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HEL YES! - Food and Design from Helsinki - Embassy of Finland, London : News & Current Affairs


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HEL YES! - Food and Design from Helsinki

Can furniture be made from trees thinned out from the forest? Can a new dinner set be created from donated plates? Can a restaurant gather ingredients straight from the forest? Can something new come out of foraging the old? The Finnish Institute in London is delighted to announce HEL YES!, a temporary restaurant and exhibition imagined and realised by a creative team of Finnish designers and food visionaries.

Unveiled in mid-September during London Design Festival, HEL YES! will serve as a melting pot of people and ideas for 14 days during 15 Sep - 3 Oct. Embassy of Finland is one of HEL YES!'s parters.

The hunter-gatherers of HEL YES! (from left): Harri Koskinen, Johanna Eliisa Laitanen, Klaus Haapaniemi, Mia Wallenius, Heikki Salonen, Linda Bergroth and Antto Melasniemi.The hunter-gatherers of HEL YES! (from left): Harri Koskinen, Johanna Eliisa Laitanen, Klaus Haapaniemi, Mia Wallenius, Heikki Salonen, Linda Bergroth and Antto Melasniemi.

HEL YES! will showcase the best in Finnish food and design. Partnering with Finland’s world class design houses Iittala and Artek for exclusive customised furniture, lighting and tableware, modern and future classics will build bridges between the past and the present in HEL YES!

 HEL YES! is produced as part of the Institute’s Arts & Culture Programme’s three-year project focusing on design, ‘Helsinki - London Design Camp’. “While a number of Finnish design classics are celebrating key anniversaries, new thinking and practice is flourishing as Helsinki is preparing to step up as World Design Capital 2012. Against this very special backdrop, the HEL YES! team will bring a thrilling mix of old and new, unique and repurposed to London”, says Hanna Harris, the Art & Culture Programme Director from the Finnish Institute in London.

 A number of items will be exclusively made for the opening of HEL YES! The lighting design, furniture and staff uniforms are designed by the most sought after talent in contemporary Finnish design; Fashion EAST designer Heikki Salonen, interior/furniture designer Linda Bergroth, sculptor/video artist Maria Duncker and furniture and product designer Harri Koskinen.

Inside HEL YES!

Design by Klaus HaapaniemiEntering the HEL YES! space, guests will find themselves in a campsite-like formation in the shape of a circle. Canopy style open tents on the edges of the main area will be created with cashmere shawls and linen textiles from the new ‘Klaus Haapaniemi’ luxury textile collection, launching at HEL YES! Inside the open, candlelit tents, the diners can sit on camp beds.

The middle of the space will boast unique tables designed by Linda Bergroth especially for HEL YES!, seating 60 diners. Created from young, aspen trees thinned out from a forest near Helsinki, the tree’s slim trunks otherwise destined to become wood chips have been given another life as poetic, hut like structures under which guests can camp and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Sitting down to dine, guests will discover that their chairs are by the most celebrated Finnish architect of all times, Alvar Aalto. Originally designed in 1932 for the Paimio Sanatorium in Finland, the renowned Artek ‘403’ chairs will appear in HEL YES! in three exclusive new colours. Long common tables by Nikari will welcome customers without table reservations to be seated and to interact with friends and new acquaintances. Additional lighting is also created for the space by Saas Instruments.

Whipped lingonberry manna is very traditional dessert in FinlandWhipped lingonberry manna is very traditional dessert in Finland

In the HEL YES! kitchen the ideology of foraging continues. Tastes from the Nordic forests are brought to the plate by top chefs in straightforward and simple style. Though some key Finnish ingredients such as fish roe, game and preserved plants will come from Finland, most of the daily ingredients will be sourced by the HEL YES! team of hunters and gatherers from around London.

 The open kitchen and counter themed ‘Catch of the Day’ will be situated on the edge of the campsite, allowing for an interactive dining experience between diners and the chef. Guests’ eyes will instantly be averted to a long kitchen counter consisting of myriad wooden and plastic baskets containing the Finnish raw, foraged ingredients, giving a glimpse of the dishes served that day.

Iittala glassware designed by Harri KoskinenIittala glassware designed by Harri Koskinen

The special Iittala tableware in HEL YES! is also a result of foraging. In an event organised in Helsinki earlier this year, participants were asked to trade in their beloved Iittala or Arabia plates and the story of their tableware for a complimentary dinner. Together, all the different mix and match plates and crockery represent a collection of memories for those dining at HEL YES! Each table will also boast a set of Iittala’s Art Works 2009 collection of unique, limited edition glassware designed by Harri Koskinen.

HEL YES! will be open from 15 September – 3 October 2010. 

Opening hours: Wed 5pm – 1am, Thu – Sat 11am – 1am (café menu until 7pm, dinner menu 7 - 11pm, late bar open until 1am). Sun 12pm - 5pm (all day brunch menu).

Londonewcastle Depot, 1-3 Wenlock Road, London N1 7SL

Set menu £25 for three courses, excluding drinks and service.

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Updated 30/08/2010

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