Pop Up Restaurant Forages Ingredients & Dinnerware

Pop Up Restaurant Forages Ingredients & Dinnerware
Arts & Culture

Finns set up a progressive diner for London Design Week

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 20 september 2010

HEL YES! is a temporary restaurant and exhibition created for London Design Week by a creative team of Finnish designers and food experts. Housed in a former depot in East London, for 14 days it will serve Nordic food based on ingredients many of which are found through foraging in forests.

PSFK spoke to Antto Melasniemi, concept director of HEL YES!, who explained the approach to food sources:

“Wild herbs, such as wood sorrel, chick weed and poly pody root for example are collected from a local forrest just outside London. Certain traditional Finnish berries such as lingonberries and wild blueberries are brought in from Finland preserved.”


What’s just as interesting is the design of the space – wood was foraged from the forest and the dinner sets created from donations from plate swapping parties. In the last few months, a series of ‘Plate Swap’ dinner events were organised in Helsinki were people were asked to bring their old plates designed by the Finnish companies Iittala or Arabia. Diners were asked to trade in their beloved items of china and their stories for a complimentary meal. You can find some of the stories about the plates here.

Here’s a sample:

“In 1967 my parents received Arabia side plates with a beautiful yellow rim, as a wedding gift. When I moved away from home, the plates travelled with me. Over the years, some of the plates had gone missing and I felt that the four remaining ones were too lonely. I enjoy visiting flea markets and have collected more plates of the same series over the years. Today I have enough plates to serve dinner for a dozen guests, but I don’t have much use for them, since I live alone! This spring has been a time of change for me. Reading “The Art of Stylish Poverty” (written by Alexander von Schönburg, born 1969) and the ongoing “Thrifty Week” have made me think about consumption and ownership, and what I really need.

Beautiful objects are of course of aesthetic importance, but I would like to find moderation and balance. Today I have so many dishes that they no longer fit in my cupboards. The Plate Swap event is an opportunity for me to send my beloved yellow rims out in the world. Have a good trip to London!”

London-Newcastle Depot, 1-3 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7SL

Hel Yes!

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