Finnish interior design studio Fyra won this year’s Best Interior Design Firm A+Award for their timeless style, sustainable design process and functional spaces. The aspiring women of the team have put the future at the forefront of their design practices and are focused on contributing to the betterment of the environment.
“Our goal is to create high-quality surroundings that enhance human well-being. Through regenerative and foresight-thinking design, we aim to contribute to a sustainable future,” said Eva-Marie Eriksson, the firm’s Co-founder and Senior Designer, Hotels and Restaurants.
In addition to creating environmentally conscious spaces, the studio likes to focus on purpose and the daily needs of those using them. To them, every space they create should be a visually rousing experience that also impacts the well-being of those within. “For us, functionality and timeless visuality are intimately tied together,” Eriksson said. “Implementing research and data into design processes comes not only with an opportunity, but with a great responsibility for creating a better world.”
One of their local designs is Bardot in Helsinki. The moody restaurant is located in an Art Nouveau building and serves classic French cuisine and so, the firm handpicked vintage pieces and sourced furniture crafted by local carpenters to create a French atmosphere. Exposed brick walls are paired with dark-toned furniture and patterned tiles to create an intimate dining experience. Part of the kitchen is integrated into the restaurant hall to display the process. The bar also serves a dual purpose – it can stand on its own and also be used to expand the restaurant when there are more guests.
Hotel Torni is another hospitality project from the firm. In contrast to the dark and dramatic interiors of Bardot, the space is lighter and brighter. Here, the history of the building is what guides the design. Earlier, the space was a meeting place for several Finnish cultural influencers and now, the bar and restaurant represent a melting pot of ideas with their bohemian ambiance and distinctive aesthetics. The bar, which is located on the thirteenth floor of the hotel, offers expansive views of Helsinki.
The team decided to use materials and mirrored surfaces that complement the views instead of competing with them. On the other hand, the restaurant on the ground level uses bold colors, rousing textures and eclectic silhouettes. They have also restored The American Bar in the center of the hotel and added a luxurious bar counter, dark-hued furniture and Paavo Tynell-designed lamps.
In addition to hospitality projects, the firm has also worked on several retail designs. One of their standout projects is Box by Posti, a self-service store conceptualized for customers who shop online. In addition to rows of parcel lockers, the space also includes fitting rooms for customers to try on their purchases within the store itself and a seating area for them to enjoy a cup of coffee. The store’s colorful palette and neon lighting were chosen mainly to grab the eyes of those passing by.
Inside, each space has its own color scheme. The counters and parcel lockers boast a pink palette whereas the fitting rooms feature a burnt orange. The unboxing counter and shelves take on a deep green and finally, the recycling area mimics the tone of the parcel boxes.
Sustainability is one of the key pillars of the firm’s design philosophy. The firm’s Co-founder and Senior Designer, WP and Concepts, Niina Sihto, explains, “In a world full of matter, it is increasingly important to strive for a resource‐wise use of materials and aim for a comprehensive understanding of the overall impacts of the choices made.”
Talking about trends and sustainable design, Sihto added, “It is time to re-think design. Interior design has a significant emission reduction potential, which is something everyone in the industry should work towards in unison.”
She added that they try to draw up an environmental sustainability plan that identifies the best solutions for each project. They also often look for ways to recycle existing furniture and reuse materials on site. This approach is evident in the renovation of the Hotel Vaakuna in Helsinki. The firm tried its best to retain some characteristics of the original design from the 1950s.
Doors and brass numbers have been refurbished and preserved. They have also re-upholstered old armchairs in the hotel. While renovating the reception area, the studio refurbished the old furniture and lamps. The revamp is a great example of a space that borrows from history and stays contemporary.
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