Wednesday 18 Jun 2014

In the heart of Helsinki, the Old Market Hall reopens for a new chapter, featuring Story, the cafe-restaurant in the high-ceilinged middle section. Story boasts Helsinki's finest seating by the waterfront. The tables offer views of the Helsinki Sky Wheel, as well as the sea.

Story's interiors freshen up the Old Market Hall. The restaurant space has been designed by interior architect Joanna Laajisto and her team.

Story's interior pays homage to the original feel and history of the market hall, whilst incorporating a modern yet relaxed twist. The challenge for the designers was to bring an intimate feel to the high-ceilinged hall space, encouraging people to see it as a place to spend time, instead of a space to pass through.

The Old Market Hall, first opened in 1889, is a cultural heritage site protected by the National Board of Antiquities, with whom the refurbishment was planned. The interior decoration fits the original architecture, but brings a new, fresh flavour with a modern touch. The materials used are classic, natural ones, such as oak, leather and stone.

In the middle of Story, the oak-paneled kitchen is joined by a storage space above. The front of the structure has a large wooden shelf with chalkboards painted in custom-tinted blue color. A sizeable counter with stone composite tiles in herringbone pattern is placed in the heart of the space.

The side facing the city - with its relaxed seating arrangements - is separated by a wooden half wall with herb pots. Laajisto's custom-made Edit2 lamps light the tables next to it. On the side facing the sea, a platform invites to enjoy you to enjoy unique harbour views. Oak seating booths, lined with leather, are complemented by a black metal shelf. Edit2 lamps create an intimate atmosphere on this side. The large pendants are by Zero.

Laajisto found many custom-made solutions to the heritage questions at hand. The lighting installation called for creativity as the lamps were not allowed to be hung from the 10 m high ceiling. Laajisto also introduced a distinctive feature to Story's lighting; wire fish traps took on new life as lamps, hanging over the long tables in the middle of the space.

Story's tables are designed and handmade by Helsinki-based wood artisan Tebian.

The colourful chairs and decorations are in line with design agency Fabel's playful and colourful graphic design, contributing to a youthful and fresh space. 

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