Helsinki Airport, Aukio area

Location: Vantaa, Finland
Size: 560 m²
Functions: Airport terminal, Immersive seating area, Commercial premises
Scope: Architecture, Interior, Furniture design, Graphic design
Status: Completed 2019
Client: Finavia


The heart of Helsinki Airport’s terminal expansion for non-Schengen and long-haul flights is called Aukio (plaza). The new area is located at the intersection of the current terminal and the new gate area extensions, the South Pier (completed in 2017) and the West Pier (to be completed in phases in 2019). A particular focus is on the needs of transit passengers on flights between Europe and Asia.

Aukio gives arriving and transit passengers their first or even only impression of Finland: state-of-the-art technology and an experience of Finnish nature. The security control area for transfer passengers features a high glass wall, granite floor and birch veneer ceiling. Wood details and other references to Finnish nature are used throughout.

The core of the new area is the double-height central plaza, designed as an oasis of calm and refreshment for weary travellers. The triangular space is encircled by a 75-metre-long and 2-metre-high LED screen displaying a changing Finnish landscape in different seasons. The immersive experience is enhanced by lighting and sound effects and the birch-panelled walls act as an interactive touch screen. The installation is a collaborative effort by OiOi Collective with Granlund Oy, based on a concept by Davidsson Tarkela Architects and Rune & Berg Design Oy.

PES-Architects also designed all fixed furniture and additional signage for the Aukio and security control area and created a new commercial front design, which will be applied to the entire non-Schengen terminal in the future.

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