Helsinki’s Kellohalli is an imposing yet attractive presence, looming at one end of a courtyard in the city’s rejuvenated abattoir complex, its double level façade yawning open like a mouth lined with perfectly polished leaded glass teeth. Good looking in a Julia Roberts sort of way. Embedded centrally in the upper level is a stylishly simple clock, which represents the first part of the restaurant’s name – kello is Finnish for clock (what remains, halli, means hall).
With a ceiling the best part of 10 metres from the floor, but with structural supports providing a useful – and aesthetically-pleasing – skeleton halfway up, Kellohalli makes a handy venue for all sorts of different events that require plenty of room for manoeuvre. The restaurant is the primary resident from Tuesdays to Saturdays, but a quick rearrangement of chairs and tables and the hall is ready for anything. The repurposed abattoir complex showed off its versatility when it debuted as a site for World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 events, and a couple of fashion brands are launching their Spring/Summer 2014 collections among the industrial remnants of the abattoir, such as the brushed metal doors.
We popped over recently to catch some rays at Antto Melasniemi’s Solar Kitchen (the big name, big personality Finnish chef has played a key role in the space and its culinary programme), and the outside area offers a fresher environment for diners in the clement months, with a more intimate table layout and even some planters that heighten the project’s sustainability creds. Interior architect Linda Bergroth brought it all together.