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City break in Helsinki, at the crossroads of the arts


A new design hotel has just opened its doors in the legendary station of the Finnish capital, the starting point for an arty stroll in the heart of the city and its surroundings.

Flanked by four stern-looking pink granite colossi, incarnation of the famous


(Finnish inner strength), Helsinki Central Station imposes it.

Designed by Eliel Saarinen, this Art Nouveau masterpiece has housed the Scandic Grand Central since last spring.

Located in the old administrative buildings of the station, the hotel designed by the Futudesign agency elegantly inhabits the gigantic volumes of the original building located a few blocks from the new Amos Rex, a Finnish “palace of Tokyo” opened in 2018.

Built at the back of a modernist pavilion housing a famous cinema, this museum occupies a former car park whose spaces are lit by oculus forming concrete domes on the surface.

While the children glide over these funny mounds, the rooms in the basement have been plunged into a semi-darkness designed to accommodate the latest videos of Bill Viola.

Dialogue between art, design, architecture

Amos Rex cinema, Finnish “Palais de Tokyo” opened in 2018. Amos Rex / Photo press

While waiting for the reopening next spring of Kiasma, Steven Holl's futuristic vessel, towards Emma, ​​the Museum of Modern Art in Espoo, a quarter of an hour by metro from the center of Helsinki. For fifteen years, this magnificent functionalist glass and concrete building has housed a museum center where contemporary art, design and architecture interact. We notably discover Alicja Kwade, a visual artist from Berlin whose poetic and enigmatic sculptures, exhibited last month during the first contemporary art biennial in Helsinki on the island of Vallisaari, are now visible in the new port district. Emma also pays tribute to two monuments of design, Tapio Wirkkala and his wife Rut Bryk, whose iconic creations are regularly reissued by the glassworks Iittala and Artek,founded by Alvar Aalto in the 1930s. You can't visit the Finnish metropolis without taking a tour of the genius designer's home and workshop. The distribution of spaces open to nature, the ingenious use of lighting and the warmth of the blond wood furniture make it an unrivaled model of functionalist and organic architecture.

An hour by train from Helsinki Central Station, the village of Fiskars, famous for its orange-handled scissors, has become a haunt of artists and craftsmen since the factory left in the years. 1990. Placed on the edge of a bucolic river, the former metallurgy workshops are now occupied by publishers like Nikari, renowned for its environmentally friendly furniture, but also by ceramists like Karin Widnäs, who founded Kwum in 2019 , the Museum of Finnish Ceramics, the entrance to which is worth a detour in itself.

But it is perhaps Erna Aaltonen's finely crafted spheres, in subtle colors inspired by nature, that best sum up Finnish design, above all a state of mind.

Read alsoThree gourmet reasons to go to Helsinki


Helsinki Central Station has housed the Scandic Grand Central hotel since last spring.

Scandic Grand Central / Photo press


Finnair operates 9 Paris-Helsinki flights per week, from € 88 return.

More connections from November.


Scandic Grand Central Helsinki offers rooms from € 110 per night, including breakfast.


Dine at Savoy, the iconic restaurant decorated by Alvar Aalto, recently renovated by Briton Ilse Crawford, from € 70.

We also recommend the succulent Nolla, a “zero waste” pioneer, around € 25 a dish.


“Bill Viola: Inner Journey”

, until February 27, 2022 at the Amos Rex Museum.

Check with the Helsinki tourist office and the village of Fiskars to find out about exhibitions, museums and artists to discover.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-22

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