Easton Helsinki by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects Empowers Car-Heavy Locale
The freeway-riddled neighborhood of Itäkeskus in Helsinki, Finland, was in need of a little social glue: something that sparks joy in its residents as well as entices commuters to venture off the exit ramp. Enter Easton Helsinki, a 710,000-square-foot shopping center with community spirit.
Regulations require that new buildings adhere to the aesthetic of the area’s 1980’s red-brick edifices. But Kesko Corporation, the owner, was adamant that the mall not be another banal commercial endeavor. Able to modify the regulation, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects wrapped the facade in 100,000 rods, some glazed ceramic, others powder-coated aluminum, their reddish color in a randomized pattern. “The architecture needed to progress the urban landscape,” co-founder Ilmari Lahdelma says.
The inside was updated, too. Branding firm Kuudes not only spearheaded the four-story skylit interior but also polled locals for preferences. The result? Supporting social initiatives. Each month, shoppers vote on a cause, such as a children’s soccer team in need of funds, and a percentage of profits from the mall’s retailers and restaurants goes to the group. Now that’s good business.