HELST Architects: timeless, beautiful designs with a Nordic soul
By Trine Ejlskov Jensen-Martin | Photos: HELST Oy
A visionary and creative architecture company in Helsinki are helping their clients turn dreams into realities. They create sustainable and sensory homes with a focus on longevity, flexibility and beauty. The designs themselves are timeless, the materials environmentally sound, and each home has, like life itself, room for change.
Founded by Jens Rasmussen from Sweden and Rabbe Tiainen from Finland, HELST Architects has its base in Helsinki. The pair met whilst studying at Aalto University. “We were working in large-scale offices on big design and building projects such as hospitals,” says Rabbe. “But we wanted to work more closely with both people and materials,” adds Jens.
Working alongside one another, they realised that they wanted to create something different and unique together. In 2016, they founded HELST, which is going strong today with a string of exceptional projects and hugely grateful clients behind them. Jens and Rabbe bring a youthful creative eye to contemporary Nordic architecture and design, and every build they produce is bespoke and client-focused.
It’s all in the name
They each bring different cultural influences and experiences to their projects, which is reflected in the company’s name. HELST is an amalgamation of Rabbe’s Finnish background and Jens’ Swedish upbringing, combining the words HELsinki and STockholm. “We wanted to merge our ideas and views on architecture and design by mixing elements of Finnish minimalist architecture with the more colourful Swedish approach,” says Rabbe.
The word ‘helst’ also means ‘most preferable’, and is a nod to the company’s careful and considerate approach when choosing each project. HELST take on projects they feel strongly about, where they can work closely with their clients to create functional and beautiful buildings. Jens and Rabbe are driven by passion and creativity, and they have a clear vision of the company’s core ethos.
Sustainability over time
“We make buildings that are enduring in design and function, as well as beautiful and environmentally sustainable,” they agree. At HELST, projects are crafted with close attention to the impact that buildings will have on the environment and on the wellbeing of their clients – who are at the heart of the company. “We want to design high-quality houses with heart,” Jens explains.
The care Jens and Rabbe have for each project and client is evident. They do not just design buildings, they create homes. The pair’s working relationship has evolved over the years; where initially they would work together on every stage of design and creation, these days they take turns leading projects, with one always taking on the role of main designer, and the other giving input.
“We want to get to know the people we work with, and go on a journey with them that culminates in their dream, tailor-made home,” Rabbe says. “Involving the client in the process is crucial.” The materials they use are environmentally-conscious and the designs themselves are neither too modern, nor too traditional, ensuring that they never date.
The houses are made to be flexible and organic, able to adapt over time in step with the changing lives of the users. “It is important that our buildings can change as family life and dynamics change. Leaving room for change is a crucial part of our home-design approach,” explains Jens. They achieve this through close collaboration with the client, meeting several times to understand their needs and to integrate them in the design solutions. “We are firm believers in listening to people, which is evident in our working environment, our approach to the company, and the relationships we develop with our clients,” Jens says.
So far, HELST have worked solely on successful projects in Finland, but they are open to branching out. “We intend to expand into Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia,” Rabbe says. The style of their designs and their bespoke approach is well-matched to Nordic sensibilities and values, and it is likely only a matter of time before other Nordic countries open their eyes, ears and hearts to what HELST has to offer. There is no doubt that this company will continue to create timeless and beautiful homes with impressive skill, genuine care and real soul.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Receive our monthly newsletter by email