Café Savoy brings an elegant French atmosphere to the center of Helsinki

Restaurant Savoy, a true Helsinki classic, now has a French sibling located in the same building. The interior of the new Café Savoy was designed by Studio Joanna Laajisto.

Serax Feast plate
The striped sofas are upholstered in a wool cloth by Annala. For the curved sofas, the design teem chose Dedar’s wool upholstery and leather, and the chairs have rattan backrests. Feast plates by Serax.

FOR YEARS, the street level space in Restaurant Savoy’s building on Eteläesplanadi in Helsinki was occupied by a shop. In 2022, the space was converted into a restaurant. Despite its name, Café Savoy is not a café, but a restaurant. The restaurateurs Helena Puolakka, Jyrki Sukula and Saku Tuominen wanted the new restaurant’s interior to embody the atmosphere of Southern France.

“Our starting point was the ambience of a lovely holiday villa in Southern France. That is the kind of sunny and light experience we wanted to give to the customers,” says Joanna Laajisto, who was responsible for the interior design of the restaurant with her team.

Café Savoy in Helsinki
The design team favored natural material choices, such as wood, marble, leather and wool.
Striped sofas in Café Savoy
The stripes, which contribute to the French atmosphere of the space, are repeated in the upholstery of the dining room sofas.

The inherent characteristics of the restaurant space have been highlighted with specific lighting and color solutions that make it feel soft and luxurious. Laajisto explains that sustainability was also taken into account in the design process, as the interior has also been designed to be used for the next 50 years. The restaurant’s furniture is made from solid wood, which is a durable material that will gain a beautiful patina over the years.

“We wanted to create another timeless classic like Savoy.”

All elements of the restaurant’s interior have a set purpose. “We wanted to create another timeless classic like Savoy. A timeless interior design means choosing furniture that will not look outdated in five years’ time,” Laajisto says.

• Read also: The legendary Savoy restaurant is the ultimate in style and fine dining >

Marble tables in Café Savoy
The tables and countertops are made of marble. The Aalto 46 chairs are vintage.
Joanna Laajisto designs
Joanna Laajisto also designed the table and wall lamps for the restaurant. The French company Winckelmans’ floor tiles are laid in stripes.

The design team also wanted Café Savoy’s interior to feature something old. That something was found in the original 1920s wooden doors of the building, which were returned to their rightful place from the building owner Ahlström’s warehouse. The space also includes other vintage elements, such as the leather upholstered Aalto 46 chairs.

“We only had to clean the Artek chairs. They did not even require reupholstering, as the leather already had a beautiful patina,” Laajisto says.

Café Savoy, Eteläesplanadi 14, Helsinki, Finland

See also:

All designs by Joanna Laajisto >

Text: Arja Kuittinen Images: Mikko Ryhänen

The story was previously published in Avotakka magazine 2/2023.

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