Restaurant Michel is the fresh face in Helsinki’s fashion district – its crisp and contemporary interior a warranted transformation from the dark interior of the former traditional restaurant, König. And I cannot wait to visit when next in town.
Joanna Laajisto, the designer behind the concept change, created a relaxed and sophisticated space through the clever use of materials and colour. A pistachio green timber panelled wall lines one end of the restaurant – a fun reference to the traditional Finnish 1940’s kiosks dotted throughout the capital. Beautiful cognac leather upholstered bench-seating contours the walls and is paired with bespoke ash wood tables featuring gorgeous green marble insets, tying in with the green feature wall. White gloss subway tiles feature throughout the restaurant’s walls and columns, contrasting against the earthy palette of the furniture and ultimately creating a more contemporary atmosphere.
At the centre of the restaurant lays an impressive bar, framed in white Statuario marble, stainless steel, and brass. The marble bar ties in with the dining area’s two large marble Tulip tables by Eero Saarinen, while the timber and leather stools that line the bar help soften the space.
Marble details continue through to the downstairs bathrooms, lightening the space and creating a luxurious atmosphere. Freestanding sinks and matt black hardware are featured in the bathroom, which is dimly lit by beautiful brass sconces that highlight the shadows in the textured ceiling. Leather benches mirror the upstairs’ setting, providing a subtle touch of colour, and interrupting the greys from the marble walls and charcoal parquetry flooring.
From top to toe, Restaurant Michel oozes a fresh, luxurious, yet relaxed design that has forever reinterpreted the traditional Finnish restaurant.