9 stores to visit for Finnish design icons & future classics

3 minute read

Credits: Artek

These eight stores showcase the very best of Finnish design

In Helsinki, there are three iconic Finnish design stores that anyone who calls themself a design lover must visit: Artek, Iittala, and Marimekko. But Helsinki is also the perfect place to discover future design classics, and there are plenty of shops where you can spot them.

These are the eight Finnish design stores worth a visit in Helsinki:

Artek – designs by the legendary architect Alvar Aalto

Credits: Artek

Founded in 1935 by Alvar and Aino Aalto, Finland’s most famous architect couple, together with Maire Gullichsen and Nils Gustav-Hahl, Artek is the pre-eminent interior design house of Finland. The two-storey store provides stylish interior design ideas that combine classics with novel pieces. Today, Artek continues to produce and sell many of Aalto’s classic, world-renowned designs – like the Stool 60 design with its distinctive L-shaped legs. Consuming mindfully has always been at the heart of Artek, so alongside creating new pieces, Artek hunts down old items and brings them back to life. Their vintage collection is available at Artek 2nd Cycle, a short walk from the Artek flagship store.

Artek: Keskuskatu 1, Helsinki

Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 is one of the most iconic pieces of Finnish design and can be used as a seat, table, storage unit, or display surface.
Credits: Mikko Ryhänen

Iittala – colour genius of glassware

Glassware company Iittala has a collection of timeless and essential objects for the home, comprised of early designs by luminaries Alvar and Aino Aalto and Kaj Frank, and modern pieces from some of the most talented Finnish and international designers working today. Iittala’s global flagship store is located on Esplanadi, at one of Helsinki’s most prestigious addresses. The store showcases beautifully Iittala’s glass art objects as well as the whole product line. Iittala gets its name from the small village where the original glass factory was established in 1881. With over a thousand secret colour recipes, Iittala’s mastery of pigment is completely unique.

Iittala: Pohjoisesplanadi 23, Helsinki

Credits: Elina Sirparanta

Marimekko – fashion & design with outstanding prints

Marimekko is best experienced through stepping inside the colourful world of Marimekko on Esplanadi. The Finnish design company founded in 1951 has always been an emblem for people who walk their own path with confidence and style. Renowned for its original prints and colours, Marimekko offers high-quality clothing, bags and accessories, as well as home décor items such as textiles and tableware. The iconic Unikko flower, a vivacious and bold poppy pattern, remains adored and can be found printed across many items in-store. The shop assistants are famously welcoming and helpful.

Kämp Galleria, Pohjoisesplanadi 33, Helsinki

The Unikko flower pattern was created in 1964 by artist Maija Isola. The pattern has experienced a resurgence in recent years and can be seen in home decor, on fashion-forward influencers, and even in tattoos!
Credits : Jussi Hellstén
Along with Iittala, Marimekko’s cups, plates and mugs adorn many Finnish homes. If you’re a fan of Marimekko’s bold patterns, their kitchenware and tableware items are easy and elegant souvenirs to take home and enjoy!
Credits: Marimekko
The Mariskooli bowl has been in joint production by Marimekko and Iittala since the 1960s. This iconic bowl showcases playful details like finely scalloped edges and dimples.

Lokal Helsinki – sustainable and functional Finnish design

Lokal carries a range of handpicked homeware items that bring beauty, functionality and sustainability to the everyday. Themed group exhibitions that present works by Finland’s leading designers and artists are held in the store’s gallery, perfect for those hoping to blend a shopping trip with culture.

Lokal, Annankatu 9

Credits: Katja Hagelstam

FRENN – clothing with relaxed sophistication

FRENN has become the favourite brand for men who appreciate casual formality with comfort. Launched in 2013 by Jarkko Laitinen and Antti Kallio, FRENN’s mission has been to build the most sustainable clothing company in the Nordics. Because of their excellent quality, these clothes can be used for years, if not decades. With FRENN you don’t have to think about what to wear to which occasion, work or play. Located on Fredrikinkatu, one of Helsinki’s most interesting shopping streets, you are to find a bunch of other exciting places to visit.

FRENN, Fredrikinkatu 24

Credits : FRENN
Credits: Janne Westerlund

Klaus Haapaniemi & Co. – magical & ethical luxury

Klaus Haapaniemi & Co. is located in Kämp Garden that showcases high-quality style and modern design in a glamorous setting, under a beautiful glass ceiling. The artisanal design and lifestyle brand, Klaus Haapaniemi & Co., is famous for its designs that bring mystical nature and Finnish folklore to mind. The luxurious home collection includes hand-printed textiles, cushions and rugs, among other items. In addition, the accessories collection carries beautiful silk scarves, dresses and kimonos that can captivate any crowd.

Kämp Galleria, Pohjoisesplanadi 33, Helsinki

Credits : Julia Kivelä
Credits: Klaus Haapaniemi & co

Nomen Nescio – minimalistic everyday clothing

Nomen Nescio is a Helsinki-based design studio run by Niina and Timo Leskelä. Their signature designs are black, minimalistic and gender-neutral, made for everyday wear. The studio rejects fast-changing trends in favour of seasonless slow-fashion, creating a collection that can stay in your wardrobe for years to come. These modern classics have become popular with Helsinki’s trendsetters. Nomen Nescio’s flagship store on Mikonkatu is a peaceful stage for Nomen Nescio way of living, art, and design.

Nomen Nescio, Mikonkatu 1, Helsinki

Credits : Nomen Nesco Helsinki
Credits: Nomen Nesco Helsinki

Terhi Pölkki – cool yet comfortable shoes do exist

Terhi Pölkki is a Finnish shoe designer who is known for minimalist luxury with a tough edge. Her store on Uudenmaankatu is a cosy spot with an amicable staff. Longevity is at the core of Pölkki’s designs, which strike that magical balance between beauty and comfortable. Pölkki’s shoes take your outfit from the office to the bar and beyond – ask Carrie Bradshaw, Pölkki’s first international fan who wore a pair on Sex and the City.

Terhi Pölkki Store, Uudenmaankatu 2, Helsinki

Hálo – design inspired by Arctic Lapland

Hálo emerged as a creative endeavour founded by two fashion experts, Marta Valtovirta and Jukka Puljujärvi, in 2017. The majestic Lapland wilderness and the captivating phenomena of the ever-changing Arctic light acted as their inspiration, propelling the birth of the brand. Hálo was conceived out of a longing for impeccably crafted, enduring, and truly distinctive attire.

Each product serves as a canvas to unveil the splendour of the Nordic region. The collections offer timeless treasures, life-long investment pieces, and exclusive collaborations.

Credits : Hálo
Credits: Hálo

Design District Helsinki

Would you like to know more about design in Helsinki? Visit Designdistrict.fi to read about design companies and shops in downtown Helsinki, locate them on a map, and get the best recommendations from locals.

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