Category Archives: Travel

2012/10/18 16:24

The best of Finnish fashion: Samuji.

As I had previously promised , I will post the selection of my ten favorite places in Helsinki. This list was specially  compiled  for an article I wrote about the lovely city of Helsinki, my current geographic location, for Wish Casa magazine in May 2012.  The original text in the picture is in Portuguese, but the translation to english is found right below, on the post.  Specially for my fellow Brazilian friends who also share a thing for the nordic aesthetics, my favorite Finnish fashion brand:  Samuji.


“Samuji’s clothes are full of Finnish identity. Their values comprise functionality, the love for necessary things and kindness. The collections are composed by a few items, which are aesthetically timeless. Alongside the seasonal collections, there is also a permanent collection called “Samuji Classics”, consisted of strategic pieces, which are thought to survive trends . Their first shop is charmingly small, but located in a very noble spot in Helsinki. Its architecture is as elegant as the clothes found inside.”

In 1’16”, the short-film below summarizes my love for Samuji and, specially, my love for Helsinki. Samu-Jussi Koski, Samuji’s designer and director of this film, has the rare ability to make everything look effortlessly sophisticated. The frugal, though disturbingly beautiful ride of a carefree girl on her blue bike around Helsinki made me emotional, probably because I have already lost a piece of my heart to this land, where moments like the one in the film can really happen on a sunny day. Preferably  all dolled up in Samuji, from head to toe.

Last June, Samu-Jussi gave me the kindest, most honest interview for my Master’s research. I’ll must certainly be writing about it, here, as soon as I find the time.

2012/05/22 16:22

For WishCasa: To/From Helsinki with love.

I had the pleasure to collaborate with WishCasa Magazine on their one-year anniversary issue. I was invited to write about the wonderful city I have been calling home for the past two years: Helsinki.

WhishCasa is a breath of fresh air in the Brazilian design scene.  It was a pleasure to work with them. Congratulation and thank you! Long live WishCasa!

Below is the first part of the original article in Portuguese as well as a rough English version, so our international friends and partners wouldn’t feel left out. The entire article consisted of my ten favorite places in Helsinki, which I promise to gradually post, one by one, along with its English translation.

To/From Helsinki with love!

My love story with Helsinki began in 1998, when I went on a three-month exchange programme to Finland, soon after starting architecture school. The city greeted me covered in snow, with endless nights,  warm hand shakes, candlelight and in the most peculiar language I have ever heard.

From this time, I left with friends for life, an obsession with the work of architect Alvar Aalto and the certainty I would be back. In 2010, I started a Master’s Programme at the Aalto University School of Arts Design and Architecture. Helsinki has not changed much, it has remained a lovely slow paced place which has gained a cosmopolitan charm over the years.

The difference between winter and summer is remarkable. The experience of the Finnish cold weather is surreal, especially for tropical souls. In the winter, the word sisu, is easier to understand.  Lacking a precise translation to English, its meaning would be a compilation of perseverance, credibility, efficiency and honesty, characteristic of Finns. Relying on a lot of sisu, the infrastructure of Helsinki runs smoothly, even under piles of snow. There are no excuses for not enjoying the exotic pleasures of low temperatures.

The sauna experience is indispensable. In a nation of small social disparity, everybody goes to the public saunas. There bathing suits are optional, however this is one of the rare moments when you feel more naked if dressed. Walking over the frozen Baltic Sea is at the top of my favourite activities. In the winter, the perception of the city is altered. The functionalist architecture seems to be even more discrete in the dark days. Helsinki becomes a white town, framed in a grey-reddish horizon that resembles the Nordic expressionist paintings.

In the summer, snow-free and under the irreplaceable sunlight, the city reveals itself. The perception of the urban plan becomes clearer and I find myself discovering new-old buildings everyday. The city is mostly flat, composed by short building and wide sidewalks, perfect to be explored on foot. The transportation system does not disappoint. The trams are punctual, confortable, safe and a great option to see a lot in little time.

Helsinki slows down in the summer. Schools and universities close their doors and companies work with limited workforce. Helsinki taught me that efficiency requires leisure time. Perhaps, this is one of the secrets of the Finnish well fair state, of which, more than the architecture of Aalto, Finland and its capital are most proud.

2012/03/19 09:03

Café Caneli – Helsinki

It is thesis term and alongside all the academic writing that comes with it, I decided to indulge in a class called “writing inspirations”.  As first assignment I was asked to choose a picture and write about it – freestyle.

Since I am not having time to write in here, I thought I might take the opportunity to choose something I wanted to talk about in the blog.

In 2011, during one of my “exploring Helsinki” days I came across Café Caneli.  Helsinki is a lovely city in many aspects, but I have to say good coffee is definitely not one of them. So whenever I discover a place that serves high quality coffee, I become a regular. Caneli is small, simple and charmingly roughly finished. Repetition is its main decorative trick: black cans and brown paper sacks are neatly displayed on the walls, giving your eyes something to look at while enjoying your coffee. If you are the rare kind of person who doesn’t drink coffee, tea and smoothies are the other house specialties.

2011/03/17 07:44

To Hulu: Chez Dominique

Chef Hans Välimäki

Well, I just read a comment that my Chinese friend and MA classmate Hulu made on Facebook about this restaurant and decided to write this post to pass on what I consider to be a great tip.

Hulu wrote that a friend of hers recommended the restaurant Chez Dominique to her. A second later a Finnish friend of hers wrote her a message saying that a meal there would cost her over 150 Euros and I could guess she might have felt a bit discouraged to even walk past the place. Well, this is when my good tip takes place.

Chez Dominique is a magnificent restaurant which carries the weight of two Michelin stars, the most “starred” there is in Helsinki. Yes, it is very sophisticated.  Maybe over sophisticated for my taste sometimes:  the waiter himself  places the linen napkin over your lap when you sit. More uncomfortable than “chic”, don’t you think?  Who wants a stranger almost touching your lap when you go dining?

Oops, I lost my stream of thought, sorry. Getting back to the tip to Hulu. Chez Dominique is a fantastic restaurant and it offers  lunch menu at a very reasonable price, specially considering its pedigree.

From Wednesday to Friday.

27 Euros for a 2 course menu

29 Euros for a 3 course menu

Isn’t it a great tip? Instead of a dish for 150 Euros, Hulu now knows that she can save on beer (or Baileys, right, Hulu?) for a couple of weeks and have not only one, but three dishes for 29 Euros in a two-Michelin-star-restaurant.

Hulu, do you need company? I’ll be happy to join.

2010/05/04 13:28

Oiti at Designboom Mart! ICFF-NYC!

Great news! I have been selected for the Designboom Mart at ICFF in NYC. I’ll be exhibiting my product there from May 15-18th.

The TOAST IT!, a bread-shaped cork coaster/trivet will be launched at Designboom Mart!

In case you have been living under a rock, Designboom is the greatest online design-oriented publication. The Designboom mart is a curated show, which takes place all over the world during design weeks, with the objective of presenting young design talents to the world. The next one will be held in NY during NYC design week. If you happen to be there, come pay a visit!

ICFF-International Contemporary Furniture Faire (Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (655 West 34th street – NYC)

2009/08/04 18:34

Cherries are a traveler’s best friends!



[NYC and cherries!]

Não sei se vocês sabem, quem convive comigo está careca de saber. Minha grande paixão não é arquitetura, design, meu marido, meu pai, meu irmão ou minha mãe (ai!! que heresia!! Deus me perdoe!), mas é viajar. Nada me deixa tão feliz quanto viajar. Sozinha acompanhada… tanto faz! Há cinco anos atrás, em uma visita a Villa Savoy, minha amiga Nanda me iniciou em um ritual que me enche de alegria e o qual eu recomendo fortemente: andar observando tudo e comendo CEREJAS. De supermercados ou barraquinhas de rua mesmo, sem frescura – o que não mata fortalece, já diria minha avó – Cherries are a traveler’s best friends!!

2009/08/03 21:45

Once upon a tart…




[cupcake de chocolate-perfeito!]

Em Nova York, quando o assunto é CupCake, todos os dedos apontam para a Magnolia Barkery e suas coberturas coloridas e doces até demais. Mas esse CupCake de chocolate aí da foto deu uma surra nos coloridos da Magnolia e achamos que valeria a pena indicar. Once upon a tart… é o nome do lugar que fica no Soho e que oferece o cupcake de chocolate perfeito: doce, um pouquinho ácido e com um toque amargo muito discreto.