The prototype for Lippakioski was designed by Helsinki’s city architect Gunnar Taucher in the late 1930s. Lots of them were built in the 1940s and 1950s, but most of the kiosks have fallen in decay and are broken down as a consequence. Nevertheless, one can find some of these remarkable kiosks while roaming around in Finland’s capital — there’s only nineteen of them.
Made of concrete and wood, the most remarkable characteristic of the Lippakioski is the somewhat exaggerated sunshade that prevents customers from getting wet. But it also gives the kiosks a funny look. The interior of the small buildings is still really old-fashioned with those old wooden shelves that you’d find in original shops from the 1950s.
Nowadays, some of the Lippakioski are small coffee bars, serving take away coffee for people passing by. Some of them also have a couple of chairs outside for clients to sit in the sun. Many others are waiting for new functions. Nevertheless, Helsinkians love the Lippakioski as they are part of a collective historical reference, and because they make urban life more special.
Helsinki is 2012’s World Design Capital. Visit Finland invited us to come over to explore the city’s design treasures. The ‘Design in Helsinki’ series highlights the best projects, concepts and designs we came across during our visit.