PACKLAB Helsinki has moved to a new office at the Kaapelitehdas (Cable Factory). Described as "five hectares of culture", it is Helsinki's biggest creative centre full of performers, artists, architects and designers.
The Cable Factory was originally built from calcium silicate brick in phases between the years 1939 and 1954. Upon completion it was the largest building in Finland and was considered one of the most impressive industrial spaces in Helsinki.
Electonics / Nokia Era
In 1960 the Cable Factory emphasised in new lines of business: condensers, aluminium profiles and electronics. Cooperation between the Cable Factory, the University of Helsinki and the School of Technology created the foundation for the development of Finnish electronics and computer industry.
In 1967 the Cable Factory merged with Nokia Oy, which operated in the forest industry. Cable Factory, later Nokia Kaapeli, was an independent industrial group of Oy Nokia Ab, which was born in the aforementioned merger. When the company celebrated its 75th birthday in 1987, Nokia Kaapeli proved to be one fifth of the Nokia Corporation, measured both in invoicing and number of personnel.
Another independent industrial group separated from the Cable Factory was Nokia Electronics. When Nokia Electronics was divided into three subgroups in 1986, information systems, communications and Nokia-Mobira, the turnover of the electronics industry was threefold compared to that of the cable industry.
Today and moving forward
Today the Cable Factory is a valuable oldtimer among the modern residence buildings. There are still marks in the building left by the years of industrial use, to remind people today of all the hard work of yesteryears. Besides the industrial dimension, the Cable Factory offers the people of Ruoholahti varied and fresh cultural aspects. The Cable Factory also feels right at home among the modern glass buildings, boasting the high-tech image. Within the confines of the Cable Factory’s traditional brick walls, a dynamic electronics department started its operations some forty years ago. Today, their achievements are better know under the brand of Nokia. Their accomplishments have played a major part in paving the way for their modern neighbours and the contemporary high tech-identity of Ruoholahti.
Plenty of artists, creatives and businesses moved in to the Cable Factory, as they were able to secure peaceful working spaces. There were also spaces suitable for performances and exhibitions. The potential of the factory and its ideological- philosophical starting point has proven effective to it present day, although it wasn't an easy journey.
Thanks to Pro Kaapeli
At the time concerned tenants of the Cable Factory founded an association, Pro Kaapeli. Architechts who had worked at the Factory, created a parallel plan to save the building and the activities that were prevalent at the post-industrial Cable Factory. Pro Kaapeli also pointed out deficiencies in alternative plans for the area and even got the media involved. Pro Kaapeli was featured in the leading national newspapers and national TV and managed to dissolve deeply rooted prejudices against house squatters and artists who were often considered as somewhat unwelcome.
Along the same lines with Pro Kaapeli were the committee formed to create guidelines for cultural activities in Helsinki. They felt that the building and its newly found artistic community were unique and too valuable to be wiped away. The Cable Factory was to remain in its original form. This was groundbreaking. A new agreement was made with Nokia, the city counsel decided to protect the Cable Factory and its milieu and an estate company was founded. Almost all tenants were allowed to stay. The estate company, Kiinteistö Oy Kaapelitalo was founded in the fall of 1991. With this final solution established, one could say the new Cable Factory was primarly born by coincidence and later because of the tenants’ activity. Many public servants, committees and political decision makers along with Nokia are to be thanked for this, but most of all, the new Cable Factory exists because of Pro Kaapeli.
The Cable Factory had great examples and forerunners in other European industrial buildings. The Cable Factory was recognised as a new, independent, European art center when it was accepted as a member of Trans Europe Halles.
Ian Rooney PACKLAB's CEO is very impressed with the new location stating ''Its combined rich history, inspiring industrial architecture, sea views, friendly atmosphere and to be surround by creativity and innovation on a daily basis will complement PACKLAB's ambitions for the future.''