Discovering Helsinki through its design

25 March 2019

Handily coinciding with my birthday, our recent trip to Helsinki turned out to be everything I’d hoped for and more.

We may have only been in this beautifully compact city for a long weekend, but in terms of inspiration, relaxation and overall enjoyment I can totally see why Finland topped the 2019 World Happiness Report for a second year running last week. 

From its super strong coffee culture, that would reenergise even the most sleep deprived parent, the wild Arctic hares chasing each other across the snow-covered parkland outside our apartment window, through to the abundance of amazing independent designers and makers, Helsinki has certainly made a huge impact on me. 

With its warm, pared-down, timeless sense of interior style I just had to share with you some of the exciting discoveries I made over those few special days. 

Teemu Järvi Illustrations 

I couldn’t resist picking up a postcard or two when I saw these amazing illustrations. Teemu Järvi is a renowned illustrator in his native Finland with his work often featured in books and magazines.  

His brushwork is amazing and captures the energy of the Nordic wilderness and its wildlife perfectly. Everything he produces is done in a traditional way, and the larger prints are also available on either birch or fabric too.

Discovering Helsinki through design

Jatta Lavi Keramiikkaa

I totally fell in love with Jatta Lavi’s minimalist porcelain vases while visiting the Designmuseo.  From her small-scale studio in Helsinki, she personally produces gorgeous understated pieces that are of the highest quality craftsmanship. 

As you know I’m a huge fan of sculptural accessories, and what I particularly loved about these delicate bud vases was the contrast of their appearance with their dramatic matt finish in either black, white or locally sourced red Finnish earthenware. 

Discovering Helsinki through design

Johanna Gullichsen

With her trademark bold and simple patterns Johanna Gullichsen’s extensive range of traditionally woven textiles are down to earth and comforting, plus they would look fab in both a modern or traditional home.

My favourite collection, the Normandie, is inspired by the era of luxury ocean liners. With the distinctive geometric used to create striking upholstery and furnishings, as well as table linen and other gorgeous home essentials. 

Discovering Helsinki through design


Another purchase that came home with us was a be&liv Spirit Animals lamp for our son’s bedroom. With a plywood Fox, Wolf or Bear design available, the collection is inspired by Finnish folklore where wild animals are portrayed with a persona and spirit of their own.  

Thankfully, like all their products, everything is flat-pack so super easy to transport or send as a gift. I was also taken by their amazing Peony ceiling lamp and the laser cut stainless steel Quartet candelabra. 

Discovering Helsinki through design

Happy Homes

Happy Homes is a book series created in Finland showcasing the most beautiful Finnish homes. There are currently three titles available, ‘Creative’, ‘Hideaways’ and ‘Christmas’ – and yes I did buy all three!

So, make some room on your bookshelves and let these pages transport you away to inspirational Nordic sitting rooms, dreamy Summer cottages or to a time of cinnamon and gingerbread. 

Image 5 by Nicola Capper, the remainder are from their respective brands. 

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