Isku’s old factory facility is part of the history of Lahti’s furniture industry. The facility has now gradually been renovated for new use, and the old factory has received a new lease on life.
The Isku furniture factory in Lahti was built in several stages between 1957 and 1984. The building has a floor area of about 86,000 m2. The oldest part of the building, the facade facing Mukkulankatu, is a listed property protected by the city’s zoning plan. The old factory is now emptying out as Isku’s furniture manufacturing has already almost been completely transferred to a new facility on an adjacent plot. New uses have been planned for the empty factory, which is developing into a modern student campus and business centre with accompanying services.
Our company’s commission included the architectural design for the entire property, excluding the facilities of the Lahti University of Applied Sciences. In the first phase, the restaurant complex and all the entire future business park’s lobby and reception facilities were renovated. A new kind of corporate campus was designed for the old factory facility, where students and businesses can work side by side.
The restaurant and its lobby are located on the ground floor, and the dining areas connect the school to the rest of the property. A new open stairway to the floor occupied by the Lahti University of Applied Sciences was opened from the lobby, among other changes to the facility. The restaurant seats over 800 people and serves as a meeting place and common living room for everyone in the facility. The Food Market-style open-plan kitchen produces about 2,000 meals a day.
The facade facing Mukkulankatu now has a new cor-ten steel entrance. An art installation has been designed for the new entrance lobby as a result of a competition organized for students at the Lahti Institute of Design in the autumn of 2017. Anne Hirvonen and Petteri Tuukkanen won the competition with their work “Sykli” (Cycle).
The second phase in the design included office and retail premises and two fitness centres. The office spaces are on the second and third floors of the wing facing Mukkulankatu. The floor at the centre of the main frame was raised to allow people to have a view out onto the landscape from the middle of the facility. The raising of the floor was used to create a technical space: most of the HVAC installations were hidden in the floor housing.
Finnish birch recalls the long history of Isku’s furniture factory, starting as a small carpenter’s workshop and becoming one of Finland’s largest furniture factories. The customer’s lumber storage area with thousands of cubic metres of wood also inspired the use of birch. Eventually, the decision was made to use industrially pre-machined lumber.
The restaurant was divided with birch lattice dividers, which hide electrical cabinets and some of the pipe installations. The lobby’s open stairway rests against one of these dividers, separating the restaurant area from the lobby. All the main ventilation ducts were gathered in the middle of the framework and clad with an acoustic lattice with a board surface. The same lattice and board types were used in walls and suspended ceilings, using 20×60 mm in transparent sections and 15×52 mm in solid surfaces. Plywood was also used extensively: all the tables and fronting of the cafeteria’s sales points and the corridor walls were clad with lacquered birch plywood.
The site is furnished with Isku furniture, which only uses PEFC sustainable development forest management certified wood in its manufacture. Isku furniture made in Lahti uses only Finnish particle board and birch plywood, and about 90% of all wood material is purchased from Finland.
The office spaces use plywood in the ceilings and walls of the open office space built on the raised floor. The plywood surfaces extend from the walls to the ceilings with the same distribution of panels. The plywood cladding in the centre mass was given an opaque paint coating.
Sanded black concrete was used for the floor on the ground floor. Old wall surfaces, ceiling beams and cast iron sewers were retained and left in plain sight. The rough textures of the factory emphasize the beauty of the new wood surfaces.
Project in brief
Renovation of old furniture factory of Isku
- Location | Lahti
- Purpose | Restaurant and office space
- Constructor/Client | Koy Keskusportti / Isku Invest Oy
- Architectural Design | WSP Finland Oy
- Structural design | IdeaStructura Oy
- Contractor | Temotek Oy (restaurant), Rakennusliike Virtanen Oy (offices), Forssan Sisärakenne Oy (restaurant wood ceilings)
- Wood component supplier | Selog Oy, S&M tukku Oy, Ab Skandi naviska Träimport Oy and Novowood Oy
- Electrical design | Yhtyneet Insinöörit Oy (restaurant) and Insinööristudio (offices)
- HVAC design | Insinööritoimisto Vahanen Oy (restaurant) and Insinööristudio (offices)
- Year completed | 2019
- Photographs | Tuomas Heikkilä / Isku Interior Oy
- Text | Eija-Riitta Miettinen