“We want to create services and spaces at the airport where passengers can relax and momentarily transport themselves away from the hectic airport atmosphere. The forest is an important recreational location for us Finns and part of our national identity. At the same time, we will make Finland known to our international passengers”, says Ville Haapasaari, Finavia's Helsinki Airport director.
Kainuu lounge is an “everyman's lounge”, where all passengers may spend their time. The lounge is free and open 24/7. Ergonomic chairs and soft carpets provide extra comfort in the lounge. In the background you can hear the forest sounds, such as birdsong, the growl of a bear and wind in the treetops.
The lounge has been furnished with chairs made from wind-felled trees designed by the interior designer Kaarle Holmberg and modern chairs from his Kainuu collection, which have been inspired by the Finnish forest.
“To my surprise, the materials for the chairs were literally growing in the trees! The way branches are attached to the trunk is a ready-made part of the framework and the joint is the strongest possible. The roots of many species of trees also provide excellent raw materials for furniture. The best parts can be found in nutrient-rich wilderness” says Holmberg.
A sound installation, Finnish Forest Frequencies by sound designer and artist Kirsi Ihalainen, adorns the Kainuu lounge with the soothing hums of the Finnish forest and the voices of familiar Finnish animals.
Deadwood hanging from the ceiling sings at the frequencies of the forest. The wood resonates at the particular frequency of the forest, which makes it vibrate. New sound technology turns the deadwood into speakers.
Kainuu lounge brings a piece of Finland to the airport.
“You can and you should touch the deadwood, since the vibration and the smell of the deadwood transport you directly to the centre of natural environment. The forest sounds combined with furniture made from Finnish natural materials bring a piece of Finland to the airport”, says Ihalainen.
Finnishness strongly present at Helsinki Airport
According to Haapasaari, highlighting Finnish design, know-how and art at the airport is closely linked with the design of Finavia's service concepts. Finnishness is the thread running through the product range of the shops as well as the menus, materials and decor of the restaurants
“We are constantly working to ensure that Finland is presented as an interesting travel destination at the airport. A good example is our art airport project, which both presents contemporary Finnish art and provides passengers with a place to rest their feet. One of our most recent projects is the exhibition “Luonnos”, inspired by the nature of Lapland, which has been produced in cooperation with Metsähallitus.”
An enjoyable airport experience for passengers
Some of Finavia’s ongoing TravelLab service tests will be organised in the Kainuu lounge. TravelLab is a globally unique project which allows passengers to test new service concepts and share their views on them. These include yoga classes, which were launched in May.
The opening of the Kainuu lounge is connected to Finavia's development programme, which aims to ensure Helsinki Airport's position as the leading transit airport between Europe and Asia. Moreover, it aims to improve airport services and provide passengers with a smooth and enjoyable airport experience.