Combining new and existing elements

Myllypuro Library in Helsinki was undergoing an expansion project, and we were invited to design the interior. The aim was to create an inviting, straightforward and enjoyable space that welcomes everyone to learn and play. As a space open to all, the library and its services must be easily accessible, both guided and independently. The new facilities will make it easy to organise a wide range of events. The new elements will also support and provide comfort for staff in their daily work.

Sustainability was taken into account in the design: the flooring and general lighting of the space were preserved, and the new colour scheme of the main area was derived from the existing one. New fabrics and finishes were chosen to withstand heavy wear and tear. They blend beautifully with the existing surfaces.

In the children’s department, the dark grey flooring was paired with bright yellow accents. This made the dark flooring even more attractive through contrasts. All colour and fabric choices were made with not only wear resistance in mind but also maintenance and cleaning being as easy as possible.

Designing a public space differs from typical workplace design. The Myllypuro Library project provided our design team with an inspiring and exceptional arena in which we were able to bring the client’s abundant ideas into one functional whole. The framework of the property, the end user’s views and the graphic identity of the City of Helsinki guided the design.

We used our expertise to combine the new with the existing. Despite the challenging spatial structure and architecture, the library became a coherent entity. Its services and book collection have grown significantly to meet the needs of local residents. The facilities are flexible and can be used for a wide range of purposes, from reading and information search to events. The outcome is a harmonious, cosy space that invites people to relax and play. Colourful glass panelling and a calm interior add a personal touch to the surrounding shopping mall milieu.

The collaboration flowed in an open manner throughout the design process. Kakadu’s designers supported the project team in the tendering and purchasing processes. Clear communication with the other designers and regular site visits steered the project to the finish line. The renovated facilities of the Myllypuro Library have been well received and used in versatile ways – just as planned.

Contemporary chic

Kakadu has been in charge of interior design and spatial development at A-lehdet media house headquarters since 2014. The design work is comprised of workspaces, common spaces, private lounges and a restaurant.

A-lehdet headquarters is an architecturally unique building, and its uniqueness defines the interior design as well. The basis for the design has been to create a timeless, functional and aesthetic office environment for the needs of a media house. The workspace design was based on the insights gathered in inclusive workshops.


Unique details in a sky-high building

The embassy of Finland in China’s capital, Beijing, was completed in the Spring of 2022 after years of precise design, planning and renovations. The embassy is located in the diplomatic district of Sanlitun, in a skyscraper towering up to 90 meters. Per request from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, we were privileged to work closely with HIMLA Architects and a design agency located in Beijing.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and its design guidelines set the standards for the design. The space was to have three main purposes: diplomatic representation, consulate services and day-to-day office work. The design process paid close attention to the nature of the embassy’s work, the user’s needs, and strict security measures.

Working remotely from Helsinki to Beijing was already an unusual experience, until half way through the project, Covid 19 -pandemic swept across the Globe. The exceptional project took some unexpected turns, and unlike the original plan, almost the entire construction phase was guided remotely from Finland. Frequent and open communication with the whole team contributed positively to the progression of the project.

The embassy is a harmonious combination of Finnish art and design and local craftsmanship. The large windows look down to the Liangma river and the lush, green parks of Sanlitun. The neutral, natural and high-quality interior is something to be proud of for the Finns working so far away from home.

Photos: Mi2

Timeless style in a prestigious setting

Pension insurance company Varma had leftover space after a long-time tenant had moved out. Repurposing and renovation merged the space with the already renewed areas of the building.

Area of about 1500 m2 was almost fully dismantled and rebuilt. New partition walls and ceilings transformed the former occupational health clinic into 18 meeting and training rooms. The rooms names were inspired by the surrounding seaside.

The elegant meeting rooms add to the usability of the entire building, and they serve the new tenant with state-of-the-art technical installations. Selected materials are natural, high quality and long lasting, blending into the unique setting and location.

An oasis of experiences in the heart of Helsinki

Visit the museum online: Kaupunginmuseo 360°

Helsinki City Museum aimed to unite scattered spaces under the same roof. At the same time, they wanted to renew the services in the museum, and create a space where people would want to return over and over again.

The project was made especially inspiring and challenging by consisting of spaces with varying atmospheres and functions. Therefore the solutions were carefully thought through with the client in different workshops and visits to the museum spaces.

The result is a comprehensive experience, in which the Helsinki lifestyle is visible from the foyer to the exhibitions, meeting rooms, signage system, lifts, gift shop and even to the toilets. The renewed museum has already reached over a million visitors.

I am extremely happy that the museum has become a common space for all the people in the city. We have succeeded in creating an experiential, free-of-charge museum that allows itself to be used in multiple ways.

– Museum director Tiina Merisalo

Functional activity based office in Kamppi

In 2018 we created layouts for two office spaces and compared their feasibility for Vauraus Suomi Oyj, a Finnish finance and investment company. A suitable option for their new premises was found in Kamppi in central Helsinki.

The activity based office is compact, and each function has a designated area. Spaces for employees and clients are separate, where as lobby, work café and break room are shared, bringing openness and relaxed atmosphere to the space. The private, sound proof meeting rooms and the presence of art create a milieu that is both classy and credible.

The premises have been excellent and they have received a lot of praise. The project went well and it was a pleasure to work with you!

– Vauraus Suomi Oyj

Valuable Propertys New Chance to Shine

Keskuskatu 7 was built in the turn of 1960’s and 1970’s to a very central location next to Helsinki’s Central Railway Station and Ateneum art museum. The building is of great historical and architectural value, and therefore it was justified to invest in the spatial alterations made during the reconstruction process.

All office floors were demolished and all technical installations were renewed. Kakadu worked with the solutions and alterations for the new tenants of the building. Fixed solutions in office floors comprised the toilets, kitchenettes, entrances and staff facilities.

Inside the office spaces we designed the material selection and interior solutions for tenants.

Something old, something new

Real estate Työpaja, “Workshop”, was built in the 1980s to serve as the Tuko headquarters, and has now been granted a new life through a comprehensive alteration. The property is located in the middle of the developing area of Kalasatama.

Alongside the alteration, the workspaces on the floors were renewed for the current user implementing the mixed-use facilities principle. Kakadu was in charge of the renewal of all common spaces in the building.

Common spaces included the conference centre, auditorium, foyer, restaurant, private lounges and meeting rooms on the 10th floor. Designing functional spaces for large user groups was of great importance.

In the visual design, the authentic look and feel of the building was updated to today’s standards. Original surfaces were partly preserved to maintain some of the old atmosphere.

A breeze of 1930’s spirit by the Senate Square

The robust red granite building in Aleksanterinkatu 30-34 went under comprehensive renovation after its long-time main tenant moved out. Along the much needed renewal of the technical installation, the main goals of the renovation were to enhance the attractiveness of the real estate to match its remarkable location, and highlight the unique architecture.

The office floors were completely demolished and all technical installations renewed. Kakadu worked with the solutions and alterations for the new tenants of the building. Fixed solutions in office floors comprised the toilets and staircases. All else in the office floors was designed to reference level and a level of higher quality, from which the tenant could choose their preference.

We were also responsible for the design of two new entrances, staff facilities, signage system and presentation materials.

Close-knit collaboration and mutual understanding

Sulava is an expert and training company that specialises in Microsoft solutions and cloud service implementations. The company had outgrown it’s spatial capacity, and was in need of an office that would fit all employees as well as class rooms that were previously located in a building next door.

We joined in the project when the renovation was already ongoing, but just in time to design surface materials, lighting, fixed furnishing, furnishing and spatial branding. The work environment is activity-based, which means it has different spaces to support various vork tasks and activities. Coziness was created with spotlights and relaxed furniture. Togetherness and casual vibe were important for the laid-back Sulava team.

We dived into Sulava’s brand in a workshop to figure out how to bring it forward in the space. As an end result we created decals and signage to communicate about the company and it’s visual identity.

We walked hand in hand thopugh the project with the client and supervised the installations to make sure everything goes as planned throughout.

Collaboration with Kakadu went smoothly! Communication was frequent and Kakadu made sure we know what’s going on in each phase of the project, and gave us opportunities to affect the design. The new office reflects the company, and both our employees and customers are more than pleased with the end result. Big thanks to everyone involved!

– Suvi Kolehmainen, Growth Hacker / Sulava