Helsinki-based Werklig creates ‘lovely’ industrial identity

Smoothing the edges of something industrial and potentially abrasive, Helsinki-based studio Werklig, commissioned an identity for Ihana Kahvila — which is loosely translated as the lovely or wonderful cafe, located in a converted freight container in Helsinki’s newest artisinal hub, Kalasatama. Originally a harbour, this unique piece of land is currently being transformed into a residential area for an estimated 17000 people over the next few years.

Required to create an identity that appeared to be ‘lovely and wonderful’ in contrast to the rugged surroundings of the cafe, the studio explain that “it was evident from really early on that we wanted to keep freight container element somehow present in the identity. Something capturing the essence of it. The container shape and structure with corrugated surface was therefore taken as a basis for the design.”

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Drawing from the industrial environment, “the cafe’s seating system was created with heavy duty cube bags: this gave another visual hint. These primary elements (geometrical angles, the essence of a container, cubic forms) were then sampled together in order to create a personalised wallpaper pattern. Of course we needed to tweak the elements so the final result would be indeed lovely (Ihana), not of just a boring pile of geometric container stuff.”

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Having also created elements to be used in the interior, the wallpaper incorporates “only technical, geometric and ‘cold’ shapes and forms [yet] the final result is very traditional, warm and even feminine. When seen from a distance the wallpaper actually looks like a basic floral wallpaper, which was also our original objective (a little bit of trompe-l’œil Werklig-style).”

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Reversing the expected identity design process almost entirely, the logo was created after the wallpaper, “as the wallpaper/pattern became such a dominant element we decided to do all the other identity elements based on it.” Remaining cohesive, the “typography follows the industrial-meets-floral -theme. A sans-serif typeface (such as usually seen in container markings) is spiced by a ornamental feminine slab serif typeface with swashes.”


Since its opening, Ihana Kahvila received a prize for promoting Helsinki food culture and Werklig’s identity was featured in the Finnish Design Yearbook 2012-13

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