Hel Yes! 2010

  • Hel Yes! exterior by Adam Laycock

    The Finnish Institute in London commissioned and produced the temporary restaurant and working exhibition HEL YES! for the London Design Festival 15.9-3.10. 2010. The event kick-started the Institute’s programme to promote Finnish design and designers internationally.

    The team behind HEL YES! was made up of Finnish creatives; restaurateur and concept director Antto Melasniemi, London-based AD and designer Mia Wallenius and designer Klaus Haapaniemi.

    Built into a disused industrial space in East London, HEL YES! became a hub for design and food lovers - and the talking point of the London Design Festival. During its three weeks HEL YES! saw 5000 visitors, 3000 of which had the opportunity to sample some Finnish delicacies such as fish tartar, Karelian hotpot and berry porridge. The restaurant was fully booked on the opening night.

    ‘Can furniture be made from trees thinned out from the forest? Can a new dinner set be created from donated, old plates? Can a restaurant gather ingredients straight from the forest? Can something new come from foraging the old?’ asked HEL YES!

    The concept brought together old and new; design classics and unique bespoke elements. The diners sat on tables created by designer Linda Bergroth from trees that had been thinned out from the forest. Food was served off a menagerie of old Iittala plates donated for the project. The chairs were Alvar Aalto’s classic 403’s, originally designed for the Paimio Sanitarium in the 30’s and just re-launched by Artek. The bespoke lighting was by renowned industrial designer Harri Koskinen - and the London-based, Fashion East designer Heikki Salonen designed the HEL YES! waiter’s uniforms especially for the project.

    ”HEL YES! was confident and well thought out presentation of fresh and progressive Finland. And the food was good enough to finally shut up Berlusconi,” Designer Tom Dixon said.

    Both British and global media such as The Independent, The Observer, Wallpaper*, Vogue, Time Out, i-D and Blueprint covered the event – and wrote about Finnish design and food. HEL YES! was also nominated for the Conde Nast Traveller innovation and design, I&D Award in the gourmet category.

    “HEL YES! realised its ambition. It changed the way London sees Helsinki. If you were lucky enough to get a table,“ enthused Ben Evans, the director of the London Design Festival.

    HEL YES! travelled to Helsinki’s Kalasatama 2011 and to Stockholm Design Week 2012 as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 project's programme.

    HEL YES! was created and produced as part of the Finnish Institute’s Art & Culture Programme's ‘Helsinki-London Design Camp’ project and it was an international satellite event for World Design Capital Helsinki 2012.

    More about HEL YES!