Joanna Laajisto References 1940s Kiosks For Michel Restaurant In Helsinki

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Green-painted panelling, shiny white tiles and marble slabs line the walls of this Helsinki restaurant by Finnish architect Joanna Laajisto .

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

Aiming to produce a informal and cozy interior, Laajisto referenced kiosks that had been built in the Finnish capital in the 1940s and 50s with her choice of resources for Michel.

The kiosks had been based on a style with an extended canopy by city architect Gunnar Taucher, and frequently feature wooden interiors and slatted panelling. This is most obviously reflected in the wooden lining used on the walls of the restaurant’s dining location.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

Positioned in the city’s shopping district, the area occupied by Michel was previously a properly-known standard restaurant furnished with dark wooden tables and featuring huge red columns.

These were swapped for a lighter colour palette including pistachio green, white and all-natural wood, utilizing components intended to appear “light and fresh”.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

“I needed to develop an intimate atmosphere that suits breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails,” Laajisto informed Dezeen.

“It was essential that we wouldn’t drive the previous loyal customers of König away, but for the place to be timeless and fresh at the very same time.”

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

The dining location occupies the ground floor, and some additional spaces are found in the basement.


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White tiles now clad the old columns, corresponding with the rest of the walls inside of the major restaurant region.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

Dining chairs by Valencia-based furniture brand Andreu Globe are crafted from beech wood and upholstered in cognac leather.

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The majority of the tables sit all around the edge of the dining space. These were custom created with ash wood and characteristic green marble insets.

There are also two of the iconic circular marble tables designed by Eero Saarinen inside the centre of the space.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

A cocktail bar clad in marble slabs with a stainless steel surface is located in the centre of the restaurant, with rows of stools are lined up along its outer edges.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

For lighting, brass sconces by French producer Atelier Areti are mounted on the tiled walls of the restaurant and downstairs bathrooms. The rest of the decorative light fixtures are by Swedish manufacturer Rubn and Danish brand &amptradition.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

Two of the largest modifications to the present room incorporated the relocation of the kitchen and conversion of the basement location – described by Laajisto as “dark and miserable” – into bathrooms.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

Corresponding with the ground-floor cocktail bar, the walls of the bathrooms are mainly covered in marble. A massive trough-like sink by the studio sits beneath wall-mounted taps.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

“I wished to deliver something luxurious there,” explained Laajisto. “The place feels more like a powder space than a restroom with freestanding sinks, leather benches and dimmed brass sconces.”

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

Photography is by Mikko Ryhänen.

Michel Restaurant Joanna Laajisto Creative StudioProgram Dezeen

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