joanna laajisto's neutral tones calm hot desking at columbia road's office in helsinki

joanna laajisto's neutral tones calm hot desking at columbia road's office in helsinki

although enriched with a delicate palette of neutral tones, joanna laajisto’s new office design for columbia road in helsinki, finland still distinguishes subtle references to the building’s former life as a bank. now occupied by a digital growth consultancy, the interior has been adapted to enhance the dynamic and flexible needs of their employees.

all images © mikko ryhänen



we wanted to create a sharp look with soft elements for columbia road to match their brand identity. for a creative office where the employees are one of the biggest assets of the company, it is very important that the space feels comfortable and welcoming,says joanna laajisto, lead designer of the project.



with over 50 staff members, columbia road’s new office space is comparatively small at approximately 400 sqm. this is because most the employees work at client premises during the week and only return to the HQ on fridays to touch-base, meet and collaborate as a team. laajisto’s design emphasizes the importance of their common areas, with the kitchen and lounges taking center stage and traditional desk space limited. this enables employees to work where ever they choose, from one of the desks in the open office area to the large bespoke dining table or one of the more private workrooms enclosed with glass doors.



much of the original building structure has remained, though. its large, retail-esque windows look out to the streets of central helsinki, whereas the original high concrete ceilings have been left exposed. referencing the old glory days of the bank, its glossy tile flooring is interrupted by islands of carpet with sharp metal edges that sit below the open office desks and lounge areas. this, as well as the thick natural colored wool felt curtains that separate the working and leisure spaces, create acoustic and visual barriers. the interior’s palette embraces light natural tones of sand, gray and olive green framed by hints of black.



bespoke furniture such as the kitchen, meeting and dining tables and storage were tailor-made. these sit alongside classic pieces like jean prouve’s ‘cite’ lounge chairs and ‘standard’ dining chairs. ‘when it comes to sustainability, quality and longevity plays a major role. it doesn’t matter if a product is made of recycled materials if it is tossed away after few years when moving to a new location for example. we want to specify pieces that people will love and respects so much that they will want to keep them forever, joanna laajisto concludes on columbia road, helsinki.





project info:


client: columbia road

location: helsinki, finland

designer: studio joanna laajisto

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,384 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample