The architect Birgitta Hjelm-Luontola won first prize in the Residential Buildings category at the 11th edition of the Grand Prix for her project Lux Line.
The project is located in Pori, a historic town in Finland and the capital of the local district. The town is also known by the name Karhukunnat, which translates literally as ‘bear towns’. Founded in 1558 on the banks of the River Kokemäenjoki, it became – at the end of the 16th century – the area’s main trading port for luxury goods, spices, wine and fabric.
The design choices for the home were heavily influenced by nature, making full use of the natural light and opening up the space to showcase its stunning river setting.
Porcelain stoneware from the Marmoker collection is used for flooring and other tiling, striking an ingenious and harmonious balance with rough stone and the warmth of wood.
The need to use a material that was resistant, durable, easy to maintain and available in large sizes and with a glossy finish led the designer to choose the marble-effect porcelain stoneware tiles from the Marmoker collection.
In the spa and bathroom, the designer chose the Statuario Grigio colour, opting for the 90x45cm (35 5/8″x 17 3/4″) format for the flooring and the larger 59x118cm (23 1/4″x46 1/2″) format to create dividing walls. Meanwhile, the Grafite colour and 88x88cm format were chosen for the lounge, bedrooms, corridors, stairs and the utility closet in the spa.
The ground floor is home to a spa, complete with a Finnish sauna and a closet hidden between black sliding glass doors, an office, a guest bedroom, a wardrobe for sports gear and a garage, which has an internal entrance into the apartment. The balcony on the lower floor serves as a kind of indoor garden leading to a small courtyard in the atrium.
The first floor is home to the main bedroom, which has its own dressing room and shower, as well as the lounge and the open-plan kitchen, where large sliding doors open out onto a panoramic view of the river. The sense of romance is heightened by the presence of a stunning corner fireplace, complete with a practical wood storage compartment.
The iconic Bubble Chair, designed in 1968 by Finnish furniture designer Eero Aarnio, has pride of place in the centre of the living room.
The designer showed meticulous attention to detail throughout. In order to ensure full enjoyment of the landscape, she created glass sliding doors which fit snugly inside the walled structure, while the position of the TV can be adjusted using the remote and all cabling for the home theatre system was hidden in furniture and inside the walls. Even the LED lighting was designed to emphasise shapes and surfaces, creating a different atmosphere in each area of the house.
During the design phase, Hjelm-Luontola invested a lot of care and attention into choosing the right glossy surface, which she uses for both the porcelain stoneware flooring and walls and in the kitchen, where the surfaces reflect the light, creating a sense of continuity throughout the home. Indeed, the name Lux Line came about from this desire to express this concept.
Hjelm-Luontola boasts a wealth of experience in the design of industrial buildings and works with big companies operating in Finland such as Rolls-Royce, Nokian Tyres and Glaston. In addition to designing buildings for the tertiary sector, she also provides interior design services for private homes, villas and terraced houses.