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  • Fennia block has provided a framework for Mapbox’s growth – a soulful space in the heart of the city attracts clients to the office

Fennia block has provided a framework for Mapbox’s growth – a soulful space in the heart of the city attracts clients to the office

Mapbox is a growth company that landed in Finland five years ago, and has been growing fast ever since. The number of personnel has increased from only a few people to 60 employees. At the same time, the requirements for the office space have changed.

Mapbox creates intelligent map solutions that are used for route planning, for example. The technology of the company is used in many popular applications, such as the exercise app Strava or Alma Media’s service Etuovi.com. Sponda offers Mapbox a unique office space right in the centre of Helsinki.

The magnificent building represents the late Art Nouveau style. It is located right next to Rautatientori.

Sponda has provided the framework for Mapbox’s growth story by creating office spaces in the Fennia block, and by responding to the company’s changing needs. At first, Mapbox had an office space on the second floor of Mikonkatu 19. When they outgrew this space, the company moved to the top floor of the same building, to a unique space with an impressive view.

Character, beauty and history

When Mapbox was looking for its first office space in Helsinki a few years back, the objective was clear: the team wanted a space with character. This they found in Sponda’s Fennia block.  

“The building embodies modern beauty. High ceilings bring airiness to the space, and it is pleasant to be there. The building, representing the late Art Nouveau style, also has a history, and the Fennia block is connected to the Finnish independency. I also like the space to have a soul”, describes Mapbox’s Engineering Manager Thiago Santos, who started the company’s activities in Finland.

Mapbox found a unique space on the second floor of the building. One of the special characteristics of this office was a balcony, with a view of Rautatientori. The location was also ideal.

The building is located in one of the most central places in Finland. The Central Railway Station, the metro, buses and trams are all right there next to the building.

“It is very easy for our personnel to arrive from anywhere, which is important for us. All of our employees are very happy with the location”, says Santos.

Sponda responded to the need to grow

Mapbox continued to grow, and doubled the number of personnel in just a couple of years. Moving to a bigger space was inevitable. But the bar was high – the team loved the space in Mikonkatu. The requirements concerning the location and the character of the new space were demanding.

“When we heard that a bigger space was about to become available in the top floor, we were immediately curious”, says Jenni Harju, Office Manager at Mapbox.

The 500 square metre office space was a good size for Mapbox, but the layout did not suit the company’s needs – Mapbox wanted to have a lot of open space in the office. This did not become an obstacle because Sponda was ready to modify the space to fit Mapbox’s needs.

Sponda really took us along in the process of designing the new office.

Most of the office space of Mapbox is open space. You can still use a quiet working space whenever necessary.

“I very much liked how Sponda took us along in the process of designing the new office. We could choose everything to suit our needs, including, for example, the floor materials”, says Harju. ”The cooperation was excellent and Sponda really went the extra mile looking for solutions to suit our needs. We were also very well informed about how the project was advancing. Everything was very smooth.”

The unique domed ceiling brings plenty of light and a dignified atmosphere to the space.

Mapbox’s team was enthusiastic to see that the new space also had a lot of character. The unique features of the top floor include an impressive, high domed ceiling. Below the dome, Mapbox wanted to create a space for organizing events.

“The original tile wall below the dome was preserved, just as we wished. It offers a beautiful back drop for the events organized in this space”, rejoices Harju.

Mapbox did not have to give up its view of the Central Railway Station. Now you can admire the architecture and the city rooftops from a cosy inside balcony deck.

It is great to have an office place that the people really like and where they want to be!

A coffee break by the unique urban landscape calms you down during the work day.

“The view always impresses our foreign guests. They love to work in the inside balcony deck and admire the view. Another curiosity sparking interest is the underground network below Helsinki. We always give our guests a tour in the basement floor”, says Santos.

The pandemic has transformed the office work – a pleasant space is increasingly important

Mapbox started working in the new space as the pandemic was ending. The situation was interesting, because office work and the role of the office had changed.

While at work, you can challenge a colleague to a game of billiards.

“The office has become, above all, a place where the employees can meet each other and cooperate. In our business, these encounters have a huge meaning. Thus, it is great to have an office place that the people really like and where they want to come. Sponda and our Office Manager Jenni Harju have done an awesome job here”, says Santos.

“The biggest compliment for me is when our employees say that they don’t miss our old office at all”, laughs Harju.


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