Helsinki Outlet is the first outlet shopping village of its kind in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Audico was responsible for the sound system in the Helsinki Outlet's public areas, the outdoor space, and for the technical implementation of the Moment Magnet light artwork.
Helsinki Outlet is the first outlet shopping village of its kind in the Helsinki metropolitan area. "This type of shopping centre has been long awaited in the Helsinki area, as Finnish consumers are price and quality conscious," says Johanna Haltia, Shopping Centre Director. The Norwegian owner of the centre, Fortus, has long experience in the outlet world. In Finland, the search for the right space was long until it was found on the border between Helsinki and Vantaa, at the junction of Lahdenväylä and Kehä III.
Helsinki Outlet operates in the same way as the outlet villages familiar from Europe's major cities. The stores are connected by a shared outdoor space, with each store accessible via a separate entrance. From the outside, the Outlet is grey and boxy, but the courtyard reveals a lush and elegant outdoor oasis with pine trees and towering light art. The Helsinki Outlet is all about customer comfort and experience.
"Different is a word we have cultivated a lot in the design phase," says Haltia. "We want to deliver a different, pleasant and experiential, shopping experience for people. Scandinavian lines and a sense of space with a European twist!"
As the premises managed by Helsinki Outlet are largely outdoors, traditional shopping centre expertise is not enough for its subcontractors and contractors. "Our partners need to be able to stretch and think out of the box," says Haltia, describing the starting point for Helsinki Outlet's builders, suppliers, installers and other partners.
The "thing" of Helsinki Outlet is its green spaces and lighting. The lighting has been designed by Lighting Design Collective and technically implemented by Audico Systems.
Jari Vuorinen of Lighting Design Collective explains that the basic lighting of Helsinki Outlet is designed to guide the customer path and support the centre's logo theme. "The client wanted a tool for indirect communication and marketing. They didn't want video screens or other traditional av communication in Helsinki Outlet, but asked us if we could come up with something that would do the same thing in a new way." The end result is the light art piece Moment Magnet.
During the day, the copper tubes on the grey surface of Helsinki Outlet come alive with the weather, reflecting sunlight. In the evening, the work also draws inspiration from its surroundings, and even current events, but instead of sunlight, it then makes spectacular use of visual means. It is a kind of Internet Of Things tool in a commercial context: 'The work retrieves and uses different kinds of data. For example, the direction and speed of the wind can influence what is shown in the work. Of course, it can also be managed by the artist, and a shopping centre can react quickly to a hockey game, for example, via Moment Magnet." Vuorinen is also interested in the possibility of inviting different video artists to create their own works at Moment Magnet for the enjoyment of Helsinki Outlet visitors.
Audico Systems acted as a subcontractor to LDC in the project "There are only a few operators in Finland who can do this kind of work. When Audico is involved, we know that the job will be done right", Jari Vuorinen describes the background to the collaboration.
LCD has designed the lighting concept and look of Helsinki Outlet, which Audicon Tapio Järvinen has translated into a technically feasible package. "The project is more efficient and rational when the lighting designer involves a technical partner in the design process at an early stage. This way, the installation and technical aspects are kept in mind throughout and the end result is as planned, not just some technically possible version of an artistic idea," Järvinen points out. Järvinen and LDC have a long history together.
In general, the magic of Helsinki Outlet's lighting is in the details, says Tapio Järvinen. "It's not just even light, but contrasts. Round spotlights are projected to draw the eye to beautiful things, like plantings."
Audico also provided the sound system for the public areas of Helsinki Outlet, the outdoor space. This commission came from the developer's lighting consultant as an independent job. Audico Technology's Jyri Hiltunen was responsible for it on a turnkey basis.
The primary purpose of the sound system is to provide background music for visitors to Helsinki Outlet, but it will also be used for announcements and, if necessary, could be connected to a sound evacuation system. In addition, portable speakers and microphones were supplied to Helsinki Outlet for use at events in the centre.
For Jyri Hiltunen, Helsinki Outlet was a particularly popular project: "Usually, other criteria are overlooked when it comes to orders, but all they wanted from Helsinki Outlet was good sound quality. We wanted to invest in the sound."
Tapio Järvinen of Audicon feels that Helsinki Outlet is an exceptionally beautiful and welcoming centre. An important factor in the success of the centre, he says, was not only the functionality of the centre, but also the way the chosen elements looked and the atmosphere they created. "You can always do things from two perspectives: practical or beautiful, but neither is mutually exclusive," Järvinen points out.
Lassi Välisalo from GSP Group Oy, who was responsible for the construction, was also interviewed for the story.
Text by Heidi Backström
Photos by Inspiroiva Creative Oy/Aatu Heikkonen
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