Located in the heart of Helsinki, the Reggio Emilia pedagogical Music Kindergarten Taikatahti is like a small oasis in the middle of the city. Taikatahti is both an architectural and an interior design masterpiece example of how an urban space can be turned into a stimulating, natural and sensory-stimulating experience. Let’s take a closer look at what is so enchanting about Taikatahti!
Liisa Lohilahti, the founder and director of Taikatahti, tells that contact with nature was the starting point when planning the space.
“Nature is extremely important to people. When planning the space, we especially considered how we could preserve the children’s contact with living nature, even though we are in an urban environment. When nature is present in children’s everyday life, children learn to understand and also appreciate it”, Liisa Lohilahti describes the idea behind the interior design.
At the heart of Taikatahti is a high, glass-roofed space with a view towards the sky. The height of the glass roof is further emphasized by the tree placed in the center of the space and by the surrounding plants. Children and adults can admire the plants up close. The scent of living plants and moss floats in the air, while you can hear the sounds of the forest and birds singing. At the foot of the tree, you can just for a moment forget that you are in the city. Just as nature changes over time, the trees and plants planted in the kindergarten also live and grow, thus constantly offering new things for the children to marvel at.
A green wall, potted plants and a moss installation were selected for the staircase at the entrance of the daycare center to fill the empty space. Thanks to the installation, the space that before had no purpose is now like a small work of art that can be admired from two different floors, up close and from afar. The installation is already beautiful in itself, but it also offers a delicious opportunity to surprise the children.
“I have already planned how we will include small elves in the installation during Christmas. Small surprises like that make children happy and keep their senses awake,” says Lohilahti.
Maintenance-free moss was selected above the green wall placed in the staircase. The green wall invites you to climb up the stairs, while the circles of moss offer something to marvel at on the second floor.
The nature-like and playful atmosphere of Taikatahti spills over from one space to another. Every piece of furniture, greenery and element of the space have been placed so that being in and moving around in the space is easy.
“When choosing plants, pots and materials, we started with the children. It was clear that there should be no sharp corners in the space and that none of the plants should be poisonous. Children sometimes explore nature very, very close up,” says Katja Kankkunen from InnoGreen, who was responsible for the green design of the kindergarten, “we ended up favoring round, soft shapes and shades that fit the overall interior. Plant choices were also influenced by the light in the space, and we made sure that maintenance would be easy and safe. Our professional maintenance team takes care of the plants and trees, so that the green interior stays beautiful through all seasons.”
It’s hard to resist the urge to play that the space instills. The large tree in particular is admired by the children, and the space as a whole, including the green interior design is a success.
“It’s important to invest in the children. The direction of our future grows in them”, Lohilahti sums up.