Kauppatori Stage is a summer dancefloor and seating area located in the historical center of Helsinki. Positioned between the renown traditional market square and the ferry boat to Suomenlinna, Kauppatori Stage offers a panoramic overview of the harbor featuring some of the most iconic scenery within the Finnish capital.
The project draws inspiration from the many islands off Finland’s coast, with their fragmented and intricate contours, to propose an urban object capable of attracting locals and visitors alike. Much like an archipelago, the stage is composed of elements in various sizes and shapes that individually respond to different uses.
The central element to Kauppatori Stage is a large deck that is capable of hosting dance sessions with adjacent seating elements, allowing you to catch your breath and enjoy the music without needing to leave the area. The varying height of each seating element creates a playfully layered topography, one that can be climbed to admire the elevated view towards the sea and the setting sun. Even when not dancing, the stage always allows visitors to come and engage with the space, no matter whether it is taking a break from a day of tourism or enjoying an office get-together party – all while appreciating the noises, smells and ambiance of the busy market square.
One of the key points in the conceptualization was to create a stage that could be used temporarily in any place of the city with a shape that could evolve every time it would change location. The needs of each location and each targeted group of users would influence the plan, creating an ever-changing experience. While the overall composition is of a naturally shaped grouped of islands, each individual element originates from a precise modularity that answers to many different possible uses. This modularity allows to an infinite number of combinations, reminiscent of the seemingly infinite number of islands in the Finnish Archipelago.
All the islands are divided into different levels, created by superposing rings of glue laminated beams of local wood covered by a larch decking. Each element was prefabricated off-site to then be brought together to Kauppatori in downtown Helsinki within a few days. The relative light weight of the structure allows for easy transportation, assembly, disassembly and relocation.
Above all, Kauppatori Stage offers a pleasant hangout area in the active heart of Helsinki. Inspired by natural shapes, it creates a simple and locally grounded experience for everyone.