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Ultima – A circular economy restaurant

Ultima, a circular economy restaurant to be opened in Helsinki, makes use of urban cultivation and sustainable protein sources, minimises losses and directs nutrients back into circulation. The concept can be duplicated in other restaurants both nationally and internationally.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

The Ultima project aims to challenge traditional ways of operating a restaurant. The project’s aim is to become global pioneers in urban cultivation at the same time as creating new raw materials and dishes. The aim is also to examine how waste can be reduced and nutrients recycled in urban conditions.

The most important task is to convince people that technical innovations can enable sustainable and ethical urban cultivation alongside conventional food production, and that crops can be used for cooking on the spot. As kitchen professionals, the project’s leaders also want to test and examine what can be made from different plant and insect proteins, with the aim of bringing together science, food and design.

The concept of a circular economy restaurant can be duplicated in restaurants from Lapland to hot, dry countries.

What are we doing?

In the new restaurant, a vertical greenhouse with a hydroponic irrigation system will be built; in other words, crops take nutrients directly from the water instead of soil. The capacity of the greenhouse will be between 500 and 800 plants and it will be the world’s first hydroponic watering system built directly inside a restaurant.

In addition, there will be crickets living in terrariums designed for the restaurant. The aim is to examine whether any plant residues can be used for feeding the crickets, which, as a result, would further reduce waste. The crickets to be used in cooking come from a cricket farm.

The project will also experiment with growing potatoes aeroponically, in other words, in the air in specifically built columns. Mushrooms, in turn, will be germinated and grown in glass balls. All this will be wrapped in a beautiful design that makes the experience visually memorable and easily approachable.

Who is participating?

The restaurant is owned by Finnish-Devil oy, whose chefs, Henri Alén and Tommi Tuominen, will be responsible for the kitchen and the whole concept. The hydroponic system will be produced by Green Automation oy, and Atelje Sotamaa will be responsible for all design work. The other co-operative partners are Entocube, Helsieni, TouchPoint, Robbes Lilla Trädgård and the Finnish Seed Potato Centre in Tyrnävä.

Where have we got to so far?

The planned opening date for the restaurant is 15 May 2018. The building design is in its final stages and the necessary components will be on site soon. In terms of planning, tests have been carried out with growing hydroponic potatoes, crickets and mushrooms in various conditions. The actual pilot scheme will start upon the completion of the infrastructure on 10 May 2018.

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