One of our favourite lighting and interior architects, Joanna Laajisto, who you may remember we featured here, has shared with us her latest project right in the heart of seaside Helsinki. Located in the Old Market Hall, the design of the restaurant Story by Joanna Laajisto and her team, brings together Finland’s finest restauranteurs looking to provide hospitality in a beautiful space overlooking both the harbour and Helsinki’s new Sky Wheel.
Paying homage to the history of the 120 year old market hall and its cultural heritage significance, the high-ceiling hall space has been designed by Laajisto to feel intimate and inviting using natural materials such as oak, leather and stone (our favourite material trifecta).
Originally used for loading horse carriages, the design brief to create intimacy was a challenge as the space also acts as a walk through area for market hall visitors. Taking the use of the area into consideration Laajisto has designed the cafe-restaurant to be split into three parts – all of which are separated by wide walkways.
An oak-paneled kitchen has been designed to incorporate a large wooden shelf holding chalkboards painted in custom-tinted blue, while a sizeable counter with herringbone laid, stone composite tiles takes centre stage in the room. Herb pots act to divide the dining areas with Laajisto’s custom-made Edit2 lamps have been used to light up the tables. A platform has been added to the space to invite ocean gazing over the harbour while oak seating booths lined with leather sit beneath large pendant lights by Zero. Here, Laajisto played to the aesthetic of the ‘market hall feel’ designing a light from one of the wire fish traps found at the owners summer house – adding the perfect seaside reference to scheme.
With a focus on quality and service, naturally Story’s philosophy towards the menu revolves around the creation of dishes that use ingredients sourced at the market hall and nearby market square. And of course, being Finland, fish features prominently!