Helsinki City Hall lobby

The city’s future reflected in modernist tradition

Helsinki's City Hall is an iconic landmark where Aarno Ruusuvuori's minimalist 60s architecture is intertwined with Carl Ludvig Engel's neoclassical style. The City Hall’s new renovation plans were conducted by Verstas Architects and Arkkitehdit Davidson-Tarkela. The areas subject to protection were the lobby, conference rooms, and the cloakroom area. The main aim was to transform these spaces to be welcoming and meet the needs of anyone who is interested in Helsinki and its future.

The lobby was designed to be adaptable to various functions and suitable for events, meetings, workshops and remote working. The interior design plays off Ruusuvuori’s architectural elements – furniture blocks with mirror surfaces reflect the strict lines of pillars that run throughout the entrance hall, creating a sense of invisibility while emphasizing the surrounding architectural elements. At the far end of the hall, a digital screen stretching the width of the main gathering space serves as a digital art exhibit, information display and backdrop for presentations.

Existing large-scale pieces of art by Kimmo Kaivanto and Rut Bryk were also incorporated into the updated interior design. New introductions to the lobby include a three-dimensional Helsinki logo and a water station that offers visitors the chance to fill their water bottle with the city’s famously clean tap water. Helsinki’s cheerful brand image comes to life in the new information desks scattered around the lobby. By the neoclassical entrance, a swirling bench invites visitors to enjoy, and stay awhile.