The new Finnish Design Shop in Turku, on the west coast of Finland, draws from its environment with a sustainable design incorporating the surrounding forest and wood. Located in the middle of a nature reserve, the new logistic centre, showroom, office and wild food restaurant effortlessly blends into its environment.
A façade by Avanto Architects mimics the rich hues of the forest, while interiors by local design studio Joanna Laajisto incorporate solid pine and ash into the design. Chef and foraging specialist Sami Tallberg also draws from the surrounding forest for the café and restaurant food, with ingredients such as birch sap, mushrooms and berries maintaining a focus on local and seasonal cuisine.
The online Nordic design store has sought both an authentic atmosphere for employees and a striking connection to nature for visitors in the new space. An emphasis on preserving forest biodiversity results in the Finnish Design Shop compensating for its carbon emissions by buying and preserving forest in Finland.
‘We compensate for our carbon footprint by protecting forests that are under danger to be cut in Finland,’ says Teemu Kiiski, CEO and owner of Finnish Design Shop. ‘Currently, only an alarmingly small proportion – six per cent – of Finland’s forests is permanently protected, which is why the habitats of many species are endangered. We see our company’s sustainability as an ongoing, never-ending process, in which we want not only to use the latest findings of forest and climate research but also to study ourselves in order to understand and to find the most effective ways to preserve forest biodiversity.’
It is a philosophy reflected in a design that puts transparency, equality and respect for nature at the forefront. ‘We explored a large number of existing buildings in the Turku area for our operations, but we found nothing that we could use,’ Kiiski adds. ‘As Nordic design is largely about wood and forest, it felt natural that those should be elements of the view from our windows. Forest also serves as a calming element in busy office life.’
Natural forest undergrowth and stones excavated from the site were incorporated into the area’s landscape, a theme that continues inside, in the offices and restaurant. Laajisto’s interior design encompasses both wooden furniture and colourful pieces from the Finnish Design Shop’s own collection. ‘Forest is a strong element in the Nordic lifestyle. It was also a source of inspiration for our new logistics centre and showroom,’ says Kiiski.
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Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.
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