Old customs warehouse goes design

It is just an old red brick building – some might say – but for me it is something more. I just love the old customs warehouse at Katajanokka designed by Gustav Nyström and built in 1901. My relationship with the building started over 20 years ago, when I visited the building with school for the very first time to participate in a design competition on the future use of this abandoned beauty. In my plans the building turned into a public library with some cafés and restaurants in it. My design got a special mention and I received a 50 marks stipend (less than 10 € today).

Still today the old warehouse is only in use for special events and just from May until October as there is no heating. In rare occasions the events are open to public. Luckily it is the main venue for Helsinki Design Week housing exhibitions and events – like HDW Children’s Weekend today and tomorrow! The old bricks and new design products combine just perfectly together, don’t they?

Old Customs Warehouse Old customs warehouseOld customs warehouse Old Customs Warehouse Old Customs Warehouse



  1. Exellent pictures and a great thing you published this Leena.

  2. Giulia

    Lovely 🙂 I remember you telling me about your public library idea in front of this very building, and that particular bit of info engraved the place in my memory. The ‘dining room’ with the tree is amazing!

  3. Giulia

    It was such a nice thing to hear, that I still remember it easily!

  4. Giulia

    (Also, it was one of that day’s first chances for precarious pause on Kari’s bike – that must have helped my memory, as well ;))

  5. You did just well with the bike – no one got hurt 😉

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