Artek’s new flagship store opens in Keskuskatu

By Helsinki Design Weekly     17. March 2016

© Roosa Murto

Artek opens a new store on Saturday in the heart of Helsinki.

Artek's new store is full of light. The windows are high and two floors offer a design experience of 700 square metres. The flagship store opens the doors on Saturday in Keskuskatu 1 B, Helsinki.

"A new store in the middle of Helsinki is a strong commitment to Helsinki. We don't move often, in 80 years only for four times, so this is very special for us", Artek's managing director Marianne Goebl says.

Since 1936, Artek has had three stores: in Fabianinkatu, Keskuskatu ja Eteläesplanadi.

Moving away from the former location after 25 years attracted strong emotions and some people were worried if the store will move outside of the city center. Luckily not. The new retail space is located in a building designed by Eliel Saarinen and completed in 1921, situated on Helsinki’s main pedestrian street Keskuskatu just opposite the Stockmann department store.

Country manager Anja Matilainen commits that the change was a shock at first.

"But then we felt relieved and understood that it is a good chance to create something new", she says.

Matilainen hopes that the store will become a living room for the citizens of Helsinki, a place where they can spend time and, for example, meet their friends. The upper floor serves tea and offers an enlarged book and magazine selection.

© Roosa Murto

A plant corner and pieces from the past

The new store offers a plant corner and carries a large range of home textiles, including fabrics, carpets – both historic and contemporary – and curtains. Artek’s platform for making historic Artek products available again is given a permanent presence. 

Extended space is dedicated to temporary sales exhibitions and cultural events. Design, craft, art and architecture exhibitions are hosted in collaboration with guest curators on a regular basis. 

Highlights include product launches straight from the trade fairs, Artek Helsinki specials, which are only available at the store, as well as a workshop, where Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 can be customised on site by clients.

The design of the store was created by Koncept and Artek's own visual team.

"The store looks like familiar Artek with a modern twist", Matilainen says.

However, history has not been completely obliterated. The building got the same light signs than the previous location.

"When we left here one evening and the lights shone in the twilight, we almost started to cry. The signs suit this building even better."

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