Otava Publishing Company Ltd.

Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava/Otava Publishing Company Ltd. was founded in 1890 by Hannes Gebhard and Eliel Aspelin-Haapkylä to publish Finnish national literature. Now it publish over 500 titles a year; fiction, non-fiction, children books, school books etc. Beautiful, art-nouveau Otava headquarters building in central Helsinki, designed by Karl Lindahl and Walter Thomé was built in 1905. In the darkest night-time you can also see this blue neonlight shining like a stars over Uudenmaankatu…




Pharmacist Yrjö Wilhelm Jalander bought a corner plot of Korkeavuorenkatu and Ratakatu, where he built in 1920 a residential building, well-known as a Jalander house. In this house he opened a pharmacy, which served in the same place until 2007. This Leo-pharmacy represents the Danish brick architecture style. Granite relief above the entrance is designed by sculptor Viktor Jansson. Unfortunately, I do not know who designed this fine glass sign with its golden letters.



Signs in the Tram Museum

This small and free museum is devoted to the Helsinki trams and located at the City´s oldest tram depot (from 1900), which is a part of Korjaamo Cultural Factory. The museum presents tram history on grassroots level, from a passenger´s point of view. They have historic trams on display that you and your kids can climb around on and stamp your own tickets there also. On the wall there are lot of old, wooden and handpainted signs from 1920-30´s. I really love the colors and style of the these vintage signs.

Tram Museum



For some reason, this yellow, plastic barber shop sign with missing and repaired fonts and very old phone number fascinates me. Such varying typography from 60´s looks actually quite trendy to me. This small  barber shop, J&S Parturi is located in Töölö, at Vänrikki Stoolinkatu 10.

J&S Parturi



Arkadiankatu 16

Before the First World War, more than half of the apartment buildings in Helsinki was designed by contractors. This was due to very high demand for small housies, as well as architects’ lack of interest of designing them. Leuto A. Pajunen was one most popular of the building contractors. He designed and built over 30 buildings for the middle class, mainly at Töölö, and created solutions for self-employed and increasing working women set of needs.
In this picture you can see the name of the house ”Fred-Karia” and the designer ’s initials ”LaP”, on the wall at Arkadiankatu 16, Helsinki.

Arkadiankatu 16


Arkadiankatu 14

Here is another  beautiful wall signature of contractor Leuto A. Pajunen at Arkadiankatu 14, Töölö. This green house was built in 1921 and the famous sculptor Gunnar Finne had his ateljé there in that time. In the 1960’s his ateljé was transformed into a restaurant and nowadays you can find one of the best Finnish restaurants, Ateljé Finne, over there.

Arkadiankatu 14


Hakaniemen kauppahalli

The Market Hall, designed by Karl Hård af Segerstad, was opened in 1914. This traditional-style Finnish food market is located near the Hakaniemi metro. It has approx. 70 shops in two floors selling foodstuff and in the 2nd floor shops souvenirs, textiles, books and handicrafts. This is one of my favourite places in Helsinki because of its authenticity. Fortunately the big old neon sign on the roof is protected by National Board of Antiquities.

Hakaniemen Kauppahalli



Restaurant Lehtovaara is among Helsinki’s longest-established restaurants. Founded by Confectioner Emil Lehtovaara in Vyborg in 1916, it was sold to Stockholm-born Ragnar Hansson in 1922. When the Winter War (1939) began, most of Vyborg’s citizens were evacuated and Hansson moved Lehtovaara to Helsinki in 1940. The restaurant has occupied the same premises ever since, in the Taka-Töölö neighbourhood next to the Sibelius Park. This beautiful neon sign above the door is probably designed in 40´s, too.

Ravintola Lehtovaara



Handelsgillet is a traditional private gentlemen ’s club , and the oldest of its kind in Finland . Club apartment has been located in the same spot at Kasarminkatu 23 since 1926. The house was built in 1918 and designed by architects von Essen, Kallio & Ikäläinen. These bold, golden letters are still very stylish.



Karl Fazer Café

Karl Fazer Café is a modern classic café where the entire history of Fazer started in 1891. It´s the flagship café for the mighty chocolate empire and it´s an ideal place to buy Fazer confectionery, fresh breads and cakes. Karl Fazer Café is located in Helsinki on Kluuvikatu street.

Karl Fazer Café and this impressive chrome sign from 20´s above the entrance are familiar for everybody in Helsinki. The building was designed by Gösta Juslén.

Karl Fazer Café

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