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Ilse Crawford and Studioilse collaborated with Finnish furniture brand Artek to revamp the restaurant Savoy in Helsinki. The famous establishment’s interior was originally created by Aino and Alvar Aalto in 1937. More than 80 years later, it was time to modernize the space.
“The Aaltos believed it was important to ‘refine materials in a more humane direction’,” says Crawford. “Respecting their focus on simplicity, functionality, and social awareness was an important part of our work on Savoy. Our work takes its cue from the original 1937 Aalto interior, taking the restaurant back to its original while refreshing it for today. Savoy needed a bit of repair and a bit of love, but it didn’t need reinventing.”
Savoy’s joinery and furniture were restored, and original chairs were reupholstered for the occasion.
“Savoy’s interior was designed by the Aaltos with Artek’s drawing office,” managing director, Marianne Goebl. “Products that were specifically developed for the restaurant are still produced by Artek today. It felt intimidating for us to intervene in such an iconic space. Luckily, the project is well documented in our company archives, from furniture drawings to material samples.”
The restaurant still has character and its history is palpable in the new design. The look is moody, warm, relaxed and unpretentious, an atmosphere that echoed what the Aaltos originally intended for the place. You’ll find lots of wood, white and black, and hints of brass. The striped pattern is inspired by Aino Aalto’s work and style. There are a lot of plants, a not to Savoy’s original terraces
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And after a nice diner at Savoy, why not check-in at the recently renovated Hotel St George?