8 Design Shops You Can't Miss in Helsinki
So much to do, so much to see -- and yet so little time. Daniel Kong rounds up the best spots to spend your euros in this comprehensive list. Be it fashion, furniture, beauty, spirits, or homeware you're on the hunt for, look no further--we've got you covered.
Finland takes its fur seriously. One of its smaller niche labels is Onar, founded by Greek-Finnish designer Irene Kostas. The womenswear brand uses ethical and sustainable fur—material sourced from second-hand fur coats, which is recut and redyed, and from hunters who cull small animals exclusively for game-management purposes.
Timeless menswear and womenswear, its appeal comes from the simplicity of its design and the high quality of the fabric and construction. All materials are sourced from Europe and Japan. The store is opposite Esplanadi.
The place to go for a casual take on smart menswear classics. Try the deftly tailored blazers and pants, all of which are handmade in northern Europe. Frenn also offers made-to-measure services under the watchful eye of tailor co-founder Antti Laitinen.
Given the combination of the Finnish aesthetic and the country’s timber industry, Finland has always been at the forefront of furniture design. At Artek’s impressive two-storey flagship store in the middle of Helsinki, products designed in the early 1900s feel right at home with their modern counterparts.
Herbal and sweet, the distillery’s small-batch Napue Gin won first place in the gin & tonic category at last year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition—not bad for an operation that set up in a former dairy in 2014. Kyrö also makes a cask-matured gin called Koskue that’s perfect to be enjoyed neat or in an Old Fashioned.
An organic farm in central Finland is the origin of Frantsila Organics’ potent range of creams, salves, herbal tinctures, essential oils, lotions and natural cosmetics. The family business has been producing its skincare potions for more than 300 years.
Formerly a glass factory, Iitala transforms essential everyday objects into functional art. Its offerings run the gamut of objets d’art, glasswear, cutlery, plates, cookware, furniture, lamps and vases. If you only buy one item, let it be something from the origami-inspired collaboration with Issey Miyake.
Known for its vibrant colours and prints, Marimekko is a national icon, with every Finnish household owning at least one item from the ubiquitous brand. There’s so much to choose from: porcelain, linen, cushions, womenswear, bags, bedroom furnishings, bathroom accoutrements...
This article was published in the November 2016 edition of Hong Kong Tatler.