Over the course of its inaugural year, the new Art Factory in Finland has proven itself to be of international standing, placing itself among the best culture and congress centres in the world and earning itself the title of Business Destinations’ Best Cultural Venue for Corporate Events, Europe, 2014.
The Art Factory is an old factory building, which reopened as a culture and congress centre in 2012. It is located in Porvoo, a charming town famous for its unique Old Town district. The historic ambience of Old Porvoo is created by idyllic wooden houses, gardens, boutiques and cobbled streets, anchored by its medieval, stone and brick cathedral.
As a conference venue, the Art Factory gives hosts the pleasure of inviting their guests into a beautiful old building with modern facilities
Combining business events with lifestyle services in an inspiring manner, The Art Factory is easily accessible being just east of the capital and is only 40 minutes from Helsinki Airport.
Conferencing and culture
As a conference venue, the Art Factory gives hosts the pleasure of inviting their guests into a beautiful old building with modern facilities, a warm heart and an interesting mix of old brickwork and contemporary architecture.
The main event halls are the Avanti Hall, which holds up to 800 seats, and the Factory Hall, which can accommodate 250 seats. In addition, there are two large foyers, five smaller meeting/breakout rooms and four movie-theatre auditoriums that can be used for conferences, which each contain between 50 and 250 seats.
All guests are welcomed by the spacious Avanti Hall foyer, which sets the tone for the rest of the day. This area can also be used for receptions, exhibitions and cocktails, as the halls are intelligently designed as multi-purpose spaces. The seating arrangements are flexible and a specially designed portable seating construction allows either rising or flat seating arrangements. The halls can be used for conferencing, banquets, and exhibitions – and even for car shows.
Since its reopening just over a year ago, the Art Factory has hosted a range of business events, from meetings to extensive seminars; from product launch galas to car exhibitions; from customer breakfasts to amazing art creation workshops, all efficiently carried out by clients’ teams.
“This first year of operation has proven that the venue works perfectly for all types of events. But we have also noticed that when the customer has high expectations of the construction and flexibility of the venue – that is when we are at our best,” says Art Factory CEO Susanne Dahlqvist.
The Art Factory’s staff are encouraged to make customers feel at home, and they take care of customers’ needs in a flexible way, from first contact to the finish line, ensuring clients are left with a lasting feeling of satisfaction.
History and art
The building is about 100 years old and until the 1980s served as a mechanical factory, producing horseshoes, wooden frames and plywood. At the end of the industrial years the halls were used for assembling tractors, but in 1986 the City of Porvoo bought the building with a different agenda in mind – to become a hub of creativity. It was filled with artists’ studios and the industrial halls were used for concerts, fairs and events.
Eventually the building needed a thorough renovation and a widened range of services. So, in 2010, a massive project to turn it into a modern culture and congress centre began. Today, the Art Factory has 20 studios for professional artists and space for art exhibitions, allowing corporate customers to create or enjoy art during their stay.
“We can offer live painting presentations and encounters with our artists. Creating communal art together with an artist has become very popular, as has simply enjoying an exhibition during the coffee break,” says Dahlqvist.
Architecture and lifestyle
The head architect of The Art Factory is Hannu Kiiskilä, from Arrak Architects. The architectural design focuses on restored features, such as original brick walls and reconstructed wooden windows, as well as creating new extensions, like the movie theatre. Key features of the building’s new section are the use of modern concrete surfaces and stairs, high windows and steelwork. The staircase’s concrete walls retain the pattern of plywood, reminding guests of the factory’s history.
The halls can be used for conferencing, banquets, and exhibitions – and even for car shows
“The Art Factory is part of a larger area on the western side of the Porvoo River that is being developed into an area of business, apartments and recreation,” says Dahlqvist. The housing in the surrounding area provides an example of modern wooden architecture, and complements the buildings in the wooden Old Town Porvoo on the opposite side of the river.
The new Art Factory is a delicate mix of business, art and lifestyle services, attracting people to concerts and public events, art exhibitions, movie theatres, the shopping street, restaurants and cafés. “Many of our corporate guests have actually enjoyed getting a glimpse of normal life in between business: dance school students walking by, movie theatre audiences gathering before the show, and happy shoppers with their purchases,” says Dahlqvist.
Porvoo, the small town that houses The Art Factory, is situated just east of Helsinki. Customers can enjoy the arctic atmosphere in the winter and experience the midnight sun in the beautiful archipelago – the inspiration of Tove Jansson, artist, writer and creator of The Moomins. The author was born exactly 100 years ago and the Art Factory’s summer exhibition 2014 will present her life, work and relation to the area.
The Art Factory is also a good base from which to experience Finland’s nature and stunning outdoor landscapes. Just outside the Art Factory ferries head out to the archipelago, and a short bus ride away is the beautiful countryside, dotted with old manors. The Art Factory’s partner Hotel Haikko Manor is located by the seaside and offers accommodation as well as excellent spa and Finnish sauna facilities.
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