Helsinki is known for its design shops, in fact it has a whole district dedicated to them. When I visited I spent hours looking around the carefully curated boutiques, and was pleased to discover that you can spend your hard earned cash on much more than pretty design products and gadgets. Here is a shortlist of my favourite shops in Finland’s fabulous capital.
Iittala glassworks was founded in 1881, a Finnish design brand specialising in design objects, tableware and cookware. The brand is renowned in Helsinki and the beautifully simplistic objects are very versatile being used for a range of uses. I spotted the classic clear objects in many of the restaurants and bars I visited.
Karl Fazer chocolate was launched as a milk chocolate bar in 1922, and has grown in popularity ever since. We were lucky enough to enjoy coffee and cake for breakfast at the main Karl Fazer store in Helsinki one morning of our trip. This institution stocks the very best chocolate in town, and is available in flavours to suit everyone. Today, every second chocolate bar consumed in Finland is Karl Fazer Milk Chocolate.
When I think of fashion in Helsinki it is the Marimekko ‘Unikko’ flower print that comes to mind. This Finnish design company has been renowned for its original prints and colours since 1951, and when I visited the flagship shop I noticed tourists buying in bulk. The company designs and manufactures apparel, bags, clothes and textiles, all with the striking classic patterns. We headed to the outlet store on the outskirts of town to pick up some floral blue fabric to make curtains for our new living room.
It is no secret that I am a stationery addict, and this shop satisfied all my paper cravings. Papershop is stocked full of artistic handmade cards, exciting craft equipment and inventive paper products. I spent a while wandering around admiring all the pretty things.
Salakauppa translates to ‘secret shop’, and housed in bizarre glass cube, it is certainly not your average souvenir store. All of the products in this tiny shop are designed by Aamu Song & Johan Olin of Company and are the result of excursions to very exiting, yet old fashioned, factories around Finland and neighbouring countries. Company’s design is purely based on each factory’s story and function. The items are unique and utterly lovely – I fell in love with the connecting father and son leather satchels.