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Iso Omena Expanded in Style


The new expansion of the shopping centre Iso Omena features ceramic tiles provided by ABL-Laatat. The extensive two-year tiling project has resulted in a fresher and more vibrant look for the center.

When the tiling for the expansion was first considered, the aim was to maintain the overall look and atmosphere of the existing shopping center so that the contrast between the old and the new areas would not appear too great. Change, however, was welcome.

Architect Ami Oja reflects on the selection process: “The objective was for the new tiling to be lighter than the existing limestone flooring as there has been some feedback regarding its darkness. We also wanted a livelier but not excessively loud surface - something to the effect of stone or concrete. It was also important that the selected tile could withstand heavy use.”

The Provenzan Inessence-series from Italian manufacturer Provenza was finally selected for the project. Not only is it stylish, but it is also hard-wearing and easy to maintain.

Contrasts and Pier Atmosphere

All of the tiles used in the shopping center, bus terminal and toilet areas are of the same color but the sizes vary from space to space. Possibly the most interesting tile size is found in the bus terminal where a longer and more unusual 20x120 cm size was used.

Oja explains: “We were very much attracted to the idea that a tile of this size begins to attain wood-like properties. It is a good match with the wavy architecture, which uses water elements as an aesthetic. The elongated tile creates a pier-like vibe.”

Comparably a smaller 10x10 size was used in the toilet areas to create a more vibrant surface. Even though a lighter shade was used uniformly throughout the expansion, a darker shade was used as a feature in places such as the market area. The darker color was also used as a contrast in areas such as the stairs and ramps to comply with the accessibility standards in public spaces  

A Fruitful Collaboration

The collaboration between ABL Finland and HKP, the architectural firm responsible for the design of the Iso Omena expansion, has been commendably seamless throughout the project.

Architect Ami Oja praises the working relationship:”We reviewed multiple tile suppliers at the start of the project but were soon convinced that ABL-Laatat had the most suitable selection of tiles. The collaboration with ABL has gone extremely well from the very beginning.”

While ABL-Laatat has extensive experience in realizing large tiling projects for public spaces, the magnitude of the Iso Omena expansion was still impressive. The shopping center has thus far been provided with close to 15 000 square meters of tiles and the number will continue to grow until the second phase of the expansion is completed in the summer of 2017.