A prison you don’t want to escape from

Forenom was given the honor of turning the former mental health prison into a living space.

Have you ever lived in prison, at least in your head? Forenom will soon offer you the chance to live in a mental health prison, for real.

Turku’s Central Prison, or the Kakola prison complex, is made up of four different buildings which were constructed in the 1800’s: North Cell, South Cell, East Cell and West Cell. Alongside the main structure was a prison for the mentally ill. Locals referred to the prison as Annes, and it held a maximum of 100 inmates. Alcoholics, drug users and those with mental health complications were held captive there. In addition to jail cells, the prison grounds had workshop in which the inmates were allowed to practice hobbies such as woodworking and printing books. Turku’s new prison was opened in Saramäki in 2007. After this the Kakola prison was opened as a historical site to the public with much fanfare.


Kakola prison building
The main building


Outside the main structure Kakola is now under the private ownership of Janne Martti and Teemu Hento. Their original idea was to turn Kakola into a serviced home for the elderly; however, they were unable to find a suitable partner and operator. It was then that Max Lindén, Area Manager of Turku, thought that Forenom could throw its hat into the ring. “I was sure of Kakola’s potential at first sight. The place oozes style and personality. I decided that we had to close the deal,” Lindén describes. As a reward, Forenom was given the honor of turning the former mental health prison into a living space. Now the goal is to make sure that this remarkable location receives the makeover of which it is worthy. Emilia Hobin, who is responsible for the interior design, aims to make sure that the woodwork of the inmates is present. She has designed, for example, a wooden clock which will be made together with the inmates. “Strong emotions are connected to Kakola’s history, not all of which are positive. We feel that it’s great to be able to help write a new script for Kakola. This opportunity is unbelievable, and we want to honor the old environment while creating an experience you can’t live without. The first prison from which you don’t want to escape,” Hobin says.

The design will be fashionable and in harmony, yet comfortable. We will also continue to develop the area to bring more life to it. We will report on the project’s progress constantly on Forenom’s Facebook page, and you, our future guests, can have a direct impact on how the location turns out. In May, we’ll reveal two model rooms, and you can vote for your favorite!