Our first (and quick) Nordic stopover

Quite frequently, Terence and I use the down time we have during our business trips to seek inspiration. Whether it’s a new perspective on life or new ideas for a project, some of the best inspiration comes from things that happen by chance and when we’re least expecting it.

After spending a few days in picturesque Prague with a renowned Bohemian glass maker for our recent project, we chose to fly on Finnair for the first time to return to Hong Kong due to the best connection and only eight or so hours flight time. Why not make an overnight stop at our very first Scandinavian destination, Helsinki? The one-day tour resulted in great revelations for us.

The Scandinavian design aesthetic is quite different and has great influence on modern design, but the ethos is consistent. Everything should first and foremost be functional. Second, whatever it is should be thoughtful and made with the highest quality. Third, it should be simple enough that it exudes humble luxury.

Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki
Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki

During our stop in Helsinki, we visited the Temppeliaukio Church, or Rock Church, that was excavated directly into solid rock, completely integrating outdoor elements with indoors. It was an extremely serene experience… so much that I could have sat there for hours, but only had time for one.

An experience such as that in Helsinki is what we feel is luxury at its prime. Aesthetics certainly help, but it’s about being in a state of great comfort and how well it ties into one’s life. If something were impractical to my daily life, then I wouldn’t find it to be a luxury. It would end up being a burden.

Of course, we truly understand why Scandinavians are so particular about their interior design after we experienced how it feels outside in the winter or even early spring.