Iittala Amos Rex Concept Store

A celebration of Finnish design. It’s the premise of Amos Rex, a new creative hub in the centre of Helsinki, but also of a new Iittala concept store located here. After many successful collaborations, Tchai and Iittala teamed up once more to create a one-of-a-kind shop concept in the spirit of 30s modernism.

Amos Rex is a new subterranean contemporary art museum, located under Lasipalatsi (“Glass Palace”), a 1936 functionalist building. Its interior was stripped back to the bare structure and renovated to house the museum’s entrance, as well as a cinema, offices, restaurants and shops. Iittala, a brand always operating on the cutting edge of design and art, is a perfect fit here.

Fiskars Group retail designer Vesa Liuhanen drew inspiration from functionalist aesthetics and translated these to fit a contemporary retail setting. All colours, materials and shapes were inspired by the thirties, such as the cream-coloured walls, the black linoleum floors and rounded corners of the furniture. To approximate the original materials, Tchai’s project manager travelled back and forth to Finland with samples to get the look and feel just right. For example, the curly birch used for the door handles and on top of the central presentation units.

Even though there are different types of wood used (solid oak around the cash desk, dark oak for the modular shelving, curly birch), the overall effect is never dark or heavy. Small tricks, such as a reflective stainless steel plinth or a ‘floating’ surface area, create a light, ‘airy’ effect.

The light flooding through the large shop windows is perfect for showcasing some of Iittala’s most iconic classic designs and contemporary hand-blown glass objects. Behind a curtain, a feature often found in 30s shop interiors, the brand created a mini exhibition featuring legendary designs from its long history.

Are you planning to visit Helsinki soon then be sure to check out this creative hub. Find more information at Insights.