Tag Archives: Helsinki

Brunch at Yobot

Couple of weeks ago, I went to a street food fair in Helsinki, called Streat Helsinki. Clever, huh? I’m going to write about that in another post but while I was there, queueing for some meze, I got talking with a lady who turned out to be an owner of a frozen yogurt place in Helsinki. She made such a good sales pitch that I decided to go there the very next day!

As per usual…That day I had some hard time getting out of bed and I arrived there just as their kitchen was about to close for brunch. Luckily, they still allowed me to order as I was starving (I hadn’t eaten anything for over 12 hours in anticipation). They offer two kinds of brunches, a sweet waffle buffet or a bagel brunch. I ordered the bagel but as soon as I sat down and saw everyone else’s delicious waffles, I regretted my choice. Instaregret! The next cool app at the market! Hah.

yobot, helsinki, töölö, restaurant, frozen yogurt

While I settled to wait for the food, I got a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of coffee and had some time to enjoy my surroundings. The place is very small. 3 small tables and one larger one in the middle but I didn’t get a claustrophobic feel about it. Later I found out that the smaller tables are there just for the brunch. Anyhoo, I didn’t have to wait long before I got this in front of me:

Salmon! Cream cheese! Melon! Greens! Natural yogurt! Muesli! I didn’t eat this, I inhaled everything. It was good! The delusional health conscious me decided to have ‘just’ the yogurt as dessert but it took total of five minutes to decide that I needed some of that frozen yogurt too…

yobot, frozen yogurt

Looks disgusting, doesn’t it? Just some Dominoes (cookie similar to Oreos), sprinkles and crushed nuts on the deliciousness that is frozen yogurt. Seriously, I could eat this by bucketfuls. TIP: Yobot is not too far (in fact just few minutes walk) from Töölön sairaala, Töölö hospital. If you have a friend there as a patient, a takeaway from Yobot would be a perfect present for the poor thing. I know I would have LOVED it while I was staying there for my op. Not that hospital food isn’t full of nutrients but somehow it just doesn’t hit the right spots…

yobot, frozen yogurt

The topping table and the price list. The way it works is that you get some fro-yo (see, I totally know the biz lingo) from the machine on the right and then you pile on the toppings. You pay according the weight. I know that foreigners balk at the price but Finnish taxation is insane and that’s actually pretty reasonable. But you don’t go there everyday so it’s okay to treat oneself every now and then, right?

Final verdict: I loves the place. When I was done eating and enjoying myself, I had a final chat with the owner (actually mother of the owners). The business was started by her American husband few years ago but who sadly passed away some time ago, leaving the business to the kids. When I got there, I thought that this doesn’t look like it was designed by a Finnish person and I was right. There’s something very upbeat about the place and the branding. I asked Jaana about the business side and how is it to run small business in Finland and she said that sometimes it can be very paperwork heavy and some things came as a surprise for them, such as having to apply for special permit to put some chairs outside during summer! We also managed to share some laughs about the culture shock you get when you return as a Finn back to Finland. Apparently we both were shocked that people are so white in here. And we all look the same!

Yobot has a Facebook and Twitter and they are located in Töölö, Runeberginkatu 54 A, 00260 Helsinki.

Thrifty Finn- The foodie

Pinteresting: Finland Edition!


Today, Finland celebrates its 96th year of being independent. Of course many think (me included) that with EU and the threat of Nato and TTIP looming over us, there’s not much independence left. However, today I’m focusing on the good stuff with some help from Pinterest!

Finlande, french, old travel ad, pays de la romance, ranskankielinen vanha matkamainos

Old travel ad via Flickr

I’m a sucker for vintage travel ads. This one captures very well how Finns like to see their country. However, this is the first time I’ve head the word ‘romantic’ in connection to Finland. Oh, well, there’s a first for everything :D

Suomenlinna, sunset, sunrise, Helsinki, fortress, scenery

Suomenlinna- fortress island in Helsinki. Photo via seesbyanni.blogspot.fi

You cannot talk about Finland without mentioning its capital Helsinki. My favourite place in Helsinki is the Suomenlinna-island which is just perfect place for picnics.

aurora borealis, hello lapland, Lapland, Finland, Northern lights

Aurora Borealis on November 30th 2013. Image by Hello Lapland

From summer to winter…This year the northern lights appeared much earlier than they normally do. Already at the end of August the lights were strong and I’ve seen some pretty amazing photos of them from that time. If you, BTW, are interested in said amazing pictures, you should follow Hello Lapland on Twitter and Facebook.

Saana, fell, Kilpisjärvi, Lapland, Finland

Saana-fell in Lapland. Image by Hello Lapland

My love for Lapland is no secret but did you know I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones? Then I probably don’t have to explain this image any further.

rintamamiestalo, punainen, red wooden house, Finland, suomi

Red house. Image by Cubilla Milan.

I chose this picture because it’s quite similar to my grandparent’s house in Lapland and my NEW place here in Espoo. Yes, I finally moved, and now I rent an upstairs of a house. I have almost 15 square meters more space and TWO separate rooms. Which means that I actually have a living space AND a craft space. I also can finally build a big craft table from that 2×4 Expedit WITH wheels so I don’t know what is getting me more excited, the apartment or the idea of the table.

There’s another reason why I chose this picture. After the war against Russians ended and Finland’s independence was saved, returning vets, their families and refugees from Karelia needed places to live. A new type of single family house was developed which was quick to build and also, for the first time, was designed around a single family unit. My grandparent’s house has exceptionally large rooms (as they had 8 kids) but the layout is of that ‘rintamamiestalo’, a vet house.

rintamiestalo, vet house, Finland, war, veterans, Karelia

Rintamamiestalo. Image via Wikipedia

If you are interested in more Finland pictures, HERE‘s the direct link to Pinterest search. And without any further babbling…









Goo-Goo For Guggenheim

Robert Motherwell: Early Collages, guggenheim

Robert Motherwell: Early Collages, via Guggenheim.org

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love museums. Loved them as a kid, love them now. My highlight in life was my first ever visit to Louvre. I spent there hours! Now, you would think that if an international museum expresses interest to bring a branch of theirs to my neck of woods, I’d be delighted. But I’m not. Because the said museum Guggenheim.

They tried it last year already and managed to get 2 million euros from City of Helsinki. How? They got Helsinki to order an “independent” study of how beneficial the museum would be for Helsinki. The study was done by Guggenheim’s consulting company.

Yes. I know.

Guggenheim, Helsinki

Luckily, Helsinki city council voted against it by a narrow margin of one and we all thought that the project was buried for good. But alas on 24th of September this year, Guggenheim revealed a revised proposal and the fighting in the social media is on. Basically the argument for is that it would bring money and argument against it, is that we don’t have the money to build it.

For me there are many issues. First of all, Guggenheim is mainly known as the McDonald’s of the art world. It’s not going to save Finland’s art&design-scene, it would eat up the minuscule budget there is. Projected visitor count is half a million a year. Guggenheim Berlin was open 12 years and only pulled in little over 1 million visitors that time.

Then there’s the financial issue. In every financing option, the money comes from taxpayers. Guggenheim itself wouldn’t put single penny in it but in fact would get franchising + other fees every year, regardless how much money it actually would bring to Finland. All projected profits for Helsinki and Finland would be coming from tourists staying in hotels, shopping and eating out. And that’s only if those 500.000 visitors would be NEW visitors.

guggenheim, helsinki, twitter This time Guggenheim is taking things seriously. They probably got caught by surprise when they got rejected the first time, thinking that getting money out of Finland would be easy. Since the last proposal got a lot of criticism because it looked like they were working in secrecy, Guggenheim doesn’t leave anything to chances but have a website, Twitter-feed, Instagram-profile and so on. Their social media content is managed by Finnish communication agency Miltton. Tomorrow, they have a Q&A-event at the Artek-store in Helsinki and I might have to drop in to see what it’s all about ;)

Thrifty Finn- Pro Art, Pro Business but Dead Set Against Stupidity

Inspirations! Who? What? Where?

mika ihamuotila, marimekko, rovio

Image via MTV3.fi

I had my alarm clock on this morning so I could watch the Ihamuotila-interview on MTV3. I couldn’t get my eyes open. Thank heavens, there’s social media and I found abundant of links to the clip. The gist of the interview was that Marimekko and Louekari deny all the accusations:

Where’s the line between plagiarism and inspiration? “Looks like traced through baking paper”

In today’s Huomenta Suomi, the host Jesse Kamras showed Iltalehti‘s image to Marimekko CEO Mika Ihamuotila. Below is translated version of the original transcript found in here.

Kamras: This mystical Barcelona-bag and Maija Louekari’s Moments-print, yeah, there’s a picture in Iltalehti from 1960′s. By photographer Markus Lepo of Esplanadi. You could almost say it’s traced through baking paper so where is the line between plagiarism and inspiration?

Ihamuotila: It usually is, sometimes you move in a gray area. Sometimes it’s like a line in water, sometimes it’s hard to say. But usually it’s quite clear if it’s original inspiration, which is no where near any other work, so then you talk about a work of art that’s individual and original. -But this piece, you brought up right now, is it from today’s paper? It’s incomprehensible. That’s Maija Louekari’s one of a kind and original description of Esplanadi. And then some spanish bag manufacturer copied that and now Finnish press is claiming, based on a rumor that that (ours) is copied from that.

Kamras: But if you lay the Moments-print on top of the image, it’s one on one but is, is it inspiration?

Ihamuotila: For goodness sake, history of the world is filled with amazing but abstract works, based on views. And that is completely original and in my opinion very fabulous, that Maija Louekari’s original piece.

Well, I received a link here in comments and on Twitter, to this blogpost from 2011 and specifically to this picture:

esplanadi, markus lepo, marimekko, louekari

Image via mikasavela.tumblr.com

Yup. I’d say that’s definitely the original. The photo is by Markus Lepo and can be found in a book from 1960′s. Mika Savela says in his blog that the book’s name loosely translates as “Helsinki and it’s people”. He then proceeds to discuss about how it is cool that this image and the city life in it, “trickled down” through decades and found their way into various products:

mika savela, marimekko, hetkiä

Image via mikasavela.tumblr.com

You should go and read the full post HERE at mikasavela.tumblr.com. He writes in English.

So what does this mean to the copy claims? Well, it still could mean that the photo was made originally into a print by the spanish company. Marimekko’s defenders say that every designer have lots of inspiration pictures and after a while they blur together and so on. I say it’s entirely possible that a Spanish  designer bought copy of the book on some holiday to Finland. I have my share of vintage photo books from abroad for exactly this reason. They are cheap and they are cute.

It’s also possible that Marimekko did the print first. However, we have an iffy beginnings story. In yesterday’s statement we saw sketches of city views but we didn’t see the original concept board/images they were based on. In such, using vintage/retro tourist images for a basis IS a fun concept. However, now it’s too late for Marimekko to say that it was their original intention as they didn’t say so originally.

Marimekko’s defenders have jumped on the poor woman who brought up the similarities between the bag and the Marimekko-print. Questioning her background and whatnot. I’ve responded to them and I write it down here too: It doesn’t matter what her background is. She can be drug addict, disease-riddled prostitute but it doesn’t change the facts if the bag is older than Marimekko’s Hetkiä. Even if it turns out that Marimekko was copied, still, all she did was that she brought it up and even then, it’s good for Marimekko because then they can start legal proceedings against the Spanish company.

Now, all we have to do is found out the manufacturer of the bag. Then this will be solved. (Well, not for Marimekko. They have serious problems with their creative, business and communication processes).

Thrifty Finn- Loosing Twitter-followers faster than I can type Marimekko :D

P.S. I will be back to regular blogging soon ;)



Marimekko Released a Statement

marimekko, louekari, plagiaatti, Helsinki

Edited to add: Original inspiration picture has been found. You can see it HERE.

Marimekko released a statement about two hours ago regarding Hetkiä/Moments-print. For those who don’t know, last night someone came forward with this bag on the left and said she bought it in Barcelona in 2001. The Marimekko print on the right is from 2003. Marimekko’s statement is as follows:

YLE published on their website on Wednesday 25.9.2013 that recent allegations regarding Marimekko, reminded a so far anonymous person about similarities between print designed by Marimekko designer Maija Louekari in year 2003, Hetkiä/Moments, and a purse she possibly bought in Barcelona on her holiday.

“I confirm that Hetkiä/Moments is my design. I took part with it in a competition organized by Marimekko and University of Art & Design Helsinki. The bag bought in Barcelon, seen in the news, in my opinion is the copy. I’ve seen the bag myself (often), after the print was produced by Marimekko and been wondering about it’s similarity. My Hetkiä/Moments-prints inspiration came from Helsinki streetviews. I drew the view in the city center from a point where you look towards Fabianinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi. This Helsinki view is can also be seen in the nameless’ source’s bag from Barcelona”, says Louekari.

“Maija Louekari won a competition organized by University of Art & Design Helsinki and Marimekko for young designers with her Hetkiä/Moments print in 2003. Louekari’s print collection of various city views appealed the jury. With the win, Hetkiä/Moments, was selected to be produced and launched as part of Marimekko’s Spring 2004 home decoration collection”, says Marimekko’s creative director Minna Kemell-Kutvonen.

As part of statement is a scan of Louekari’s competition piece from 2003, and today 26.9.2013 taken photograph from Helsinki, the corner of Fabianinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi, which was the inspiration for Hetkiä/Moments.

Nakyma Helsingin Fabianinkadun ja Pohjoisesplanadin risteyksesta

You can download the original images from the statement HERE. I will now try to argue why I still think this is very much of an open case.

Skannaus Maija Louekarin kilpailutyosta vuodelta 20033

If you look at the page 1 of the scan, you can see cityscapes of many European cities. I can for sure recognize the one from Holland and the one with narrow, curved street looks like something from Paris. And I should know, I lived in the previous one for years and the latter, I’ve visited 5-6 times already. In one picture there’s even japanese/chinese writing. But all is good still here, they say in the statement that “various city views”, they didn’t specify Helsinki.

In a closer look, the page is A4 in size (even if it was A3) but there’s a lot of detail per image. It says that it’s a scan of Louekari’s competition piece. So I’m assuming that she scanned her sketches and then printed them out. Which means this is a scan of a scan. Then in the middle, there’s an odd cut-off point which looks like that there was two separate pieces of paper on top of each other when the scanning was done. But I can’t tell was this done in the original, competition version or in this second scan. Then on the bottom there’s a piece of paper with text “Printti: Kuvia kaupungista”, laying on top of the paper/sketch. Again, cannot tell if it’s in the competition piece or added for this scan.

Skannaus Maija Louekarin kilpailutyosta vuodelta 20032

On the second page we see two sketches. As they stand on a blank background, I’m assuming that two separate images were imported into this page. Again, I cannot tell if this was done in the original competition piece or for this proof scan. However, here we see the words Sade1 and Printti, Eteläespa.

marimekko, louekari

Now on the third page we see three prints: Sade, Eteläespa and Terassi. On previous page we see the name Sade assigned to the Eteläespa but here we can see a print with people carrying umbrellas, the second is Eteläespa and on the bottom Terassi. In this scan we basically see three sketches that have been scanned  and cleaned up in Photoshop and then some attempted colourings. A personal comment…I remember when I started learning Photoshop for printing in art school. This is exactly how my colouring went when I didn’t yet understand how tools worked. I’d randomly click on my sketch and the go “ooh” and “aah” when something design-ish appeared in the screen.

Now, Marimekko and Louekari states that the view is from Helsinki and took a photograph this morning to prove it. However, where do the other sketches come from? Did she travel to those places herself and took photos and then used them for sketching? The sketch style in itself is not original, there wasn’t an art student at that time who hadn’t dabbled with don’t-lift-the-pen-technique, myself included. Which places were inspiration for Sade and Terassi?

Then the questionable print…Marimekko and Louekari states that this is from the corner of Fabianinkatu and Pohjoisesplanadi. However in the competition piece (of which we now know only that it’s a scan of a competition piece that Marimekko says is a competition piece) it states the name Eteläespa. Which is a nickname for Eteläesplanadi, the SOUTHERN opposite of Pohjoisesplanadi. Then more problems, the scale is wrong. On Pohjoisesplanadi cars aren’t that close to the sidewalk NOR the area of Esplanadi where the benches actually are. Something else missing too, the hustle and bustle seen in the sketch. But guess where they ARE situated like that? And where there is movement, and hustle and bustle? In Barcelona. On La Rambla:

barcelona, la ramblaWhat else I got? I don’t want to sound like Matlock but my friend just called. We had the following conversation:

He: I don’t think the print is about Helsinki
Me: How come?
He: The car in the pic. It’s a japanese model that wasn’t sold in Finland at all. It was popular in Central and Southern Europe though.
Me: ????

Here we have Marimekko and Marimekko’s designer saying the print isn’t a copy. Trying to prove it with a photo taken this morning, in a location that doesn’t match the “original” print name, and with scans of pages we cannot verify when they were made/printed, of sketches we cannot verify where the sketches came from. Memory? Photographs? Whose photographs?

Only when we can check the manufacturer of the bag that started it all and the date it was made, we can definitely say if Hetkiä is an original piece or not. Right now, with the shaky lines, it looks like it was traced through ON a very uneven surface, very quickly.

Thrifty Finn- Nearly missing gym because of this

P.S. If you know the person who told YLE about the bag, please let her know that I’m interested in the company name. She can contact me via thriftyfinn(at)gmail.com