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UPM Headquarters Renovation and Interior Completion
Helsinki, Finland, 2006

UPM Headquarters Renovation and Interior Completion

Client: UPM Corporation
Location: City centre, Helsinki, Finland
Year of completion: 2006
Gross area: 2 500 m²

The UPM headquarters is located in a prominent office building at Esplanadi Boulevard near the South Harbour of Helsinki. The Office building is constructed in two parts. The first part was built in 1912 and was designed by architect Karl Lindahl. The style was modern at the time, a mixture of the vanishing waves of national romanticism combined with international streams. Architect Ole Gripenberg designed an addition, which was built in 1937. After that, the building has gone through several refurbishments and the original furniture and interiors has been replaced.

The goal was to rethink the functions and the architectural character of a modern global headquarters operating on the basis of industrial use of wood in large scale. The design solution expresses the historical values of the company as well as the modern leadership. The main idea for the interior is to show skilful design and craftsmanship in wooden products and surfaces.

The main area for remodelling was the inside courtyard of the city block. The glass roof was elevated to 9th floor level and the first floor restaurant was opened up to the atrium space. The idea behind the interior solutions was to use some of the company’s existing products in a new innovative way. A wood relief was created to a long sidewall of the restaurant. 70mm thick birch plywood board was sawed in a 45 degree angle creating thick triangular plywood pieces with interesting surfaces and colouring. This type of solid wall covering could have further application on the acoustical use as well.

Specially made birch plywood was used with oak surfaces on the restaurant tables and chairs, as well as sofas, chairs and low tables in the director’s lounge area. Combined sofa and shelf furniture was created to be used as a space divide in the lounge.

The eighth floor office spaces were remodelled to a new meeting and lounge area used by the directors. The solution responds for the need of daily meetings as well as various distinguished company occasions. All tables and low tables were especially made with high quality craftsmen using unique pieces of wood.

The classical entrance hall was designed by Ole Gripenberg in the 1950’s. Since then, the white marble female figure “The Wood Nymph” by Matti Haupt has been welcoming the visitors of the company. The entrance hall is remodelled with a great respect for the existing space. Wall surfaces and ceiling areas have new white stucco paint. Newly located reception desk with a wooden wall provide functional basis for reception.