There are three forms of visual art: Painting is art to look at, sculpture is art you can walk around, and architecture is art you can walk through. The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.
Yesterday I managed to realize something I had wanted to do for about four years already - visit Hvitträsk, one of the most well known studio homes in Finland!
Hvitträsk is located about 30 minutes outside Helsinki in a beautiful natural surrounding and the name derives from the nearby lake (in Swedish: träsk) that was said to have a high level of salt and was hence named the white lake (in Swedish: vit+träsk, in old Swedish hvitträsk).
Hvitträsk was built between 1901-1903 by Finnish architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. It consists of the main building, designed in National Romantic style, built of logs and natural stone, that was both a common studio and a home for Eliel Saarinen and Armas Lindgren for some years after it was completed. During that time, Gesellius lived in the courtyard building and later moved into the north-wing of the main building after Lindgren relocated in Helsinki.
During the early decades, the main building served as both an architectural office and as a cultural home. It was visited by such esteemed Finnish figures as composer Jean Sibelius and art painter Axel Gallen-Kallela. Are you familiar with these persons?
The office's staff also lived at Hvitträsk, and this is where the plans were drawn up for the Helsinki Railway Station, the National Museum of Finland and the monumental Munkkiniemi-Haaga project, among other grand works!!
Hvitträsk is a museum today, and within the courtyard building there is a restaurant and a café. You can see it on this map as point A.
I visited Hvitträsk with six of my colleagues. I'll take you around the house, join in!
The main hall looks somewhat like a typical Finnish countryside home, and that is from where it has taken its national romantic influences. The symbol of the home is a tower which shows often in the interior.
The hall has an impressive chandelier and Finland's most famous rya rug! I thought it was very special that this traditional Finnish rya rug came down the wall on to the floor (usually they are only on the walls). The idea was that it would combine the wall with the floor and make it more accessible. One could even lay on the comfortable rya rug. Have you seen something like it??
The same feature occurred in the following room. Look at this stunning roof! Both the color and form is breathtaking!
The home had a lovely stained glass window and the whole house was filled with beautiful wallpaper!
The view to the lake from upstairs was amazing as well!
We heard from our guide that the home has about 12 fireplaces - all unique and beautifully decorated!
From outside it looked almost castle like from some angles, from others like a superb countryside home!
We enjoyed seeing the house and the garden tremendously!
Have you ever heard about this place? Would you like to visit it?