After almost a quarter of a century on Helsinki’s grand boulevard Eteläesplanadi, Artek’s flagship store has reopened at a new and even more central location in a historic property.
The Artek store in Helsinki has been dedicated to promoting a contemporary culture of living for 80 years. Among the very first design stores with a true cultural dimension worldwide, the Artek store has had a profound influence on shaping Finland’s extraordinary “everyday design culture” while introducing Finnish design to numerous visitors from abroad. An original product selection paired with novel exhibition formats for both art and design have been central to the Artek store’s success.
With the new store location, Artek Helsinki returns geographically to its roots. The new retail space is located in a building designed by Eliel Saarinen and completed in 1921, situated on Helsinki’s main pedestrian street Keskuskatu just opposite the Stockmann department store. The Artek store is surrounded by emblematic Finnish architecture from the 20th century. It is flanked by two Aalto buildings, the Rautatalo (Iron House), which housed the Artek store between 1954 and 1991, and the Academic Bookstore.
Now on two storeys, Artek Helsinki offers a design experience of 700 square metres. Artek’s own collection of furniture, lighting and accessories can be discovered in its entirety. Highlights include product launches straight from the trade fairs, Artek Helsinki specials, which are only available at the store, as well as a workshop, where Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 can be customised on site by clients.
Carefully selected products by like-minded companies, many of which are exclusively distributed by Artek in Finland, complete the offering. Particular attention is given to design from Finland and its neighbouring countries.
The new store offers an enlarged book and magazine selection as well as a plant corner; it also carries a large range of home textiles, including fabrics, carpets – both historic and contemporary – and curtains.
Artek’s platform for making historic Artek products available again, 2nd Cycle, is given a permanent presence with a changing selection of pre-loved products.
Extended space is dedicated to temporary sales exhibitions and cultural events, creating a rich and dynamic programme of activities. Design, craft, art and architecture exhibitions, at the core of Artek’s activities since its inception, are hosted in collaboration with guest curators on a regular basis.
The Artek store – a Helsinki institution since 1936
The very first Artek store was opened at Fabianinkatu 31 in the centre of Helsinki in 1936, shortly after the company’s foundation by Alvar and Aino Aalto, Nils-Gustav Hahl and Maire Gullichsen in 1935. Located in the Pohjoismaiden Yhdyspankki bank building, the store was a modern,
functionalist space, in which Alvar Aalto’s radically new furniture was presented together with lighting, plants, textiles, Moroccan carpets, and glass and ceramic objects, among other handcrafted work. Temporary sales exhibitions were introduced as a novel way of showing design and art.
In December 1954, the Artek store moved to Alvar Aalto’s Rautatalo building at Keskuskatu 3. The premises also housed the company offices as well as Galerie Artek, which opened in 1950 and had a pioneering role in introducing ground-breaking international artists to the Finnish public.
In 1991 the Artek store embarked on a new phase, moving to a space at Eteläesplanadi, before it reopened in a larger corner space of the same building in 1994. This store closed its doors in January 2016, after renovation work had already begun at the new store location.
Artek Helsinki, Keskuskatu 1B, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10 am – 7 pm | Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
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Notes to editors
Artek – Art & Technology since 1935
Artek was founded in 1935 in Helsinki by the young idealists Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils- Gustav Hahl “to sell furniture and promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means”. Today, the Artek collection of furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Finnish masters and leading international designers comprises objects that are extraordinary in their clarity, functionality, and poetic
simplicity. In the radical spirit of its founders, Artek remains one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, breaking new ground at the intersection of design, architecture and art.