Kirnauskis 2.0

I.D. Magazine

Two years ago, when art director Nora Illoranta took over the Finnish advertising firm Kirnauskis –founded in 1991 by her mother Sirkka Knutila- she began the slow shift from warm and fuzzy family business to cutting-edge corporation. “We’re known for treating our clients with loyalty and respect, which is still our core value, but we wanted to focus more on innovation and renewal,” Iloranta says. After adding to the company’s name the tech-boom-sounding “2.0” – the original “Kirnauskis” is taken from a fairy tale about a group of friends working together- Iloranat and managing director Annuska Arponen changed the company’s colors from “soft amnd warm” to black and cyan, commissioned a new logo and visual identity and in 2007 moved into freshly designed headquarters.

Housed in a Helsinki apartment building that dates from 1896, the new offices are a mix of old-world domesticity and sleek corporate design. Fellow Finnish designers Jarkko Kallio, Harri Helorinne and Nanna Kinnunen converted a maze of dark ornate flats into a bright, clean office space with communal design and production rooms, making sure to incorporate Kirnauski’s credo of tradition and renewal: Hi-tech minimalism (the space is dominated by white walls and the furniture is illuminated by bulbs that imitate natural light) contrasts with carefully preserved historical details, such as an Art Nouveau ceiling and a richly decorated black ceramic fireplace in the former dining room , now a multi-desk production space. “Before we painted the walls white, the ceiling actually seemed kind of dark and depressing,” says Iloranta. “Now it looks like a beautiful crown for the whole room.”

The firm moved into the new digs last summer, but it didn’t have to go very far: Kirnauskis has been based in the same building since its inception. “We started out with one room, and as the company grew, we spread out to different rooms on different floors,” says Iloranta. Moving the 21-person staff has not only proved more efficient, it has also improved company morale. “It’s a good space to breathe in and let ideas come to you,” says Iloranta. “And people respect the space more. They don’t let their desks get so messy.”