The intimate newcomer OX on Helsinki's Pieni Roobertinkatu street opened its doors at the end of March 2016 and has done its part to make a top-notch addition to the city's restaurant scene. OX stands for good and beautiful food with a warm ambiance to match the senses.
OX founders Teemu Aura, Markus Hurskainen, Anders Westerholm and Matti Sarkkinen have condensed their passions and know-how into a restaurant of dreams. A quality that the crew shares is surpassing oneself.
- We had a clear vision of the sort of restaurant we wanted to form. We wanted an interior element so strong that it would linger in minds. It was clear that we would reach this goal once our long-term collaborator Joanna Laajisto presented her plan. She is also behind the amazing interior of our restaurant Story, Anders Westerholm says.
Interior architect Joanna Laajisto crafted a plan of corrugated metal panels covering all walls, toned with a cool mint green. Laajisto's bold proposal was an instant click with the owners. The corrugated metal together with the lighting structures combine to create a magical atmosphere and also works well to bring acoustic harmony to the space.
Lighting was of great importance at OX. Several sconces grace the walls, creating patterns on the metal sheet. Custom-made glass light fixtures by Rubn hang from the ceiling, with a dim mood descending into the room as the general lighting. A 1950s vintage table lamp by Louis Kalff sits on the bar with its horns, attaching the name of the restaurant to the decor. In the evening, candles supply an important source of light.
- As a designer, I wish to create spaces that stand the test of time. I play with a thought that a restaurant could have been there for two decades, and could stay for two more. Of course a space must find some contemporary elements, at OX this element comes from the chosen colour palette, Joanna Laajisto explains.
Contrasts and millimetres
Before OX, the space was housed for more than 40 years by the Beefy Queen steak house. Creating a new type of atmosphere and fitting 39 seats into a small space required some millimetre-scale scanning.
The heart of OX is the open kitchen placed right in the middle of the room. The dishes are prepared behind a graceful bar, a setting more often seen to prepare cocktails. The open kitchen is lined with Thonet bar stools, offering a splendid observation deck overlooking the food preparation. The bar seats are kept available for those arriving without a reservation. The other chairs in the restaurant are also from Thonet.
Classic red marble and dark-hued wood offer a balance for the rough walls and the visible air ventilation pipes. The wave-like wooden surface of the bar with its marble detail on the sides play along with the smooth, wavy forms of the surrounding walls.
- I wanted to play with contrasts. I chose a cool mint for the walls, which as a pastel hue is not at all typical for corrugated metal. The marble breaks into a warm orange and the leather draping of the chairs disrupt the colour palette with an interesting unconventionality, Laajisto tells.
In the core: professionalism, good food and friendly service
The flavours of OX arise from the ingredients, remaining recognisable in the dishes. The plates are built into beautiful, well-crafted servings, accompanied by carefully selected small estate wines. For those with experimental taste buds, the restaurant offers an endless menu where the customer decides on the last dish.
The quartet behind OX are also known from their café-restaurant Story in Helsinki's Old Market Hall. Teemu Aura and Markus Hurskainen also run their own Patisserie Teemu & Markus. Anders Westerholm and Matti Sarkkinen are the combined forces behind the We Are Group, owners of such establishments as Sushibar + Wine, Vin-Vin, Bier-Bier, and the wine and beer importer Viinitie.
The intimate newcomer OX on Helsinki's Pieni Roobertinkatu street opened its doors at the end of March 2016 and has done its part to make a top-notch addition to the city's restaurant scene. OX stands for good and beautiful food with a warm ambiance to match the senses. OX founders Teemu Aura, Markus Hurskainen, Anders Westerholm and Matti Sarkkinen have condensed their passions and know-how into a restaurant of dreams. A quality that the crew shares is surpassing oneself. - We had a clear...
- Year 2016
- Work finished in 2016
- Status Completed works
- Type Restaurants