Scolare & Enoteca Banco Vini

A former bank building in Helsinki is now home to a little corner of Italy with an understated aesthetic. Sustainability is a key concept here at Ristorante Scolare and wine bar Enoteca Banco Vini.

This district, known locally as ‘bank corner’, has a number of buildings that, as the name suggests, were originally designed for banking activities.

Michelin-star chef Pekka Terävä and his company Olo Collection are the ones behind Ristorante Scolare and Enoteca Banco Vini. Olo Collection owns a total of eight restaurants throughout the Finnish capital.

When the project group viewed the premises for the first time, there was something that fascinated them, and they quickly realised the huge design potential.

“We wanted premises that would stir up the emotions, and when we came here for the first time we knew immediately that this was the perfect location. Everything revolves around our patrons, and we wanted to create a sense that the restaurant has been here for a long time, and I feel we have succeeded in that,” says Pekka Terävä, Creative Director at Olo Collection.

During the course of the project, Olo Collection focused on reducing its carbon footprint. New furniture purchases were kept to a minimum, and they instead opted for reconditioning, refurbishment and reuse.

Input interior assisted with this, serving as both supplier and partner. With experience and knowledge in this field, the interior design company came up with new ways to reuse furniture in keeping with the concept.

“Much of it has been recycled and sourced from Olo Collection’s own inventory. Any items that were not in ideal condition were refurbished – including some recycled chairs and easy chairs. The furniture has been reupholstered in new colours to fit the industrial ambience of the building,” says Tanya Liuko, Account Manager at Input interior.

Sense of the past still present

During renovation of the premises, red brick and concrete wall surfaces were uncovered and now form key features, together with the old stone floors. Dark-red furniture has been added to echo the brick walls. Olive-green shades are also present, to bring a sense of contrast to the interiors.

The building’s original skylight has also been retained. Located over the heart of the premises, it delivers natural light and was one of the elements that design studio Franz Design focused on as part of their aim to retain a sense of the building’s past in the interiors.

“The restaurant has a vibrant yet relaxed feel – there is a sense of ‘a life lived’ in this old banking hall. It’s tangible and we want patrons to focus on the experience. There is no right or wrong when it comes to feel and experience,” says Lauri Skyttä, Senior Designer at Franz Design, and he continues:

“With the interiors, we didn’t want to merely imitate an Italian restaurant. We wanted to create a restaurant that could just as easily be in Italy. There was much discussion about what Italian cuisine actually involves – for us, it’s good-quality ingredients, respect for food and strong traditions. We hope that this is reflected in the interiors.”

All elements of the project have been characterised by a circular and sustainable vision, which Tanya Liuko feels is reflected in the end result.

“There has been great collaboration between all parties involved, and strong values with regard to circular economy permeated the entire project, from start to finish. Scolare and Enoteca Banco Vini offer a special experience, and that will attract many repeat visitors,” she concludes.

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