Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio is the genius behind the renovation of Michel Restaurant & Cocktail Bar, formerly König, situated in the heart of Helsinki’s shopping district. Rated one of the world’s most liveable cities, Helsinki boasts a world class hospitality industry, and the space has been transformed into a natural but polished haunt, perfect for any time of the day or night.
Laajisto is an interior designer who cut her teeth within a highly competitive scene in Los Angeles, designing large-scale commercial projects for an international architecture firm. Notable not only for her sublime design aesthetic, Joanna is also LEED accredited, making her an expert in environmental and energy efficient design. Her belief is that successful design is an all-encompassing experience and the work of her studio is driven simultaneously by functionality and aesthetics. Their belief is not to clutter the world with unnecessary objects but to reveal the undisclosed beauty of a space and enhance it through creative solutions.
This wholesome philosophy is particularly poignant in an epoch of fast-paced consumerism, where last season’s purchases, are this year’s landfill. Not that you would want to discard anything JLCS curate; their interiors are of a calibre that one would want to revel in forever, just as they are. With a transcendent understanding of colour and form, Laajisto’s projects are noteworthy for their clean, uncluttered lines, pared with deluxe lacquers, exquisite lamps and tribal textiles. Contemporary yet timeless, interiors that are balanced, simple and exude warmth.
The Piece-de-Resistance at Michel is a Statuario marble and stainless steel cocktail bar sitting in the centre of the space. Arrestingly beautiful with strong geometry, it divides the restaurant into various dining and drinking areas which feature furniture in Ash and Beech timber by Andreu World, in particular the Smart Chair and Moody Barstool. A green wooden panelled wall, inspired by the traditional 1940‘s outdoor kiosks that can be found all over Helsinki, nods to the past then drags it into the present day, propelling it into the limelight for all to behold.
The bathrooms at Michel look good enough to set up a table and chairs and eat your dinner in. Once again marble steals the show on all walls and light features. A huge wash basin designed by Laajisto herself dominates and black minimalist hardware provides sleek contrast against the softness of the stone.
Michel’s makeover emphasises JLCS’s position as a trailblazing, environmentally savvy designer of spaces that will continue to inspire for decades to come.