There have been plenty of twists and turns in the narrative of Helsinki’s waterfront recently, with a redevelopment of the Old Market Hall. At the centre of this new chapter in the historic building is Story, a restaurant which now occupies the main hall and offers visitors to the popular Market Square a relaxed but upmarket dining option from a team made up of some of the country’s top restaurateurs; for the uninitiated, that’s Anders Westerholm, Matti Sarkkinen, Teemu Aura and Markus Hurskainen.
The first challenge for interior architect Joanna Laajisto was to create an intimate atmosphere in a space with extremely high ceilings. To achieve this, fishing pots have been suspended midway up the walls, making the height less cavernous and at the same time connecting the café to the area’s waterfront heritage. The hall opened in 1889 and is protected by the National Board of Antiquities, who have been involved in planning the renovation to ensure the venue remains unharmed by the changes. The area was originally used for unloading horses, and remains an important passage through the larger building, so Story has been divided into sections leaving wide walkways running through.