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The 50-year-old Makkaratalo building was celebrated with flowers and an urban festival

In mid-May, the concrete “sausage” of the Makkaratalo building, which houses the Citycenter shopping centre, was adorned with flowers made from recycled materials.

The concrete “sausage” around the facade of the Citycenter shopping centre has received a fresh look to celebrate its 50th birthday. The flower decorations were selected in a design competition. The graphic piece KITE+DART by design student Eveliina Juuri was voted as the winner.

The winning work of art is made from recycled advertising banners, and was installed on site on Tuesday 16 May. The installation started in the evening on Keskuskatu and took place overnight, because it required using a crane lift and closing one of the lanes to traffic. The installation was ready on Wednesday morning, 17 May.

“The mounting was an exciting project for our professional team, because the corner of Keskuskatu and Kaivokatu needed to fit like a glove,” says Tiina Fågel, Shopping Centre Manager at Citycenter.

According to Fågel, the general response to the ornament has been positive.

“In particular, we have received positive feedback for giving young, promising designers an opportunity to showcase their skills in a prime spot in central Helsinki, adorning a historical building. Our famous “sausage” has always made people talk, and that’s a good thing. Every opinion is valuable,” she says.

The flowering ceremony marks the 50th anniversary of the building, but Fågel says more projects of this kind will follow. The sausage has immense potential.

Fun Sausage Festival for residents

On the weekend after the mounting, the Citycenter shopping centre and its surroundings hosted the Sausage Festival, which attracted approximately 40,000–50,000 visitors. The idea behind the event was to celebrate the 50-year-old building.

“The original sausage that sets the facade of our shopping centre apart has always been a source of inspiration for us. For the time being, people still call the Citycenter building “Makkaratalo”. Our location on Keskuskatu provides an excellent setting for urban shopping centre events, and we have been drawn towards the idea for some years now. Now, as the building turned 50, we finally made our idea a reality and organised this event,” Tiina Fågel explains.

The event was held in co-operation with HKScan Camping sausages, a brand that also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Sausage Festival was part of the Lovely Helsinki event.

“The atmosphere was fun and relaxed, and our extensive programme that was tailored for different target groups offered something for everyone. Our partner HKScan offered free tasting, serving freshly grilled sausages to thousands of people. Two 50-year-old sausages – the building and Camping – shared the limelight. The weather was also great and the sausages seemed to make everyone smile,” Tiina Fågel commented after the event.

Artists performing at the Sausage Festival included Nikke Ankara, Tuuli, Elias Kaskinen & Päivän Sankarit, Diandra and YouTuber Herbalisti.

Citycenter has also made a brand film of Makkaratalo, to celebrate the anniversary. The film will be displayed on different media.

“At the start of the year, we launched the communal and participatory “Makkaratalo in stories” campaign. We are asking famous residents of Helsinki to share their memories in relation to Makkaratalo and are encouraging our customers to share their own memories from the 50 years,” Tiina Fågel says.

Published 5.6.2017