Cool design in Helsinki

May 29, 2015

Gunnar Finne Fact and Fable statueAnother of the highlights of our Baltic cruise last week was Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. The first time we visited Helsinki a few years ago it was scorching hot, which was a bit unexpected (we actually got sunburned). This time it was raining and grey, but while Helsinki isn’t as immediately chocolate-box pretty perhaps as Stockholm or Copenhagen, take a walk down the main street, the Aleksanterinkatu, and there are all these amazing art nouveau buildings and the Esplanadi park…

The Presidential Palace Helsinki




…plus, right by Helsinki harbour, the Presidential Palace. Last time we were there it was covered in scaffolding, so it was great to see it looking all smart, and what a gorgeous shade of yellow.

cafe chairs Helsinki













These chairs were standing optimistically outside a cafe close by, aren’t the colours fab? That’s the thing about Helsinki, you find cool design everywhere you look – well, it is the home of fabric design genius Marimekko, after all.

blue table and chair










I really liked the blue of this chair and table, too.

plastic Finnish art









We spotted these coloured plastic things just sitting on a table in Senate Square, and bizarrely no one was picking them up, not even the kids. I still have absolutely no idea what they were, but so cool.

Finnish cherries








Despite the rain the harbour market was fairly busy – these cherries looked absolutely delicious.







And of course we stopped for a coffee and bun at Kappeli in the Esplanadi, which is a bit of a Helsinki institution…











…it’s crazy pricey, but it does have superb views, and a rather stunning chandelier…











…my bun – or korvapuusti, which means ‘slapped ears’ (!) – was incredible, sweet and cinnamon-y.

white tulips Helsinki










And how perfect are these white tulips in the Esplanadi? So simple and elegant.

Havis Amanda Fountain sealion










We also stopped by the Havis Amanda Fountain, with its giant sealions.

The Moomins jug









When the rain got really heavy we dived into iittala for a quick browse – and found some wonderful china inspired by The Moomins. We really love the books, created by Tove Jansson, and I adored this jug, but there’s no way I could have got it home, sadly.

And then when we were walking back up the Esplanadi, we found lots of florists busy arranging displays along the lamp posts for a competition…

Flowers Helsinki















…I loved this one, because of the glorious blue of the delphiniums….

Finnish flowers






…and this one.

coloured glasses at iittala






















That’s the brilliant thing about Helsinki – there’s always something to look at and see. Definitely worth exploring, even in the pouring rain.


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