Free City of Kalasatama

In recent years, there has been a lot of temporary activities in Kalasatama, Helsinki, like Container Square, urban culture, graffiti, skating, Sompasauna and various events. I wanted to preserve the spirit of this Kalasatama, which has brought the much needed freedom to the city center. To create space for self-reliance, collaboration, art, culture, and people. And try, what we can achieve together.

And thus Kalasataman Vapaakaupunki, Free City of Kalasatama, was born

In the first phase of Kalasataman Vapaakaupunki Suvilahti became a new urban oasis for two months (18 May – 15 July 2018). Respecting the heritage of the area it is built using containers, which adapt to the scene of various events. In addition to the containers, there are also barbecue facilities and a park with urban gardening.

Kalasataman Vapaakaupunki is for us all. There anyone can arrange an event free of charge, as long as it’s open, free and fits with the values ​​and spirit of Vapaakaupunki. We also help with the arrangements and offer for example electricity, audio technology and also a sound technician for the event organisers free of charge.

Anyone can go to the Kalasataman Vapaakaupunki any time. Even if there is no program there, you can go for a picnic or just to spend a summer day there. We also offer grills for use when there are events happening in Vapaakaupunki.

Free City of Kalasatama became a big success in its first phase. In the course of two months, there were about 30 music events and, in addition, yoga, capoeira, sewing workshop and more special events such as a wrestling show.

The main partner of the project is the new REDI shopping center in the region, but it has not affected the content of the site in any way. And this is how you do good things together: by trusting people. Continuation for Vapaakaupunki is already planned.




Nearby In Your Neighbourhood

Sharing a meal among strangers and different kinds of communal food events have been very popular in Helsinki – and elsewhere – over the last few years. Most of the events are however concentrated in the city center and the participants are largely people, who are active consumers of culture anyway. How could such activities be brought into the neighbourhoods outside the city center? How could you bring people together there as well?

This is what we are aiming to achieve together with HUMAK University of Applied Sciences with the Nearby In Your Neighbourhood project. The project brings cultural events into certain neighbourhoods of different cities. The project, started in the autumn of 2016, experiments with different ways to bring people to eat together in the different neighbourhoods of Helsinki, Vantaa, Turku and Jyväskylä. We are creating concepts that anyone can later on put into practice in their own neighbourhoods.


Jänö – vegan grill kiosk

When the city of Helsinki announced that they were going to auction off five of the traditional kiosks from 1950s in May 2016, Joonas Pekkanen got an idea. Could there be enough people interested in vegan food that you could purchase one of the kiosks through crowdfunding?

The idea got an enthusiastic response on Facebook, and so we decided to try out this wacky idea. We founded a cooperative, started a crowdfunding campaign and in two weeks collected more than 40 000 euros – and won the auction. The kiosk, located next to the National Museum and representing a functionalist style, was named Jänö (Rabbit, in Finnish), and celebrated its opening already in August 2016. Hundreds of people showed up already on the first day. Even when the dishes were made as fast as possible, the line to the kiosk was tens of meters long all throughout the day.

Jänö operated with success all throughout the autumn of 2016, after which it was closed for a thorough renovation. Also solar panels were installed on the roof. Nowadays Jänö is open for the summer season, but closes for winter. But it is also more than just a kiosk. It organises events and pop up restaurants, and we even have our own juice, that can be bought in many stores.




YIMBY Dinner

In the summer and autumn of 2015 the arrival of the refugees in Finland caused a lot of discussions and also fear in Helsinki. It is, of course, easy to be afraid of something you don’t know. Together with Helsinki Deaconess Institute we decided to do something about it, and so in September 2015, we arranged a dinner for the people of Helsinki and the refugees.

We prepared the food with the students of the Deaconess Institute along with other volunteers, and invited the old and the new neighbours to share the dinner, where you would be able to taste the flavours of all of our home countries. The dinner was partly made with food donations and included a variety of different vegetarian courses. Payment for the meal was voluntary, so that everyone could join in. Once we added candles and a DJ the dinner turned out to be quite the party!


Social Kitchen

Social Kitchen is a pop up -restaurant, ran by unemployed people and led by the chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and Jaakko Blomberg. Social Kitchen is arranged in different places in different times, and with different themes, which the participants will get to know before founding the restaurant. This restaurant is not about being fancy: you can make mistakes and you have to have fun. There will be, in any case, high quality and tasty food with a price for every budget. Social Kitchen was first launched in the autumn of 2015 as a part of the project “Overtakers” that Yhteismaa and Tatsi ry started together with the support of RAY.


Restaurant Wasted Space

Cities are full of spaces, with which you could do so much more. We fill them for a moment with good food, drinks, company and art. We invite friends and strangers. And see what’s cooking.

The restaurant Wasted Space (“waste space” in Finnish) is a concept created by myself, Jyrki Tsutsunen and Johanna Kunelius. The chef Jyrki Tsutsunen brings the flavours usually used only in fancy restaurants into new, more relaxed surroundings. The guests are in for a surprise menu made from the best ingredients in the season – and the price is reasonable for every budget. The atmosphere is finished by the interior design created by Johanna Kunelius and the visiting artists.

The restaurant Wasted Space got started with the idea to create a new restaurant that would be more relaxed, social, fun and interesting. The restaurant is set up always to one place at a time – and only for one night. Until now there have been restaurants in my home, at a gas station, in a furniture factory, old book press, former music shop, art museum, greenhouse and at a school yard. Check the Facebook page for further information or send me a message if you want to join in!

Encounters. People, Stories and Flavours from the Neighbour

What do you get, when you combine Russia with storytelling, photography book and a cook book?

Encounters. People, stories and flavours from the neighbour is a Finnish-Russian project that focuses on normal Russian people, their everyday life, food culture and stories. We travel to different parts of Russia from March until August, and at the end of 2016, this trip will be turned into a book and an exhibition.

Encounters got started from the need to give the voice to normal Russians in a time where the media only gives us stories of big political events and often brings us only negative news. By doing this, the project will also increase people’s understanding and broadens their minds about Russia.

The project will take place in five different areas, Krasnodar, Murmansk, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Kazan. The areas were chosen because of their geographical and cultural diversity: they are all located in different parts of Russia and have their own distinctive cultures.

The project team includes  Jaakko Blomberg, Jyrki Tsutsunen, Aleksandra Nenko, Anton Polski, Maria Niemi and a few Russian photographers. The main foundation for the project is given by Kone Foundation and its main collaborator is Cultura Foundation.







Kimchi Days

Along with every other events I occasionally organise pop up-restaurants, usually in collaboration with the chef Jyrki Tsutsunen. The restaurant needs to something one-of-a-kind. There needs to be something new and surprising that makes people think differently about things. One of these pop up-restaurants was Kimchi Days, which was opened in Helsinki at the Kustaankatu street for three days in 26.-28.2.2015. The working space was turned into a pop up restaurant, where we served a dish that used the Korean fermented cabbage kimchi as one of its main ingredients. The kimchi enthusiast Jyrki Tsutsunen was responsible for the menu and the atmosphere was completed by the music from DJ Ström. At the end of the day I asked the asylum seekers’ from the nearby reception centre to come and eat the rest of the food. And what a fun day it was! Oh and why organise Kimchi Days? Well, why not?



Cake Exhibition

The Cake Exhibition is an exhibition, an event and a coffee time for all those who love cake. A bunch of baking enthusiasts bring out their favourite cake along with its story and its recipe. Anyone can take part in any kind of cake they want. The cake might have special meaning: it might be learnt from your mother, you might have made it up yourself or you just might love it for other reasons. This exhibition is not about competition, so any kind of ugly try-outs and failed attempts are welcome! The definition of cake in this event is also somewhat broad, so changing the meaning of cake is completely acceptable!

The exhibition itself (and eating the cakes) is for the bakers, but each of them can invite four other friends to enjoy the treats of the exhibition. The cakes are first there just to be admired, after which they are eaten together. An hour later everyone can come and enjoy the exhibition.

The Cake Exhibition started from an idea to combine an art gallery, sweet treats, sharing recipes and enjoying a cup of coffee together. I have organised the Cake Exhibition since October 2015 in the gallery/coffee shop Rupla in Helsinki.


Dinner under the Sky

The idea for “The dinner under the sky” came up, when we at Yhteismaa started to wonder, how we could celebrate Helsinki’s birthday at June 12th. We thought that the best – and the most natural – way would be to organise a huge dinner for all the people in the city.

“The dinner under the sky” was first organised at 12.6.2013 in Helsinki at the Pohjoisesplanadi street as part of the Helsinki Day celebrations. A dinner table for 1000 people was set up on the street, which was closed from traffic that day. The participants brought their own dinner and enjoyed each other’s company. The 1000 places for this free event were filled within the matter of a few minutes. Even when it started to rain, people still stayed at their tables and enjoyed themselves.

The first event was such a big success that it was made an annual part of the Helsinki Day celebrations. It is now organised by both Yhteismaa and the city of Helsinki. The event has also spread to many other cities.