Helsinki, Finland
Jyrki, 37
Architect & Designer
see his Helsinki city guide

ask Jyrki about

walkways art galleries karaoke fine dining local design ice cream shop boutiques

What do you do and why do you do it?

I am a Finnish architect and designer with a special interest in systems design and design leadership. I am interested in cities, both how we experience them as individuals and how they function as complex systems. I currently work as the head of design at Holvi. My previous positions include chief design officer of Wanderfeel, founder and managing director of Mapdon and chief technology officer of Restaurant Day. I am also a DJ and a wannabe art collector.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

For me music is just rhythm, sounds, harmonies and other fields of mathematics. I quite rarely pay attention to the vocal parts. If I'm heartbroken I go for a walk or exercising (without any background music) to clear my thoughts.

What are the best TV shows of all time?

I think I've been the most excited about American Gladiators and Knight Rider. However I haven't watched much TV since I moved away from my childhood home. Recently I've found Silicon Valley and the Swedish series Solsidan quite funny though.

Name some spots in Helsinki that are good for a Tinder date.

I'd go for a 4-5 course menu at restaurant Grön or to the snake exhibition Tropicario – both are excellent places for finding out how your tastes match.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

Most of my clothes are from random menswear stores I've stumbled upon on my holiday trips. Shopping for mens clothing in Helsinki is usually a waste of time, as the selections are often quite limited and the prices expensive. When I'm in a less familiar city I tend to be much more curious and spontaneous – I quite often might just pop into an interesting looking store and buy a couple of practical clothes so that I don't need to think about shopping at all for the next half a year or so.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

I grew up in eastern Helsinki and still find it somewhat difficult to navigate in the northern and western parts of the city. I've nothing against those areas, though, I just quite rarely go there (as you can see from my map of recommendations). In general I like to explore the city as much as possible and usually try to favor routes that take me to to new places.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

I like Helsinki in winter, when there's a lot of fresh white snow everywhere AND the sun is shining (or there's at least some daylight). That's a quite rare combination, and if such conditions happen, I'm usually busy at work or out of town.

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Helsinki? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

One of the most expensive places in Helsinki is Hotel Torni, which has a nice fine-dining restaurant with a few private cabinets, a panorama bar and many other exclusive facilities. I've spent my money in the panorama bar countless times (already as a poor student). Not regretting anything though :)

What restaurant in Helsinki looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

It's easy to miss Restaurant Grön, as it located in a shabby office building along an unpleasantly busy street (with narrow sidewalks and lots of car traffic). However it's definitely on of the best fine dining restaurants in Helsinki and you shouldn't miss it! Remember to book a table in advance.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Helsinki? Which one do you like?

You should head to A21 in Annankatu and try any of their takes on the classics. The same owners run also restaurant Starter in Kamppi, which I think is currently the best lunch place in Helsinki by far.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Helsinki?

Most restaurants in the upper price range that serve 'traditional Finnish housemade food', which to me is just a synonym for expensive, unimaginative and unhealthy food that nobody actually eats at home.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Helsinki. How do you spend it?

I recently bought a new flat in Sörnäinen which I'm really happy about. I'd probably start my day with a morning run around Mustikkamaa island, and go to the sauna afterwards (either at my place or Kulttuurisauna in Merihaka). Later I'd invite my friends for a dinner, empty a few bottles of sparkling wine and head out for an unforgettable night in Musta härkä. If there'd still be energy left after all the karaoke and dancing, I'd lead the group to any of the Otaniemi speakeasies run by technology students.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I love Madrid, and would like to live there some day. The food is just amazing, and there are nice squares, terraces and rooftop bars behind every corner. The art scene is almost exhausting and you can spend days in the art museums and galleries. Even though Madrid is one of the biggest cities in Europe, the people are still friendly, polite and talkative (unlike in many other cities of the same or smaller size).

photos by

Callum Hale-Thomson