THE EXPERT / ARCHITECTURE

”They are building like crazy in Finland and what is popping up looks amazing”

NIKLAS LARSÉN
On the best of Finnish architecture from an outside perspective
November 26, 2021

Larsén is CEO, former creative director, at architecture firm MER Arkitekter. Focusing on interior and office design, the company also works with private homes and retail, such as EoE Eyewear’s spectacular first space.

— Right now, he tells, we are working a lot towards Finland, and I have fallen in love with the place. Great food and inspiring architecture. If I would mix Sankt Petersburg with Madrid, and add a modern hint of Japan — you’ve got Helsinki.

— They are also building like crazy in Finland and what is popping up looks amazing — just look at this. It feels just right when it comes to the use of both materials and geometry. The arches on the ground floor feel very inviting. I’m usually not a great fan of brick façades but this one is beautiful — and many other buildings in Helsinki too, for that matter.

Yes, what other architectural highlights would you like to point out?

— First of all — the mix of time typical architecture. We walked, for example, on Korkeavuorenkatu (Högbergsgatan) where there is a fantastic national romantic building, next to a modernist building, next to an Art Nouveau building. So nice to see such great architecture from different time periods next to each other.

Kesko headquarters. Interesting building and interior. They take care of their employees with a great fitness centre, restaurant, open kitchen, and arts. All packed in a calm color scheme and great materials.

Kesko headquarters by JKMM Architects. Photography: Hannu Rytky

Academy of Fine Arts. It’s still being built, but super inspiring to see through the huge windows how different sculptures were being built and assembled. It also has a very nice corner entrance, an interesting rooftop, and works beautifully with the brick façade.

— When we did some research before the trip — this hairdresser popped up. Great interior by Studio Joanna Laajisto who has many interesting projects in their portfolio. The use of color and material has a modern Swedish vibe to it. We passed the salon by accident and it was even better in real life.

What else do you have coming?

— A project we’re doing in Helsinki with (investment and advisory firm) Altaal is really exciting. Otherwise, we are working a lot with large streaming companies and how their offices will work and look after the pandemic. A big focus for us, except for office design, is digital architecture. For example, we recently created a VR showroom for BOLON and more projects like this are coming soon, Larsén concludes.

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