Biofore House - UPM Group Head Office

PrizeHonorable Mention in Interior Design /
Firm LocationHelsinki, Finland
CompanyHelin & Co Architects
Lead ArchitectPekka hHelin
Design Team Mariitta Helineva Hanna Euro
ClientUPM-Kymmene Corporation

UPM, the world’s second biggest forest company, leads the integration of bio and forest industries into an innovation-driven, resource-efficient future. The main spatial element of the interior is the atrium, which allows for communication and gives the building an integral part of its identity. Adjacent to the entrance is a high cone-shaped gallery which enables product and art exhibitions and other small-scale events. Conference centre on the ground floor swirls around the atrium – guests are received in the bright café area in the lofty atrium. All workspaces, management included, are open-plan. The layout of the office floors is dynamic and enables impromptu brainstorming and one-on-one meetings for informal testing of new ideas “in statu nascendi”. Biofore House is a timeless icon and a symbol of innovative work environment in the modern forest industry spearheaded by UPM. UPM’s own wood-based products and biomaterials are used extensively both inside and on the exterior. UPM set a target of cutting-edge architecture, both functionally and aesthetically. The city plan did not allow for maximum use of wood; the building is a combination of wooden surfaces and planning regulations. The abstracted formal themes of the exterior relate to wood; the Bioforum gallery is part of a tree stump; the bridge across Alvar Aalto Street is a bevelled polyhedron. Both are clad in timber. Ecology and advanced energy saving are represented by helical sunshades, the refined steel mesh of which is the same material as the woven wire used in processing paper. The potential of the site is exploited in numerous west-facing terraces.