- Two outdoor enthusiasts are launching a coworking retreat in Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands.
- Combine surfing, hiking and views of the spectacular Arctic Circle with a coworking and co-living environment.
- Co-founders Rolf and Stian are running a survey to gather ideas about the workspace, and Allwork.Space readers are invited to contribute.
Midnight sun, polar night, deep glassy fjords and aurora borealis. These are just some of the awe-inspiring natural spectacles you can experience at the Lofoten Islands, a Norwegian archipelago described by Lonely Planet as “simply staggering” — and for good reason.
Located within the Arctic Circle along Norway’s rugged western coast, the natural beauty of Lofoten can’t fail to inspire. So what better place to set up a coworking retreat?
According to Rolf Oftedal and Stian Morel, two friends from South Norway who came to explore Lofoten for the first time last year, “The nature here is absolutely mind-blowing. You don’t really have to spend a lot of time seeking out the beautiful landscapes, they’re just around you at all times.”
Such was Lofoten’s impact on Rolf and Stian that they are now setting up a coworking retreat on the remote island for digital nomads and project teams, called Arctic Coworking Lodge.
“When we visited last year, we immediately fell in love with the place,” says Rolf. “We saw the northern lights for the first time, we surfed some of the best waves we have ever surfed and we did a lot of hiking with awe-inspiring views.
“We decided right there and then that this is where we wanted to live and work. So we figured, let’s open a business and invite people to this wonderful place.”
The pair wasted no time putting the idea into practice. They are currently completing a one-year trade school qualification in tourism and are spending the rest of their time setting up Arctic Coworking Lodge.
The lodge will be a combined coworking and co-living space with two options for accommodation — either a private room or a sleeping ‘capsule’ in a shared room for groups travelling together, or those on a budget.
“Every room comes with a view,” added Rolf. “Actually, it’s hard to find a window without one!”
They have support from friends Nick, Joe and Pier, who run Co Work Surf — a co-living and coworking retreat operating from locations in Bali and Portugal.
“We took a lot of inspiration from our friends, and the idea for Arctic Coworking Lodge came as a result of this combination,” said Rolf. “For us it’s perfect. We get inspiration from having resourceful, creative people around and we can inspire others through showing them our Lofoten ‘playground’.
“When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Artists and other creative souls have been coming to this area for centuries to get inspired. It shouldn’t be any different now when accessibility is at an all-time high.”
As part of their research, Rolf and Stian have set up a survey to gather ideas on workspace design, productivity, and costs. So far feedback has been extremely positive and Rolf believes it is reflective of high demand for a coworking and co-living space in Lofoten.
(If you would like to share your thoughts on the Lodge, take part in the survey here. As added incentive, Rolf and Stian are running a prize draw for a free two-week stay at Arctic Coworking Lodge).
As for coworking specifics, Rolf explains that Lofoten is surprisingly well connected despite its rugged appeal: “We have top-notch fibre broadband in our lodge as well as full 4G connection.”
The islands’ tourism and fishing industries are “booming”, and outdoor activities including hiking, surfing and northern lights experiences are popular attractions for visitors.
The low-cost airline, Norwegian, offers direct flights from Oslo and the islands are home to a number of small towns.
“Still,” Rolf added, “that doesn’t mean you can’t find a remote beach or mountain all to yourself.”
As for next steps, Rolf and Stian are currently re-furnishing the house and have a planned opening date of June 1st, which is when the midnight sun is at its brightest.
“It’s an excellent time for opening. Imagine spending your whole day working on a project, and afterwards you still have sunlight for outdoor activities.”
Before the grand opening, Rolf and Stian will draw the survey winner on 20th January. Keep up to date with progress and watch the live prize draw via their Facebook page.
Get a glimpse into life on Lofoten and meet Rolf and Stian here: