Actually, Töölö does not exist. Contrary to popular belief, Töölö is not the official name of any district or neighbourhood in Helsinki. It´s just the collective name for the neighbourhoods Etu-Töölö, meaning Front Töölö, and Taka-Töölö, meaning Rear Töölö. The area is located next to the city centre, occupying the western side of the Helsinki Peninsula.
Landmarks in Töölö are the Parliament House, Temppeliaukio Church, Finlandia Hall, Finnish National Opera, Olympic Stadium and Sibelius Monument.
Töölö was built in 1920–1930 when Helsinki suffered from rapid population growth and needed more housing. The Töölö architecture of that time is seen as the Nordic Classicism style. A typical street in the plan is that of Museokatu, with tall lines of buildings in a classical style along a curving street line.
Barber shop on Museokatu
Korubaari is the studio shop of jewelry designers Jaana Junkkaala and Anniina Dunder-Berg. It is located at the Hesperia Park which divides Etu-Töölö and Taka-Töölö. Both of the women have their own brand: Jaana Junkkaala runs Pioni Design, Anniina Dunder-Berg is responsible of Dunder-Berg.
The inspiration of the Pioni Design rings, earrings and necklaces come from memories, fashion, city and from life itself, as Jaana Junkkaala puts it. Many pieces are custom made jewelry. These are inspired by the person who it is made for. Her or his personality, wishes and feelings lead to the creation of a unique piece of art.
Simple yet effective, Dunder-Berg´s jewelry line is for a man who carries himself with a confident dash. Designed to last time, the pieces are drawn by Anniina Dunder-Berg, fusing inspirations of nature with those of the urban life and sounds. Be it silver cuff links for a gentleman´s dress shirt, a ring, or a wrist piece cut out of wild game leather, Dunder-Berg has aimed for something distinctively straightforward, strong and masculine.
Anniina Dunder-Berg and Jaana Junkkaala
The Exhibitionists Café & Shop was opened two years ago. It is run by the Japanese-French couple Yuki Miyaki and Gregoire Thomas. Both had been working in advertising. At one point, they felt like taking a break from busy working life and opened their café.
Drinking valuable coffee and spending time with antique books – that was the idea for The Exhibitionists Café & Shop. “We want the books to travel around as much as possible”, Gregoire Thomas says. “People can bring their own books to our café, leave them here and take a new one home. But we also have certain books which are for sale.”
It was a conscious decision to open the café in Töölö. “We really like this neighbourhood because it´s one of the most friendly areas in Helsinki”, Gregoire Thomas stresses. “It´s like a village within the city but it´s nice because everybody knows each other. When we opened ´The Exhibitionists´, we were warmly welcomed by all of the neighbours and shop owners around.”
Hella & Herkku is a lovely little shop which is specialized on selling goods – mainly valuable groceries and kitchen utensils – from Italy and Spain. Anna Taipalus opened the place in October 2013. “I am a big fan of Italy, so running this store is a dream come true”, says the owner. “I´m always on the run for new items – so that´s why I very often travel to Italy.”
Anna Taipalus truly is a Töölö original. “I was born in Töölö and it´s still my favourite part of Helsinki”, she says. “Museokatu is my childhood street, so it´s simply great having my own shop here where I bring a piece of Mediterranean flavor to the city.”
Temppeliaukio Church was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. It is also known as the Church of the Rock.
The interior was excavated and built directly out of solid rock and is bathed in natural light which enters through the skylight surrounding the center copper dome. The excellent acoustic quality is created by the rough, virtually unworked rock surfaces.
Temppeliaukio Church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, half a million people visit it annually. It´s also very popular among the Töölö people. Especially in summer, the rocky top of the church is a favourite place to hangout.
Classic Bike is a high-quality and legendary hand-made bicycle importer. “All of our bikes are original designs that have led the direction for many other manufacturers, real genuine classics”, says owner Jari Vainio. “Each product represents the original European craftsmanship and design at its best.”
Hotel Helka has served its guests since 1928. As soon as you enter the building, you get a strong sense of being in Finland. Nordic design and Finnish culture are combined in a unique way creating a very cosy atmosphere. The rooms are furnished with products from Artek and Finnish top designers.
Pikkukala was founded in 2012 by Veronica Lassenius and Pablo Jordi, the creators of cartoon characters Fungi and Saari, who wanted to take their experience in creating entertainment for children worldwide into tablet games.
Pikkukala makes simple tablet and mobile games for kids that are fun, beautiful and full of genuine characters. They encourage creativity and a positive view of the world.
Töölö is full of antique book stores. You can literally spend hours and hours in these treasure caves and make unique discoveries one after another. There are many good options, but make sure to check out Anttikvariaatti Vilho on Cygnaeuksenkatu and Arkadia on Nervanderinkatu.
Photos: Stephan Lücke
Tags: Helsinki, töölö
Stephan fell in love with the Nordic countries, especially the Faroe Islands, when he was a teenager. The 34-year-old German is originally a health care editor and writes about Nordic culture on a freelance basis.
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