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Inside Nokia's headquarters: A photo tour

From reindeer stew to a wall of Nokia's greatest hits, here's a look inside Nokia's global HQ, not far from the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
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By Liam Tung, Contributor on
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1 of 18 Liam Tung/ZDNet

Every move that Nokia makes is picked over by analysts and journalists across the globe, and scoured for an indication of the company's health and future prospects.

But what's it like to be at the centre of it all?

With a few hours to spare during a recent trip to Finland's Slush start-up conference, I decided pay a visit to Nokia's HQ in Espoo, a 15-minute drive from the country's capital of Helsinki - the headquarters the company has just decided to sell off.

The HQ houses some 1,800 staff and has absorbed a few roles from Nokia sites that have been shut down in recent months, including Ruoholahti in Helsinki. A number of R&D roles from there have transferred to Espoo, including some that previously worked on Nokia's MeeGo efforts but now work on Windows Phone.

Shown here, Nokia's vast and dimly lit foyer overlooks the Gulf of Finland, the body of water separating Finland from Estonia. It's 3pm in late November. 

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A chessboard with no pieces

The large chess table in the centre of the client waiting area lacks chess pieces, but there are four Lumia 920s on a stand to play with if you're bored. There are also copies of Helsinki's English newspaper and a current edition of The Economist.

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Spiralling stairwells

The spiral stairways are a striking feature of this part of the complex, climbing all the way to the top of the building.

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A history in devices

A curved wall containing an archive of the company's devices over the decades leads to Nokia's cafe.

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Two classic candybars from the 1990s

These two classics from the 1990s - the Nokia 1610 and the Nokia 1011 - liberated the masses from landlines and did exactly what mobile phones promised to do: allowed people to call from anywhere and send SMS.   

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MIA, the Nokia 9110 Communicator

A particularly notable Nokia 9110, one of the family of the Communicator range, should be on show here.

The device, made at Nokia's Salo facility, was Nokia's100 millionth phone.

The phone (pictured below) is now missing, much like the factory it came from, which shut this autumn.  

2012-11-27 01.03.26 pm
Image: Nokia

The 9110 weighed in just 253g - considerably smaller than the preceding generaion of Communicator, which tipped the scales at half a kilogram.

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Wall of Nokia fame

Among the various devices on show in the Nokia wall of fame is the Nokia 7110 (on the far left). Released in 1999, it was regarded as the peak of mobile innovation at the time, and is best known for helping Keanu Reeves' character Neo navigate The Matrix.

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Steel and glass

With only five or six hours of light in the Finnish winter, this web of steel and glass lets as much of it as possible into the Espoo HQ.

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Huge interior, concave walls

This is the curved wall of offices that benefit from the webbed glass ceiling. This shot gives a sense of how huge the building is. The concaved wall of offices overlooks the main thoroughfare in the newer of the two parts to HQ. 

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Elop's office

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop's office is on one of the top levels of this section of the building. 

Nokia HQ was built between 1996 and 1997, with Elop joining the company as chief exec in 2010 - the first non-Finn to hold the job.

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A cafe on the new side of the building

Here's one of Nokia's cafes, located on the new side of HQ where Elop works.  During the Helsinki winter, when temperatures regularly drop several degrees below freezing, workers can pick up hot porridge for €0.60 a bowl.

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Cafe Nokia

The Nokia canteen has usually got a fairly international menu, but occasionally there's a reindeer stew.

A hit with the locals however is hernekeitto, Finnish for pea soup. It's traditionally accompanied by pancake, jam and cream. Sounds odd, but I'm assured it's delicious.

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Going overhead

This elevated corridor stretches the length of the building and is a time-saver for busy executives. Instead of having to descend to what presumably is the sometimes-busy canteen level, they can take a short cut at level 1. 

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Nokia's beach promo van

Consumers in western markets probably wouldn't see this vehicle at a beach, but apparently in India that's exactly where Nokia takes it, advertising its wares much like an ice-cream van. 

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Sails flying high at Nokia

There's no clue in the HQ as to what the significance of these overhead sails are, but Nokia did have a yacht that was successful in the Sydney to Hobart race back in 1999. This building was constructed in 1996 and 1997, and was due for a renovation in 2008 -- a plan that was spiked due to the global recession.  It still looks modern to me. 

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Wired for sound

I wasn't sure what to make of this seven-foot high arch phone display. A reference to the trend of phones including music players, a trend that predated and laid the foundations for Apple's first iPhone?

It's located in a hall nearby the cafe. Apparently jazz bands occasionally play nearby for Nokia staff.

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The flower room

I don't think I've ever seen a resting spot for pots of flowers, but Nokia has one -- I guess if they need watering, it's probably logical to do it in one spot than lugging water back and forwards to reach them all.

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Gateway between old and new buildings

That's Nokia communications manager James Etheridge, who showed me around on this impromptu tour of HQ.

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