14 Days of Food and Design from Helsinki
16 September – 3 October 2010
Londonewcastle Depot, 1-3 Wenlock Road, London N1
A temporary restaurant created by Finnish designers and serving Finnish food is now open until 3 October in London, coinciding with the London Design Festival. I am seriously in love with this new pop up trend that we are starting to see well… ahem.. pop up…. Call it the recessionary times that we live in, where we need to start thinking outside the box in order to hone and develop our entrepreneurial skills… Call it the quickening pace of modern life that we are just going to see get faster and faster, where new businesses have a designated shelf life of a few weeks or days perhaps. What is clear is this; the pop up trend is here to stay. I for one, am absolutely thrilled… as a designer, I am expecting this trend to breathe new life into, firstly the design of restaurants and shops and other such leisure activities and secondly, to change forever the way that we use these spaces. Exciting times!!!
The Finnish Institute in London published the following about HEL YES!
“…a temporary restaurant and exhibition imagined and realised by a creative team of Finnish designers and food visionaries; lead by Antto Melasniemi together with London-based designers Mia Wallenius and Klaus Haapaniemi. Unveiled in mid-September during London Design Festival 2010, HEL YES! will serve as a melting pot of people and ideas for 14 days.
HEL YES! will showcase the best in Finnish food and design. Partnering with Finland’s world class design houses Iittala and Artek for exclusive customised furniture, lighting and tableware, modern and future classics will build bridges between the past and the present in HEL YES!
A number of items will be exclusively made for the opening of HEL YES! The lighting design, furniture and staff uniforms are designed by the most sought after talent in contemporary Finnish design; Fashion EAST designer Heikki Salonen, interior/furniture designer Linda Bergroth, sculptor/video artist Maria Duncker and furniture and product designer Harri Koskinen.
Entering the HEL YES! space, guests will find themselves in a campsite-like formation in the shape of a circle. Canopy style open tents on the edges of the main area will be created with cashmere shawls and linen textiles from the new ‘Klaus Haapaniemi’ luxury textile collection, launching at HEL YES! Inside the open, candlelit tents, the diners can sit on camp beds.
The middle of the space will boast unique tables designed by Linda Bergroth especially for HEL YES!, seating 60-80 diners. Created from young, aspen trees thinned out from a forest near Helsinki, the tree’s slim trunks otherwise destined to become wood chips have been given another life as poetic, hut like structures under which guests can camp and enjoy a delicious dinner.
Sitting down to dine, guests will discover that their chairs are by Alvar Aalto. Originally designed in 1932 for the Paimio Sanatorium in Finland, the renowned Artek ‘403’ chairs will appear in HEL YES! in three exclusive new colours. Diners and visitors to HEL YES! will also be privy to a unique bird’s eye view to the campsite from the loft where the restaurants activities can be observed. Long common tables by Nikari on the loft will welcome up to 40 customers without table reservations to be seated and to interact with friends and new acquaintances. Additional lighting is also created for the space by Saas Instruments.
In the HEL YES! kitchen the ideology of foraging continues. Tastes from the Nordic forests are brought to the plate by top chefs in straightforward and simple style. Though some key Finnish ingredients such as fish roe, game and preserved plants will come from Finland, most of the daily ingredients will be sourced by the HEL YES! team of hunters and gatherers from around London.
The open kitchen and counter themed ‘Catch of the Day’ will be situated on the edge of the campsite, allowing for an interactive dining experience between diners and the chef. Guests’ eyes will instantly be averted to a long kitchen counter consisting of myriad wooden and plastic baskets containing the Finnish raw, foraged ingredients, giving a glimpse of the dishes served that day.
The special Iittala tableware in HEL YES! is also a result of foraging. In an event organised in Helsinki earlier this year, participants were asked to trade in their beloved Iittala or Arabia plates and the story of their tablewear for a complimentary dinner. Together, all the different mix and match plates and crockery represent a collection of memories for those dining at HEL YES! Each table will also boast a set of Iittala’s Art Works 2009 collection of unique, limited edition glassware designed by Harri Koskinen…”