During NYCxDesign, we were lucky enough to snag a seat at Helsinki-based Restaurant Nolla‘s Zero Waste Bistro pop-up located in the halls of WantedDesign Manhattan. We typically don’t cover the food space, but we were mystified by this pop-up’s interior design. From the wall’s recycled material to the thoughtful menu to the classic decor, including Alvar Aalto-designed lamps and stools, eating at the restaurant felt exactly like transporting straight to Helsinki, Finland while in the midst of furniture fair chaos.
We were particularly taken by the walls, which esteemed Finnish industrial designer and collaborator for this space Harri Koskinen noted were not the original intent for the bistro. Initially, the team opted for a cardboard material sourced from a Finland-based manufacturing company, but when the deal fell through last minute, they were in a scramble attempting to source a new, equally as eco-friendly material.
The result of that panic moment ended up working much better than cardboard if you ask us—don’t you love when design solutions end up superior to the initial plan? The pictured material, which upon closer look is made from recycled “Just Water” Tetra Paks and is actually sourced from a company called Re-Wall based in Iowa.
In terms of everything but the walls, Durat supplied the material for the table and trays, and Finnish Design Shop supplied the stools, tableware and lighting. The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York was acted as the orchestrator, bringing the various parts of the collaboration together.
The food was delicious, the material decisions were smart, and the best part? Everything was zero waste (since the tableware, lighting and stools were loaned, we think this counts).