Space for creativity – a former hair salon turned into an inspiring studio

A tangle of electrical cables and echoing space gave way to soft tones when interior designer Laura Seppänen converted a former hairdressing salon into a studio and showroom for herself.

The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
There is room to examine samples at the large table in the display area. The cupboards are wall-mounted to lighten the overall feel of the space. A Mantis BS2 lamp by DCW éditions has been installed on the wall.

INTERIOR DESIGNER LAURA SEPPÄNEN had long been seeking suitable facilities in the Punavuori district of Helsinki, when the right place finally turned up. The venue had once been a hairdresser's salon. Screws and tubes left on the floor from the hairdresser's chairs were a reminder of the premises' former purpose.

Pipes, a battery heater and enclosures for fixtures and fittings occupied the kitchen area. The electrical cabling was ancient, and new cabling could not be hidden under the skirting boards, which had been cast in place. The place echoed and the hard tiled floor was crying out to be counterbalanced by a softening element.

On the other hand, the layout of the space was perfect: a large window looking out onto the street, a kitchen to the rear, and a storage space for samples and props. A subdued interior decor was required as a background for the various shade and material samples destined for the showroom.

The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
The walls and open shelves facing the entrance have been coated with lime plaster by Decorativi. The sculpture on the floor is by Kristiina Haataja, whose agent in Finland is Laura Seppänen. Laura wants to showcase Finnish designers and family firms in particular. The armchair was designed by Aino Michelsen.
The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
The large vase is from the MUUBS collection. The Smeg fridge is a long-standing dream of Laura's. The curtains dividing the space are made of acoustic fabric by Tisca.
The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
The black DKR Wire Chair is by Vitra. The chair was designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1951.

”I am delighted with the general ambience. No matter what life brings, this will be the ideal setting for design and invention."

The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
A desktop, which can be raised, has been added to the Lundia Classic open shelf. French brand Moustache is the maker of Inga Sempé’s Vapeur table lamp.

The electrical cabling was concealed by furniture and drapes during the renovation. Three-phase, dimmable track lighting on the ceiling is critical to the ambience and functioning of the room. They make it easy to discuss lighting issues with clients. Several table and wall lamps add to the atmosphere.

The original cream-tiled floor forms the basis of the tones and materials used in the studio. Although Seppänen uses colors in her work, she prefers neutral, pale tones around her: wood, mud and sand tones, and a spectrum of greys.

She chose the 'Driftwood' shade of beige by Tikkurila for the walls. To match, she opted for dividing curtains made of heavy, acoustic fabric. The shade is reprised in the lime plastering, based on travertine, which crowns the entrance walls.

The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
The kitchen has been decorated with brass details. The tap, which will develop a beautiful patina, is by Tapwell. The Paper Porcelain tableware and the Field cutting board are from Hay.
The Helsinki Studio of Laura Seppänen
Houseplants are flourishing by the large windows. The Em rattan lounge chair is by Aino Michelsen.

The original cream-tiled floor forms the basis of the tones and materials used in the studio.

The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
Tikkurila's 'Driftwood' shade complements the 'Paper' tone used by Laura in most of the studio. Trusty white remains neutral in different light conditions, without reflecting or mirroring the other shades in the room.
The Helsinki studio of Laura Seppänen
Laura Seppänen has been delighted to see passers-by stopping to take a look and ask about the details and materials on display in the window recess of the studio.

In addition to the large tabletop commissioned as the facility's centerpiece, a Lundia shelf with desk surfaces sits at the kitchen entrance. Work done there can easily be hidden behind the adjustable desktop.

Seppänen coated the shelf surfaces across from the entrance with lime plaster, so that they seem part of the wall structure. The window recess, created when the heating panel next to the window was enclosed, has also been plaster-coated.

The recess is the designer's favourite place and an outstanding display window. Passers-by stop to peruse its changing arrangements.

See also:

• DCW éditions' Mantis BS2 wall lamp >
• Vitra's DKR Wire Chair >
• Hay's Paper Porcelain tableware >

Text: Taina Ahtela Images: Pauliina Salonen Portrait: Riikka Kantinkoski

The story was originally published in Avotakka's issue 3/2019.

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