – if that’s what they prefer.

“We want to provide a seamless experience for all of our guests. For example, if several people from the same company are working in VALO together, we need to cater for all of their needs, whether it’s teamwork or deep focus.” VALO Chief Business Development Officer Teemu Saari continues.

Collaboration creates value for the customer

A forward-facing ecosystem of 3 technology partners enabled VALO to achieve the unique guest experience they were looking for. Helvar delivered customized Freedom luminaire components to connect the luminaires and sensors into the mesh network by Wirepas, all tied together with Mount Kelvin guest room management system.

The lighting system is currently being used to control practically all the luminaires in the building. This includes the rooms and the public spaces, all the way from the rooftop terrace to the underground parking lot.

From Helvar, the system includes LED luminaires with 1150 Freedom LED drivers and an equal amount of Freedom Nodes, the radio communication units, that connect the light fittings into the mesh network. For wireless hospitality lighting needs, Helvar developed a specific driver with integrated radio to wirelessly control 230V light loads, such as floor lamps and reading lights using the conventional LED bulbs. And even more: to cover the need for decorative lighting with constant voltage light sources, a dimmable LED strip controller was added to the Freedom product family.

“Collaboration with Helvar has resulted in completely custom-designed components which are now available for other companies too. It’s been a pleasure to work with their dynamic and responsive team,” tells Miika Valli, Head of Delivery at Mount Kelvin. He continues: “Helvar has come up with state-of-the-art lighting components that enable us to create smart yet stable room controls.”

Tuomo Mörsky, Manager of Product Offering and Development at Helvar Luminaire Components, explains the collaboration with Mount Kelvin and Wirepas: ”In order to keep up with the pace of technological development, we believe that collaboration is inevitable. The best thing is, that all projects we do with our partners generate continuously new business opportunities and creates contact networks that will benefit everyone beyond industry borders.” Mörsky continues: ”The most prominent sign of freedom is the supported control systems in our Freedom ecosystem – and to be clear, our Freedom ecosystem is a viable part of several other ecosystems. VALO is a great example of how different ecosystems can seamlessly join together into one large scale solution. Working together with Mount Kelvin and Wirepas has been very fast-paced and has challenged us to innovate and find new ways to add value to our customers.”

Smart Factory for the best experience

”Helvar Freedom is a result of experience and dedication to deliver the best value in wireless lighting control drivers”

The VALO products were delivered from Helvar’s new Smart Factory – an added value service that aims to reduced installation times, customized products, and experienced delivery capability. All this allows Helvar’s component customers to concentrate on their core businesses and take advantage of Helvar’s global expertise and capacity to efficiently manage essential functions, such as pre-installed cabling, driver current setting, and logistics.

Image: Aki Rask / Akifoto Oy

”The companies involved in the VALO project are passionate about delivering the best possible user experience. Technology is at its best when you don’t even notice it – it just works as the end-user expects.“ states Jani Vehkalahti, SVP of Global Sales at Wirepas. Vehkalahti knows, that connectivity is the key in wireless systems: ”Helvar Freedom is a result of experience and dedication to deliver the best value in wireless lighting control drivers, which use Nordic Semiconductors nRF52 wireless component. Helvar has paid specific attention to the integrated antenna design to ensure everything fits inside the small package and delivers an excellent range even in the most demanding environments. Helvar drivers are built to last.”

He continues: “LED drivers have become a very centric part of Smart Building wireless IoT infrastructure. Wireless LED drivers not only handle lighting control but also sensor data, asset tracking and indoor positioning – making lighting the true backbone for your Smart Building today and tomorrow.”

Adaptability in the core of the project

The VALO concept was first tried out at Housing Fair Finland 2018, where over 10 000 people visited the mock-up showroom. The feedback was positive all along the line and the pacemaker project found its home from Ruskeasuo, Helsinki. When the design process kicked off, it was obvious that VALO couldn’t settle for anything less than outstanding.

Hurme explains her lighting design philosophy: “The lighting needs to be versatile and practical. We didn’t want the light to be coming only from above, but rather from different heights and in different forms. For office use, the light needs to be indirect and for hotel use atmospheric. I think we’ve succeeded very well in this.

The Mesh technology combined with wireless and battery-free switches made the building process flow effortlessly, and the project was finished on schedule, even though the bar was set very high. According to Teemu Saari, the chosen technology was a key to success: “We didn’t want to break the walls between rooms, to reach soundproofing of a high standard. That’s why it was important to minimize the need for additional electrical wirings and have early plans that we could commit to. With this set of technology, it was made possible.”

Image: VALO

A new hotspot for the digital nomads

The innovative concept has received a warm welcome from businesses and business travellers. Even during the difficult times of 2020, the digital nomads of Finland found a new hotspot from the comfort of VALO.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from customers, and a recurring highlight is the enclosed courtyard, which breathes the rhythm of the day. On a sunny day, the natural light illuminates the yard, and in the evening the twilight lighting sets a warm and cosy Central European atmosphere.” Saari tells.

Freedom products used:

Freedom Wireless LED driver

Compact LED driver for wireless lighting control

Freedom Node
Radio-communication unit

Freedom ACD-FD
Wireless AC-driver

Wireless Trailing-Edge AC driver to wirelessly control common LED light sources, eg. floor lamps or led bulbs.

Freedom LL4-CV-FD
Wireless Constant Voltage Extension Unit

Wireless constant voltage extension unit to allow wireless control of common LED strips.

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