This is not a travel blog

Tapio Anttila

... even if it seems that way. A designer never gets rid of his role as an observer, and the scanner is always on for things that inspire.


When designing furniture, I pay particular attention to practicality, ergonomics and manufacturing. They are important things, but you must not forget the artistic side either. That part of the work is more difficult to define and is actually quite a gray area. I still don't really know what it is, but it also needs to be fed and kept enthusiastic. For me, the best way to do that is to visit exhibitions, museums or simply impressive places, such as an ironworks area that exudes a bygone era, a forgotten gas station or a half-abandoned holiday oasis from the 70s.

Tourism here in Finland surprisingly continues to surprise and you can always find new interesting places, like this summer too. My wife and I share a hobby where we explore new places and experiences around Finland. This is essentially related to our old, small and red Italian convertible. Also this summer, its Pininfarina-shaped front turned towards new regions. The more remote and bended the roads, the better.
Here are some tips from this summer.


Gösta Museum's art sauna in Mänttä

Mänttä has been our regular destination for several summers. However, we have taken a break from that for a few years and directed our car elsewhere for a change. That was supposed to happen this summer as well, but a newspaper article I read about a new art sauna made the wheel turn here again. As sworn sauna freaks, we couldn't resist this special concept, where art, architecture and traditional Finnish saunas come together to throw water on the heated stones.

Staying for a night at the functionalism style Honkahovi is a transition to a completely different world that no longer exists. The building and the rooms are almost in their original form, and they convey the professionalism of the designers and builders. I never get tired of admiring the elaborate details in the bathroom.


Art Center Purnu in Orivesi

We have been here several times because the exhibitions here have been interesting and of a high standard. The area itself is already an attraction. Sculptor Aimo Tukiainen's summer atelier, where several artists have worked together, is an area where buildings and people formed a commune-like working community. The simple and functional Exhibition Halls built in the 60s and 80s create a unique atmosphere with the old log buildings of the area. The sculptures made from trash by artist Anni Laukka surprised with their ingenuity, skill and multidimensionality. There, the vague-looking piles of waste took on a new meaning when light was reflected on them and the shadows brought completely new dimensions to the walls. Definitely one of the best art show of the summer.

We stated again that next summer we must come again - and especially on Monday, because then the excellent smoke sauna has public shifts.


"I think there is already one tick in the itinerary for next summer."


Ironworks area of Karkkila

Karkkila, Mellilä and Pusula have previously become more familiar to us from the signposts of the main roads. Now we decided to stop in Karkkila for a night, when the new Tehtaan Hotelli managed to attract us on its website and it happened to be right along our way. We immediately fell in love with the atmosphere of the place and surprisingly we heard that hotel operations had only recently started in the old buildings. The former Högfors guest and office buildings had been put into use with minor changes. The cartridge-like milieu of the factory could still be felt in every corner.

Surprisingly, the surprises didn't end there. There was a great foundry museum in the area, whose collections contained gems of Högfors, such as cast iron pots designed by Sarpaneva and more unknown products. I never thought I would find the best exhibition of the summer here! We also hadn't heard about the new business center in Ala-Emali, right next door, which surprised us again with its freshness and offer. A restaurant, a vintage shop, a cinema and an oven sauna on the edge of the rapids stopped us - unfortunately, we had already booked a sauna at the hotel. Well, next summer's itinerary seems to already have one tick.


The Barö in Inkoo

Last summer, I briefly visited the yard of this brand new archipelago hotel and decided then that this summer I had to try one of the bungalows, the sauna and the restaurant. The concept is absolutely brilliant and unique! The buildings, terraces and passageways designed by architect Lena Weckström fit into the landscape and were perfectly planted in the shape of the land. Every place had a view from the inside and it was like a landscape inside a painting. Especially in the sauna, where taking a sauna was a unique experience. I could go on and on about this, but this is better experienced. One more detail that should be mentioned is the restaurant, whose food and atmosphere fit the whole like an island bread fits a Finn's mouth. In the morning, the pre-made breakfast set was served in a fine wooden box. As a designer, I also appreciate concept design, which is unfortunately rarely encountered in Finland.

Ironworks area of Fagervik in Inkoo

Ironworks area of Fagervik is completely different from other "trendy" ironworks, which makes it exceptional. A delightfully small road leads to a unique atmosphere of the past world, as the area is almost authentically in its original 18th century costume. Big and really old oaks greeted the newcomer and we were the only newcomers on that Monday morning. Descendants of the original owner's family still live in the main mansion, and movement is restricted in certain parts. The wooden church and the old workers' houses in good condition painted with red clay were enchanting. They are living proof of the Finnish skill in wood construction; when the structures are made correctly and regular renovation works, the wood lasts up to hundreds of years. This could certainly be called responsibility - although the original inhabitants had not heard anything about it.



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- Tapio