Artek: Back to the roots

Artek Helsinki opened their new store in March 2016 on Keskuskatu. For the store launch, Miltton Creative created an ongoing marketing concept which pays tribute to Artek’s history and roots. The concept seamlessly combines art, culture and design.

The playful name of the concept “Artek on liike,” translates either to “Artek is a store” or “Artek is a movement.” This double entendre reflects both the new, concrete business space and symbolizes Artek as an artistic and cultural movement. The founders of Artek, Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl, believed in a grand synthesis of the arts. The concept of the renewed store is precisely an embodiment of that synthesis.

Miltton Creative collaborated with the design agency TSTO to create marketing content for Artek Helsinki. The project consisted of creating the visual identity for the store, planning the program for the opening events and creating an ongoing soundscape, as well as film concepts.

“Sound of Artek” was created in collaboration with the percussionist Samuli Kosminen and the premiere of the audio concept was seen at the store opening. Thereafter, the audio was used by Artek in marketing, for example as a soundtrack for moving images and audio commercials. The music piece was made by banging, clanging, knocking and stroking Artek furniture and lamps.


As an ode to the classic Aalto stool and their new customization service, Miltton Creative created a video concept called Stool Loop. The film consists of Artek’s staff, collaborators and visitors. It was filmed in advance for advertising purposes and later during the opening event, featuring store visitors.


The store itself was created with the intention of communicating a hybrid-cultural space, in which the notion of shopping could be redefined. At Artek Helsinki, culture is produced in myriad forms through exhibitions, installations, workshops, poetry readings, concerts etc. In keeping with the vision of its founders, Artek not only seeks to influence through design and architecture, but also via participating in public discourse. The wide cultural repertoire is intended to attract visitors to Artek Helsinki, and offer them some extra bliss whilst looking for inspiration or shopping.

The new location of the flagship store on Keskuskatu is iconic since the very first Artek store was opened in the same block in 1936. While planning the new concept, Artek and Miltton Creative dug deep into the historical DNA of the company. Artek’s core values – aesthetics, ethics and sustainability – are no less relevant today than they were eighty years ago when the company was founded.


Mikko Hakkarainen will gladly tell you more.
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