Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Snow, art, snow in Helsinki

More snow is landing on the streets of Helsinki, with the wind blowing sideways on my face. I draw the hood over my face and continue walking. Normally a busy street, Keskuskatu street is now practically empty of people.

Two blocks away, at the main railway station, it is also getting more quiet, although the flow of people rushing to the trains is still steady. On the western wing, a work of art is stopping some of the passers-by.
Kaarina Kaikkonen's Where's my home (Missä kotini on) consists of old bags and suitcases, all piled up on a house-like structure. When I look at the bag-house from this side, for a moment I see in it a serious shape, like a tiny chapel. Travel size?
From the other side, the now colorful pile of bags has collapsed and no longer resembles a house. It is just a messy pile of miscellaneous bags, stranded in this large hall. A different story from this angle.
Above me, the beautiful lamps are like illuminated scrolls of paper, held together by golden bands. I suppose architect Eliel Saarinen designed the lamps as well, not just the railway station building...

I step outside, to face the wind and the snow. Across the street, another one, and another one...

...until I step inside, to walk through Forum shopping mall. Right in the centre of it, there's a work of art that you may not even realize as one: a huge bluish structure called Hopeiset sillat (Silver bridges) by artist Kimmo Kaivanto

When you look down, it seems like it is growing from the ground... And next to it is a square pool on which there is a smaller sculpture by Kimmo Kaivanto. A recent newspaper article speculated that the 15-meter tall Silver bridges may face problems once the renovation project of the mall enters the central square...It is not easy to move it around!
Outside again, I take Yrjönkatu street and pass hotel Torni. I see a glimpse of colored lights from the yard and get curious...
Hotel Torni's snowy back yard is decorated with fairy lights and bright-coloured lanterns in funny shapes. And that's not all.
Is this actually an outdoor bar or just a mock-up? The stools are wearing furry covers and it looks genuine enough, although there's no bartender in sight. Perhaps this weather isn't the best for sitting down for a drink outside, with the steady fall of snow continuing. At least the drink would have to be a hot one!
I walk down to Esplanadi park that leads to Kauppatori, the market square. The park is beautifully lit, with fairy lights covering some tall trees. The memorial for writer Zacharias Topelius, close to the Swedish Theatre (Svenska Teatern) depicts two young maidens looking in opposite directions. The one with her hand pointing to the sky is wearing a yellow bracelet - knit graffiti!

Close by, I hear someone blow into a whistle. After that, something heavy falls onto the street. And again. And again. What is it? A policeman? No. Just someone making sure that nobody will be injured by snow! Now that the streets are more quiet, it is a good time to go up on the roof and shovel the snow down from there safely, before it accidentally falls down by itself and injures innocent passers-by by landing on them with a thud.


  1. Hello, Very nice blog - I will stop by from time to time and read about your walks in Finland.