Savoy Restaurant

Story in brief

In brief

This 9-part virtual story will take us through the interiors of Savoy Restaurant in Helsinki, recently restored by London-based designer Ilse Crawford and her team at Studio Ilse. They worked in close collaboration with Finnish architect Tapani Mustonen, an expert on heritage restoration, and the furniture manufacturer Artek. Explore the carefully renovated interiors and discover how the original details and materials have been revived in line with the original design concept. You can start at the entrance lobby and follow the tour, or explore the space as you wish, zoom in and find out about the details.

In the very heart of Helsinki, Savoy is one of the emblematic interiors of modernist Scandinavian tradition, designed by Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto together with his first wife Aino Marsio-Aalto. The restaurant opened  in 1937 on the eighth floor of an office building on Eteläesplanadi 14, a wide arterial road towards the seafront and the Market Square. Inside it’s  an ambiance of simplicity, warmth and subtle acoustics: an antithesis of sleek continental modernism. High above the busy urban realm, views open from the restaurant terraces on three sides across Helsinki roof tops.

As an architect and designer Alvar Aalto had the ambition to create environments, where each detail was carefully envisioned as a total artwork. This design concept is exemplified within the Savoy interiors. One of the founders of Savoy was local doyenne and arts patron Maire Gullichsen, with whom the Aaltos had launched the furniture company Artek in 1935. Many of the furnishings designed for Savoy are still in production, such as the Golden Bell pendant light, and Artek still offers an edit of classic Aalto furniture pieces. The team from Studio Ilse studied closely their archives for recreating the right mix of soothing neutral tones and textures, sight lines and proportions.

Marianna Wahlsten

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