Ilse Crawford refreshes Aino and Alvar Aalto’s iconic Savoy restaurant

The Helsinki dining spot gets a nip-tuck

In the heart of the Finnish capital, modernist dining spot the Savoy has undergone a refresh courtesy of Ilse Crawford.

Opened first in 1937, the Helsinki restaurant was designed by architects Aino and Alvar Aalto. The pair conceived its interiors to embody a sense of comfort and intimacy, with rich woods and lush planting, and vivid use of fabrics.

‘Our work takes its cue from the original Aalto interior, taking the restaurant back to its original while refreshing it for today. Savoy needed a bit of repair and a bit of love but it didn’t need reinventing’, says Ilse Crawford.

Original fittings and joinery were restored while the carpet was replaced with a mushroom version that runs throughout. Chairs and sofas were also reupholstered, focusing on a colour palette of soft browns, black and white – colours that sit peacefully within the existing Aalto frame. The layout was tweaked so that it realises the original proportions of the space, as seen in old photographs and Aalto’s drawings.

Eteläesplanadi 14, Helsinki, Finland

Photography: Anton Sucksdorff, courtesy of Savoy restaurant
Photography: Anton Sucksdorff, courtesy of Savoy restaurant

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