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OX restaurant Helsinki by Joanna Laajisto

Mikko Ryhänen

Finnish interior architect Joanna Laajisto used corrugated metal wall panels to create a soft, atmospheric environment inside the intimate newcomer OX on Helsinki’s Pieni Roobertinkatu street. Joanna has 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,” she explains. “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.”


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,” says Joanna. “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.”

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.

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all images © Mikko Ryhänen