The ones who have been following me for some time know that I am a big fan of the work of Finnish artist JANI LEINONEN. The 39 year-old shooting star plays with logos and symbols of the luxury goods industry.
In 2011, he became famous for kidnapping a Ronald McDonald statue from a McDonald’s restaurant in Helsinki and executing it later (for a previous post, click here please) to raise awareness for ethically produced food. Today, Jani shares his favorite spots of his home town with us. HELSINKI, a magical destination that seems to inspire the artist in many ways.
Your favourite city?
HELSINKI, because my friends live there. I think I would move to Siberia if I got my friends to move there. It´s a nice city with a heart beat, too but I think it´s the people and size that makes it.
Your favourite hotel?
There are many nice hotels in Helsinki, but HOTEL KLAUS K has these amazing art and suites that have been done by artists or designers.
Bulevardi 2-4, 00120 Helsinki, Phone: +358 20 7704700
Your favourite restaurant?
This is also a tricky question. There is a big restaurant boom in Helsinki right now. New amazing restaurants opening all the time. I cannot just say one. I say three, Finnjävel, BasBas and Favela.
FINNJÄVEL (see photo above) just opened with a crazy concept of making fine dine versions of traditional Finnish dishes. Also all the items in the restaurant, from wine glasses to knives and plates are designed by the Sotamaa siblings and produced by local craftspeople.
Eteläranta 16, 00130 Helsinki, Phone: +358 300 472 341
BASBAS (short for Baskeri ja Basso) has ingredient driven menu with small dishes and an amazing atmosphere.
Tehtaankatu 27-29, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: +358 50 4673400
Third is my local bar FAVELA. Despite it’s politically incorrect name it has the most amazing atmosphere in the city. You can go for a beer or have amazing dinner, or there you might not know which you end up doing because the people will grab you to join them.
Mechelininkatu, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 10 2928090
Your favourite bar or nightclub?
I hardly ever go to clubs nowadays but NAVY JERRY’S usually rocks. There are also a lot pop up clubs in Helsinki nowadays. You just have to know where they pop up.
Hietaniemenkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 45 1783868
Your favourite sightseeing spot?
Helsinki’s HIGHEST TOILET is worth checking. It is located in the HOTEL TORNI, which means tower in Finnish. Best view to the city.
Yrjönkatu 26, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 20 1234604
Your favourite beach?
There are so many amazing beaches in Helsinki. Helsinki is a peninsula with tens of islands stuck to it. Some call it Venice of the North. So there are a lot of beaches. My three favourites are Hietsu, Eiranranta and Seurasaari.
The biggest in the city is HIETSU (official name is Hietaniemen rant, see photo above).
Hiekkarannantie 11, Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 310 71431
Right in the city is EIRANRANTA.
Eiranranta, 00150 Helsinki
The nudist beach in SEURASAARI (best architecture).
Seurasaari, Phone: +358 9 310 71493
Your favourite spa/sauna?
There are over 3 million saunas in Finland so this is a tricky question. I love the SAUNA SOCIETY on the island of LAUTTASAARI but there you have to be a member to get in. It has four smoke saunas and three wood heated saunas, right by the sea, about ten minutes from the center.
Vaskiniementie 10, 00200 Helsinki, Phone: +358 50 3724167
Another, new sauna is LÖYLY which just opened to HERNESAARENRANTA. Anyone can go, and it has both smoke and wood heated saunas and you can swim in the sea, so even the demanding ones are satisfied.
Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 6128 6550
Your favourite piece of art in the city?
There is a nice piece by DENISE ZIEGLER called EPIGRAMS FOR PEDESTRIANS in the City of Helsinki. It is a bit difficult to find because it consists of 8 well lids with very interesting texts and aphorisms.
Your favourite museum?
As I am an artist it varies depending on the exhibitions. Top-3 in Helsinki is National gallery Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum HAM and The Museum of Natural History.
NATIONAL GALLERY KIASMA
Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Phone:+358 29 4500501
HELSINKI ART MUSEUM HAM
Aleksanterinkatu 16, 00170 Helsinki, Phone:+358 9 31036630
THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, 00100 Helsinki, Phone:+358 29 4128800
Your favourite shop?
Even thought I deal with multinational brands on my art I wish all shops would be small and selling ethical and ecological local products. Now that all commerce is going online. BUYMEONCE.COM really impressed me with the idea to sell only products that have a life-time guarantee.
Your must-have accessory?
KNIFE and a SHEATH might always come handy for an artist. You never know when you have to start sculpting wood or cut.
The best soundtrack for this destination?
One of my favourite ever Finnish music albums is PALEFACE’S HELSINKI-SHANGRI-LA. It’s a perfect soundtrack as well.
The best book to read while being on vacation there?
KJELL WESTÖ‘s «Where Once We Walked» is novel where the main character is Helsinki. It tells an amazing story of the city and its citizens, how they have changed under the rule of first Sweden, then Russia and the independent Finland with civil and other wars and events.
Jani Leinonen with me at the Art in the Park event at Baur au Lac last year.
Thank you, Jani, for sharing your insider scoop on Helsinki with us!