Marmoripalatsi (“Marble Palace”) stands as a true architectural marvel envisioned by the world-renowned architect Eliel Saarinen. Nestled in the heart of Helsinki’s picturesque Kaivopuisto Park, this landmark masterpiece was constructed in 1918, and now holds a revered position under the protection of the esteemed Finnish Heritage Agency.
In 1916, the esteemed ironworks magnate August Keirkner and his wife, Lydia, had a vision to create a truly remarkable retirement residence that would not only reflect their refined taste but also house their priceless art collection. To bring their dream to life, they entrusted the renowned architect Eliel Saarinen with the task of designing what was then known as Villa Keirkner, now famously referred to as the Marble Palace. Saarinen, with his masterful touch, crafted an architectural masterpiece that seamlessly blended elegance, functionality, and a profound appreciation for art. One of the crowning achievements of his design was an exquisite art gallery, strategically adorned with a skylight that bathed the space in an ethereal natural light. This gallery, which now serves as the focal point of the meticulously reimagined home named Lydia, showcases a mesmerizing medley of rooms spread across three floors.
Today, a remarkable chapter unfolds as the Marble Palace embarks on a journey of meticulous restoration and transformation. Guided by the expertise of HGR Property Partners, in collaboration with the visionary minds at SARC Architects, this project seeks to honor Saarinen’s original design while embracing a new era of opulence.
The restoration efforts undertaken at the Marble Palace are nothing short of painstaking, with a relentless commitment to preserving the historical essence of this iconic structure. Every intricate detail, every exquisite element, is being lovingly revitalized, ensuring that the heritage and grandeur of Saarinen’s vision endure for generations to come. Within the transformed Marble Palace, four distinct homes will emerge, each embodying the spirit and elegance of Saarinen’s architectural genius. These homes will serve as a testament to the timeless beauty of the original design, while seamlessly integrating modern comforts and luxuries.
To accommodate the construction of a terrace above the gallery, HGR and SARC Architects recognized the need for modifications to the original skylight. With a commitment to preserving the essence of Saarinen’s design, the team collaborated with Light Cognitive. Known for its remarkable achievements in creating the most realistic natural light solutions, the Nordic award-winning lighting design company was entrusted with the task of developing a custom skylight-inspired installation. The objective was to seamlessly integrate this installation into the space while maintaining the authenticity of the original design. The result is truly breathtaking. The custom installation brings forth the essence of natural light into the gallery. It captures the airy and uplifting sensation one experiences beneath a skylight, even though the physical structure has been altered. This reimagination not only fulfills the functional requirements but also enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the gallery.
Light Cognitive utilizes a patented machine-learning technology that replicates nature’s day-to-night cycle, allowing their virtual skylight to gradually adjust in color and intensity, perfectly imitating the hues of the sky throughout the day. This innovative solution brings the experience of natural daylight indoors, providing numerous energizing benefits for the occupants of any home. By enjoying the effects of natural light, such as better sleep, increased productivity, and enhanced well-being, residents can reap these advantages regardless of the time of day or season.
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