Joanna Laajisto designs interior for Popolo restaurant at Pyhä Ski Resort

Helsinki-based designer Joanna Laajisto has completed Popolo, a ski resort restaurant designed to be both cosy and practical for guests walking in from the slopes.

The Studio Joanna Laajisto founder designed the pizzeria as part of Kultakero, a new hotel at the Pyhä Ski Resort in northern Finland.

Corner table in Popolo pizza restaurant at Pyhä Ski Resort in Finland
The interior pairs slate flooring with patterned timber wall panelling

Her scheme features a floor made from irregularly shaped slabs of slate and wall panelling with distinct feather-like grain patterns.

Other key details at Popolo include leather seating and copper lamps and candleholders, which offer a sense of warmth.

Dining tables and window overlooking ski slopes in Popolo pizza restaurant at Pyhä Ski Resort in Finland
Snowy scenes outside the window allowed for a darker material palette

“The restaurant is designed to fit into the unique landscape of Pyhä; easily approachable yet atmospheric, suitable for both skiing directly from the slope and an atmospheric multi-course dinner,” Laajisto said.

The designer based the design on her own experiences of the area. She has a vacation home in Pyhä and spends much of her time snowboarding and mountain biking here.

“I have spent most of my winter holidays in this place with family and friends, so I just imagined a space we would all love to spend time in,” she told Dezeen.

Bar and tables in Popolo pizza restaurant at Pyhä Ski Resort in Finland
Copper lamps and candleholders bring a sense of visual warmth

The large windows, offering views of the snow-covered slopes, led her to explore materials that might otherwise have felt inappropriate.

“Those elements allowed us to create a dark and woody interior without it becoming too heavy or classical for a Finnish ski resort,” she said.

The slate floor, made with stone sourced from northern Norway, takes cues from the floor in Pyhä’s original hotel.

Laajisto explained how this stone floor, which has been in place since 1966, has remained in “mint condition” despite 60 years of being walked over in ski boots.

“That’s why I knew it would be a durable and lasting choice,” she said.

Bar in Popolo pizza restaurant at Pyhä Ski Resort in Finland
A pizza oven is a focal point in the space

For the wood panelling, which also features on Popolo’s tabletops, Laajisto chose a birch plywood with a veneer that was pad-dyed to give it a rich dark tone.

The striking grain patterns come from cutting the logs at an angle.

Dining table in Popolo pizza restaurant at Pyhä Ski Resort in Finland
Finnish artist Johanna Lumme is responsible for the oil paintings that hang on the walls

Focal points include a large pizza oven and a series of oil paintings by Finnish artist Johanna Lumme, who was specially commissioned to paint the landscape of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park.

Furniture and fittings include wooden chairs and stools from Czech brand TON, pendant lamps from British brand Mullan and a chequered wool textile, which forms upholstered backrests for the leather seating banquettes.

Wooden table with distinct grain patterns
Dining tables feature the same timber grain patterns as the wall panelling

Laajisto has also designed interiors for various restaurants and bars in Helsinki, including wine bar and bakery, The Way, and French bistro, Cafe Savoy.

Other recent projects include the logistics centre for Finnish Design Shop.

The photography is by Mikko Ryhänen.

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