The elevator travels in a black-wire shaft.
Last year, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Helsinki, courtesy of KONE, to tour their newly remodeled underground high-rise elevator test laboratory and shaft, the deepest in the world. While that was clearly a highlight of the trip, the magic of Helsinki was on full display at every turn, including at the hotel where KONE put up its journalist guests. Located in a historic building steps away from Helsinki’s South Harbor, it is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and has hosted the likes of the Dalai Lama and Kylie Minogue. It is a beautiful place with an interior that reminds one of a fairytale castle. Attention is paid to every detail, including its elevator, an impressive installation by Schindler that features a stainless steel and rich wood cab that travels in a black-cage shaft in the center of a white marble staircase. I should have videotaped its smooth, elegant operation, but these pictures will have to do!
The Schindler elevator in Hotel Haven has a stylish stainless-steel and wood cab.
Detail of a ceiling in Hotel Haven
David Filippe, head operator of the manual elevator at the historic Oregon Bank Building, opens the lift’s collapsible gate earlier this month; Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small, the Herald and News.
Technology, like time itself, marches on, and this truth is no more evident than it is in the vertical-transportation industry. Over the course of recent years we’ve seen improvements that have allowed super-high-speed elevators, destination control and (soon) cars that can move without ropes, allowing them to travel in non-traditional directions. And, who’d have thought just a few years ago that it would be possible to summon an elevator with the phone in your pocket? Yet, for all the conveniences of the modern world, we can still celebrate the old know-how that enabled greater building heights back in the day. One place you can appreciate vintage elevator technology firsthand is the historic Oregon Bank Building in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Here, visitors can be taken for rides up and down the six-story office building, courtesy of a manual lift complete with uniformed operator. A recent feature article by the Herald and News notes that the elevator is nearly 87 years old but continues to operate flawlessly. The lift has, of course, undergone upgrades to meet current safety standards, but head operator David Filippe told the Herald and News that the building’s owners have done their best to retain its authenticity. Parts that had to be removed have even been put on display in a glass case in the building’s main lobby. Seems like a fitting tribute to the tech that helped get us where we are today.