Here comes number 15, Timo Halko, designer at Suunto and future beer brewer of Helsinki.
Most of the time an interview brings you to new places. So yesterday I found myself exploring Alppiharju.
Where are we here? That’s a good question. We’re downtown of Helsinki, pretty close to Linnanmäki, the amusement park. The district is quite lively, with lots of bars and reasonably priced spaces that people can rent, for instance for workshops, like in our case. Here seven people, different types of creatives, share this place. That’s where Vesa, Simon and I started to brew beer half a year ago. Basically it’s a hobby, or let’s put it this way, we are practicing how to make beer.
How did you get this idea? We were sitting in some bar, sipping beer and thinking that it would be a good idea to make our own beer. And then things started escalating. Obviously we knew what the main ingredients are, but then we needed to figure out what equipment you need and we decided to make this investment. Now we’re able to do proper beer. We try out different recipes, but we are not yet at that point where we could say that we can consistently use the same recipe. So that’s now the next step that we need to take.
So you’re experimenting? Yes, this is still a learning process. It’s also a nice way to spend your days. A brew takes ten hours, so you basically set a day with your good friends and then you come here, start preparing everything, listen to music, and then we get something to eat from the local restaurant.
A few weeks ago we decided to make one winter beer, something like a porter or stout, those are quite tasty and strong dark beers, and maybe spice it up with a hint of cinnamon.
Where are you from? I’m from eastern Finland, from Savonlinna. It’s a small city in the Lake District. I moved to Helsinki around 2001.
How do you like Helsinki? It’s a fantastic place to live. Obviously it’s not too big but not too small either. It’s at the sea and it has all the benefits of being a capital, meaning it has the best museums, galleries, theatres and concerts.
Do you have favourite place here? That’s a tough one. I’d say the sea. You have so many nice and rocky shores and even some small sandy beaches. Everything is so close to the sea, so you can do fishing, swimming or kayaking.
What have you been proud of lately? A few weeks ago, I found a new activity that I really like. It’s climbing, something that is very relaxing and almost meditative for me. Finding and learning new things, I guess that’s maybe something I’m secretly proud of.
What is your dream? It’s sort of a dream to get this brewing idea running within the next years. On a personal level I’d love to hike the Kalottireitti or Arctic Trail in English, which is 800 kilometres long. It goes along the Norwegian mountains. It takes time and it’s not in a landscape that is the easiest to travel.
If anything was possible and you could travel in time, where would you go? Well, the past is done, so I guess the future is more interesting. We’re living in quite interesting times, especially how we consume things. We know that this is not sustainable. Not only Western societies but also third world countries are coming close to the point where the model of living is not sustainable. And I guess, it would be worthwhile to take a sneak peak how this place will look like in 100 years, and then bring that image back to us, to either say ‘we’re doing fine, let’s just continue’ or ‘act now’.
Imagine you could be another person for one day, whom would you choose and what would you do? I’d be Karila Mattila, a very famous Finnish opera singer, and it would be very nice to be her for one night and perform at Metropolitan Opera House in New York. I love music, but I’m not very musical myself and I’ve been talking to quite many colleagues that work more in visual industries, and quite often it seems that they get the best thrills out of listening to music. Listening to a good aria or some nice pop music, you can get goose bumps, but it’s not too often that you get them when you see a nice picture or a nice design. Having this opportunity, to be a person who uses its body to create such a strong music that people get goose bumps.
Thank you very much!