Architecture on a human scale – join us on a tour of Finnish Design Shop’s facilities in Turku

Finnish Design Shop’s new logistics center was designed to blend in with the surrounding forest and meet the strict requirements of the environmental certification BREEAM. In an interview with Design Stories, interior architect Joanna Laajisto describes how the large warehouse was made cozy and inviting.

Artek Aalto armchair 400
Alvar Aalto's Tank armchairs with a yellow-stripe upholstery welcome visitors to the office premises.

IN THE FALL OF 2021, Finnish Design Shop’s warehouse and Turku office moved to a new logistics center built in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The facility also houses Finnish Design Shop’s showroom and restaurant.

The facade of the logistics center was designed by Avanto Arkkitehdit and the interior by Studio Joanna Laajisto. The design studio, which specializes in the interiors of public spaces, got involved in the project right at the beginning.

“Finnish Design Shop’s CEO Teemu Kiiski contacted me about the project when the design for the logistics center was just a big, empty box. Together, we set out to outline a floor plan for the spaces, such as the high showroom, restaurant and upper floor. My studio was in charge of creating the scale for the facilities, which was one of the most important tasks in the project. This way, we were able to create a large warehouse containing spaces that are not only cozy and interesting but also architecturally impressive,” describes interior architect Joanna Laajisto.

Joanna Laajisto
Interior architect Joanna Laajisto founded her own design studio in 2010.
Finnish Design Shop facilities in Turku
The wooden elements bring warmth, human dimensions and improved acoustics to the large office.
  Nikari Akademia chair, oak
The solid ash tables by Studio Joanna Laajisto complement the interior design of the meeting rooms. Hidden inside the bulky legs are electrical connections for the tabletops. The Akademia chairs are from Nikari.
Mattiazzi MC7 Radice bar stool 65 cm, red
Mattiazzi’s Radice bar stools add a pop of color to the kitchen area of the office.

Materials from the forest

Even though the location of the new logistics center is optimal, right next to the Turku Ring Road, the windows overlook a forest. The surrounding landscape also affected the material choices for the interior.

“With the selected materials, we wanted to create a link between the Pomponrahka nature reserve next to the building as well as Finnish Design Shop’s ethical and environmental values. For the interior, we chose a lot of natural materials, such as pine and ash with a non-toxic finish. The rugs are made of recycled fibers and the acoustic elements of wool,” says Laajisto.

For the interior walls and ceilings, a warm, light tone was selected to provide the spacious facility with a softer framework. Black electrical and door fittings sharpen the overall look.

Finnish Design Shop facilities in Turku
Meetings rooms and quiet telephone rooms have been placed along the long corridor, which also boasts a view to the warehouse.
GUBI Beetle chair
This meeting room features chairs from GUBI’s Beetle series as well as Artek’s table 90A.
 Vitra Plywood Group LCW lounge chair
Vitra’s characterful chairs are from the Plywood Group LCW range by Charles and Ray Eames, and the Arbour sofa is from HAY.
Woodnotes Mini My Outdoor lounge chair, natural white
Woodnotes’ My beanbag chairs invite to relax. The Hourglass pot is from ferm LIVING, and the Japanese-style Hashira lamp from MENU.
Finnish Design Shop facilities in Turku
The interior’s simple aesthetics and precise details continue to the sanitary facilities.

According to Laajisto, thanks to the narrow, gallery-like color palette, the loose furniture in the facilities receives particular attention. The loose furniture in the restaurant downstairs has been selected from the collections of Finnish Design Shop’s suppliers, such as Artek and Muuto, whereas the restaurant’s wooden tables and sofa circling the space by the wall are designed by Studio Joanna Laajisto.

Thanks to the narrow, gallery-like color palette, the loose furniture in the facilities receives particular attention.

The office spaces upstairs also host specially designed pieces of fixed furniture, such as functional storage furniture, and sturdy, colorful ash tables in the conference rooms. Furniture has also been embedded in wall structures and used to divide spaces.

All of the fixed furniture in the premises was made by Puusepänliike Wooden specializing in interior carpentry. This project also made Wooden permanently change its practices: “The high environmental objectives set for the project made Wooden switch to water-soluble surface treatment for all future projects, as well,” says Laajisto.

Artek Atelier chair, dark red
The restaurant is furnished with custom-made tables, Artek’s Atelier chairs and Muuto’s Strand lamps.
Restaurant Finnish Design Shop
The Restaurant Finnish Design Shop serves during lunch hours.
Artek Aalto pendant lamp A333, white
Studio Joanna Laajisto also designed the sofas for the restaurant. The A333 lamps are by Alvar Aalto.

Solar power and geothermal energy

In accordance with Finnish Design Shop’s sustainability program, sustainability was one of the most important factors when designing the new logistics center. Efforts were made to reconcile technology, architecture and design to achieve a result that is as harmonious and eco-friendly as possible.

The logistics center was designed to meet the Excellent-level standards of the BREEAM environmental certification system. In practice, this means, for example, building-specific geothermal wells and 560 solar panels on the roof, as well as using low-emission construction materials and insulation that is as energy-efficient as possible.

According to Laajisto, one of the special features of the project was the client’s strong confidence in the interior architects’ vision when it came to the overall design of the facilities. The interior architects oversaw the design and harmonization of the interior spaces for the part of the layout, building service technology and acoustics.

“In all the solutions, we prioritized high quality and the feel of the material. The interior gets its look from the carefully selected details of the building’s basic elements, such as doors, ceilings, tiling and water fixtures. At the construction stage, our detailed designs made the builders give some feedback, but in the end, all the details were implemented according to our designs.”

Finnish Design Shop showroom
Finnish Design Shop’s showroom houses exhibitions that change according to the season. Photo: Suvi Kesäläinen
Carl Hansen & Søn MG501 Cuba lounge chair, oiled oak - natural cord
The Cuba lounge chair is from Carl Hansen & Søn, Cork stools from Vitra, and the side table 915 and day bed 710 from Artek. Photo: Suvi Kesäläinen
  Valerie Objects Hanging Lamp n1, green
Valerie Objects’s Hanging Lamp n1 in a vibrant green hue decorates the showroom wall.

For Finnish Design Shop’s staff, the new facilities provided an even more functional and comfortable working environment where special, professional attention has been paid to indoor air quality, lighting and acoustics, among others.

“Much effort was put into creating pleasant acoustics in the entire facility – particularly in the showroom and restaurant. The ceilings and almost all wall surfaces are made of sound-absorbing materials. This way, the facilities are comfortable to use even though there are large glass surfaces and plenty of space,” concludes Laajisto.

Finnish Design Shop logistics center facade
Avanto Arkkitehdit designed the facade for the logistics center. Photo: Anders Portman

9 facts: Finnish Design Shop’s logistics center

  • In Finland, the Excellent rating of the environmental certification system BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) has previously only been awarded to two logistics buildings.
  • There are 24 geothermal wells on the plot and 560 solar panels on the roof.
  • The building’s air leakage rate is 0,53, which is one of the best. The building’s energy efficiency was improved with efficient ventilation solutions, increased insulation and smart LED lighting.
  • The amount of daylight was increased with windows that are taller than usual.
  • The water fixtures have low flow rates (max. 5 liters/minute), and the kitchen’s water consumption is submetered. The building is equipped with a water leak detector.
  • The target level for the air quality in the office spaces was set according to category S1.
  • An acoustician helped make the acoustics and sound insulation meet the requirements.
  • The yard area was provided with as much natural vegetation as possible, and its biodiversity is maintained with a separate vegetation management plan.
  • The construction began in the fall of 2020 and was completed in August 2021. The main designer in the project was Arkkitehtiruutu Oy.

See also:

• Avanto Architects designed a facade inspired by local nature for the Finnish Design Shop logistics center >
• Finnish Design Shop’s new, stunning showroom is open: “We serve anyone interested in high-quality design” >

Text: Nora Uotila Images: Mikko Ryhänen

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