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21 May, 2019

Pekka Jylhä's "Learning to Fly" spreads its wings in Wintergarden

A magical art experience has been created for the Wintergarden, where a six-meter-long brass bird sculpture by Finnish artist Pekka Jylhä filters the natural light and create a wonderful ambiance. 

Wintergarden is the living room of the Hotel St. George, place for the guests and locals to meet.

Pekka Jylhä has a unique talent for mixing scale, material and light. Jylhä's bird is a commissioned work designed especially for the Hotel St. George.

You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way. - Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a story by author Richard Bach, came to the mind of Sculptor and Artist Professor Pekka Jylhä when he saw the Wintergarden of Hotel St. George for the first time. “It was beautiful and tall like a cathedral, light literally flies into it. It seemed to need a magnificent bird to fill the space and give wings to the mind.”

These were the thoughts that inspired Learning to Fly, the work of art that is hanging in the light of Hotel St. George’s glass-roofed Wintergarden.


Like a puzzle, coming together one piece at the time

Pekka Jylhä draws by hand. To him, that is the best way to structure his thoughts and begin a new sculpture.

He drew the first version of the bird in his notebook in 2015.

Drawing is the most labour-intensive stage of the process. The drawings are transformed into one miniature after another. Each fine-tuned aspect means another miniature, but at every stage, the work of art gets closer to completion.

The finished sculpture is made of approximately one hundred parts.

It has been assembled in small segments, little by little and with utmost care. Once the pieces have been welded together, they can no longer be removed. The sculpture’s form follows that of the miniature. It’s like a puzzle coming together, one piece at a time.

When Pekka Jylhä began his work of art, it weighed a thousand kilos. Now that it’s finished, the weight is down to 290 kilos. Learning to Fly now spreads its wings in Wintergarden.

Wintergarden is the new living room of Helsinki

Wintergarden is the living room of the Hotel St. George, place for the guests and locals to meet. Wintergarden, built in to the courtyard and sheltered by a glass roof, has drawn inspiration from the classical conservatories of 18th and 20th century nobility, known for their lush greenery and art collections.

Delicious bowls are served for lunch and dinner every day from 11 am till 9 pm. Wintergarden Bar is also famous for its zero waste -cocktails. Perhaps the most intriguing cocktail is called Learning to fly - served in a bird-shaped glass, inspired by Pekka Jylhä’s eponymous work of art.

Wintergarden is open daily

  • Mon-Tue 11:00-24:00
  • Wed-Thu 11:00-01:00
  • Fri-Sat 11:00-02:00
  • Sun 11:00-24:00

Entrance through the Hotel St. George main entrance, Yrjönkatu 13, Helsinki


Published 10th of October, 2018. Photos: Mikko Ryhänen.

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