Handelens og Sjøfartens Hus was designed by architect and engineer Adolf Bredo Stabell Greve (1871–1931). Greve was particularly famous for his impressive education and commercial buildings, and examples are the Norwegian Technical College in Trondheim and Theatercafeen in Oslo. The building was completed in 1931, and is in a Nordic neo-baroque style.
Store Festsal features frescoes painted by Arne (Wallem) Lofthus (1881–1962). Lofthus was born in Bergen, but studied and spent all his adult life in Copenhagen. As an artist, Lofthus adopted the neo-impressionist tradition from the beginning of the century. He embraced the free, accentuated brush stroke and the conscious artistry. This was often expressed in a refined colour range, usually with soft and subdued colours. Due to his vast experience with frescoes and his interest in decorative painting, Lofthus was commissioned to decorate a number of large buildings in both Denmark and Norway, such as Handelens og Sjøfartens Hus, Bergen (1933), and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Oslo (1934) – to mention but a few.
Christopher Severin Knag (1855–1942) was a cabinet maker in Bergen, and established the furniture company Chr. Knag. The Knag furniture is characterised by inlays of marquetry in wood. Knag exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 – and at several later exhibitions. He became highly recognised in his field, and his furniture is on display at various museums – such as the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Bergen, Oslo, and Trondheim. Knag furniture is today considered valuable family heirlooms and very collectable.
Handelens og Sjøfartens hus and its elegant Grand Selskapslokaler is often referred to in the historical development of Bergen’s architecture, interior design, and art in the early 1900s.