A Japanese garden on a Finnish island – Villa Nuottaranta exudes calmness and inspiration

Villa Nuottaranta, which consists of a residential building representative of 1960s functionalism and a Japanese-style garden with numerous tea rooms, provided a unique location for vintage service Franckly’s photo shoot.

Vitra  Tip Ton chair, black
The lush Japanese-style garden extends to Nuottaranta’s light-filled interiors. The Tip Ton chair is from Vitra and the VK kettle from Iwatemo.

LOCATED ON THE SATAVA ISLAND IN TURKU, Villa Nuottaranta has clearly been influenced by many parts of the world. Small tea rooms and stone arrangements in the garden boast a minimalistic Japanese style, whereas the building towering on the hill covered with rhododendrons bears influences from both northern and southern Europe.

The functionalist building, designed by architect Aarne Ehojoki and built between 1962–1966, and the garden provided a special setting for shooting product photos for Franckly, a marketplace for vintage design.

“Nuottaranta was selected as the shooting location for many reasons. In addition to incredible architecture, the place has this mystic quality, a calming atmosphere that’s an interesting combination of Mediterranean and Asian influences,” describes Franckly’s Content Marketing and PR Specialist Elena Palomo.

Nuottaranta facade
Designed by Finnish architect Aarne Ehojoki, Villa Nuottaranta was built during 1962–66 in Satava, Turku. Mid-century Finnish modernism served as an important inspiration for the building.
Carl Hansen & Søn  MG501 Cuba chair, soaped oak - nature webbing
Villa Nuottaranta was selected as Franckly’s shooting location because of its unique architecture and atmosphere. The natural stone surfaces combine beautifully with Carl Hansen & Søn’s Cuba lounge chair and Oluce’s Atollo lamp.
Vitra Eames House Whale
Eames House Whale is a delightful scale model of the huge, two-metre wooden whale that was one of the most beloved decorative objects in the house of Charles and Ray Eames.

According to Palomo, Villa Nuottaranta provides the opportunity for spotting organic Alvar Aalto influences, Le Corbusier-style details, such as blue railings, as well as fixed furniture and storage solutions familiar from houses in Mallorca.

“At Nuottaranta, the atmosphere is serene and the light soft. There are also so many interesting nooks, details and materials in the house. By holding the photo shoot there, we were able to tell different stories as well as create different worlds and atmospheres without losing the common thread,” sums up Palomo.

Frama  Rivet side table, aluminium
Colorful details and white walls add a Mediterranean vibe to the interior. Frama’s Rivet side table and Iittala’s Marcel vase were photographed in front of a stained-glass window.
Artek  Aalto floor lamp A808, brass
The shooting location enabled a range of different stories and perspectives. The brass-detailed luminaire is the Aalto floor lamp A808 from Artek.

The charm of a Japanese forest garden

For a long time, Nuottaranta was the home of Turku-based, now-deceased art collector Jaakko Lindberg. Since Lindberg loved gardening, he designed a Japanese-style forest garden on the sloping seaside plot. For the garden, Lindberg designed nine different tea rooms for relaxing while walking around, admiring the small pools and structures made of natural stones.

Nowadays, Lindberg’s life’s work is in the caring hands of the family of Mikko and Carola Kiviluoto, who ended up owning the place in 2019. The uniqueness of the garden, however, came as a complete surprise to the new owners.

“It was only after we’d made the deal that it started to dawn on us just how vast and significant the area was underneath all that wild vegetation. The garden had been neglected for years, and nature had taken over. Time has, however, also given the garden some new depth, and the elements from different times and that certain patina go well with the overall Japanese style,” says Jenni Kiviluoto, daughter-in-law of the owners.

Nuottaranta garden
The garden paths are surrounded by abundant vegetation, including rare plants atypical to the region.
Iwatemo  VK stool, ash
Iwatemo’s VK stool and Mattiazzi’s Portobello bowl easily blend into the Japanese-style surroundings.
Nuottaranta garden
The hill is covered with pine trees and rhododendrons all the way down to the seashore.

Much still needs to be done in both the garden and the house. A restoration plan has been drawn up for the garden, and trees shading the original vegetation have already been cleared from the plot. The house, which was in rather poor condition at the time of purchase, has also been gradually renovated. Efforts have been made to save as much of the original as possible.

“The atmosphere here at Nuottaranta is really special and must not be spoiled by adding something that doesn’t belong here.”

“The garden design of the previous owner was exceptionally bold, and the garden contains many elements that we want to keep. Large sections of the garden have been paved, and a ruin garden with arches and walls has been built on the foundations of a house previously on the plot. The atmosphere here at Nuottaranta is really special and must not be spoiled by adding something that doesn’t belong here,” says Kiviluoto.

A gallery-like house made for art

Villa Nuottaranta, which is in the private use of the Kiviranta family, has not only served as a shooting location but also as an art gallery. In the spring of 2021, Nuottaranta housed a site-specific contemporary art exhibition called Avantgarden.

“The art exhibition was a success, and the place was full of visitors. Since the former owner was an art collector, there used to be a lot of art at Nuottaranta. The gallery-like building is perfect for displaying art and design,” says Kiviluoto.

Nuottaranta interior
In addition to bright white walls, warm-toned wood and red brick have been widely used in the interior.
Nuottaranta interior
Inside, you can also find Mediterranean-style fixed furniture and storage solutions.
Vitra  Cork Family side table/stool, Model E
These two small chairs – the Cork Family stool and the Elephant stool – are both from Vitra.
Made by Choice  Kolho dining chair, oak
AYTM’s Vivero watering can in brass and Made by Choice’s curved Kolho chair were photographed in Nuottaranta’s wooden staircase.

The future of the place has not been decided yet, but the idea is to continue using the facilities for activities related to art and culture, for example. The spacious seaside property with its tea rooms and old boathouses is also well-suited for parties and other gatherings.

International operators in the field of architecture have also visited the site, and according to Jenni Kiviluoto, many of them have been very impressed with what they have seen.

“Particularly the relationship between the architecture and the environment has made a great impression on the visitors. Nuottaranta is like a secret garden that has remained hidden for a long time, so interest has been great. It makes us happy that so many people have visited us and liked this place.”

See also:

Vintage design marketplace Franckly >
Villa Nuottaranta on Instagram >

Text: Nora Uotila Images: Juho Huttunen and the Kiviluoto family

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