Itäkeskus Shopping Center - Helsinki (Finland)

Shopping in the modern age

The remodelling of a Helsinki shopping centre
Elisa Montalti
Haskoll Architects
Year of completion

The Itäkeskus Shopping Centre, renamed Itis in 2012 and located in the Itäkeskus district of East Helsinki, is Finland’s largest shopping complex. Opened in 1984, it is currently undergoing major remodelling at the hands of Haskoll Architects, the London-based firm that won the design brief.
Construction of the complex started in the early 1980s and progressed in three main phases: the first unit, now known as “Pasaasi”, was completed in 1984 under the name Itämarket and included 41 shops. On the strength of its success, the “Pikku-Bulevardi” and “Bulevardi” wings were added in 1992, with an additional 160 shops, followed by two new areas, the Piazza and the Prisma, which opened in 2001 and 2002 respectively. The complex extends over five floors, of which the first two accommodate shops and other commercial services, and the remaining three house offices and car parking.
In view of the size of the complex, the work is under way in stages. Due for completion between late 2013 and early 2014, it will include the renovation of the façades and entrances. The aims of the project are to modernise obsolete buildings erected in the 1980s, harmonise the various extensions made over the decades, and bring the complex as a whole back into step with the times. Despite the construction work in progress, it’s business as usual in the shopping centre, and the project is set to create 12,000 square metres of new commercial real estate.
Several areas have already been completed and reflect the co-ordinated, light and airy feel of the complex as a whole, following a general updating of the shop signs and windows according to a unitary design approach. For example, 2012 saw the completion of the redevelopment of the main aisle, with its vaulted glass roof, involving both the floor coverings and the first- and second-storey façades. The lower, peripheral aisles have also been renovated, in a clean, modern, airy style.
For these broad transit routes, the architects opted for concrete-effect ceramic flooring in a variety of shades (Downtown, Tube, Liquorice and Breath), with a view to producing a number of different graphic designs on the floor to help shoppers get their bearings. As a result, a ceramic carpet made up of geometric figures and lines punctuates the walkway, and highlights entrances, shop windows, directions, etc.
Even the suspended ceilings above the lower transit areas have been replaced, and now elegantly accommodate the various technical installations, including a more efficient lighting system made up of suffused light in the middle, and accent lighting at the edges, in the vicinity of the shop windows. The new suspended ceiling has an especially sculptural and segmented look, thanks to the well judged interplay of louvered sections, full surfaces and voids, accentuated by atmospheric lighting.

Caesar, Gate series
porcelain stoneware
60x60, 30x60 cm
Downtown, Tube, Licorice, Breath
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 47 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 matt
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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