I left for Scandinavia the day after the Boston Bombing and the day of the Texas Fertilizing Plant Explosion, the fear and stress in the air was palpable. You could cut it with an electric saw……. maybe. It took me 2 hours to get from downtown NYC to JFK, thank god I got a cab driver who was practiced in the art of meditation. When I got to the airport, finally, I got stuck with one of those TSA people who mistake that thankless job for a position of power and held me for 20 minutes while they found a female to body search me. Needless to say, I was crispy, fried and pissed, I wanted to slap that knucklehead, uneducated TSA child for having me very narrowly miss my flight. Not to mention the unnecessary stress he added. Fast forward…. a beautiful flight on Finnair to Helsinki where I never saw a homeless person, a clean, beautifully managed city, and then to Mikkeli, the “Land of a Thousand Lakes” where I was sent by VisitFinland.com to stay at Anttolanhovi Art and Design Villas, a place of peace, stunning beauty, incredible design and really lovely people. Picked up by Director of Sales, Piritta Hatanpaa, we stopped by the Ollinmaki Wine Farm on the way to the villas, where the owners continue traditions of refining berries into wine and liqueurs. Slightly buzzed we rolled into my Anttolanhovi villa set on Saimaa Lake; the landscape is pure and serene.
he villas were designed by Emma Johansson, her concept of 7 villas of low descending roofs with expanded eaves create a private shelter right on the lake. Glass walls create a space with the outdoors inside. Each villa has 3 bedrooms, a sauna and an open kitchen/ living room. With a private pier, this is a fantastic place for a family vacation. This project was conceived with a foundation of “responsibility” to the environment, materials used were either reclaimed or somehow environmentally friendly. The art is not exempt, Kaarina Kaikkonen who is famous for her recycled installations, see her work here, was commissioned to create some of the paintings. All aspects of this project were based on protecting and highlighting Mother Nature and when one spends time here, it is She who shines brightest. I would think that all the artists and designers who contributed knew that their work was just a platform on which to serve Her majesty, and were honored to be included. The whole experience at Anttolanhovi was just exceptional, I was there during the full moon, seeing it rise over the lake was magic. Pure magic.