Helsinki Card

Designer Harri Koskinen

12.9.2016 Photos: Timo Junttila
My Helsinki: Harri Koskinen

WHO? 
Harri Koskinen is a Finnish designer. His work include a wide range of different products – furniture, tableware, glassware, lighting, candleholders, watches, textiles or much more. Koskinen’s best known work is the Block Lamp, a lightbulb held inside two shaped pieces of clear glass. Along the years, he has won several awards. The most significant of them was Compasso d’Oro Award in 2004.

Where in Helsinki do you live? What is your neighbourhood like?

I live in Hakaniemi, close to the market square, and my office is located by the sea in Siltasaari. Both the city centre with its services and the district of Kallio with its many bars and restaurants are within walking distance. The best record shops in town – such as Black And White Records – are also nearby.

Helsinki Design Week was held in the beginning of September. What comes to your mind when you hear the words Helsinki and Design?

Design is part of the everyday experience in Helsinki, although we might not always notice it. Our traffic network, services and housing infrastructure are extremely functional. We have two great events in early September; Helsinki Design Week and the Habitare fair. In addition, Helsinki is naturally home to many design professionals.

You have designed many lamps in the course of your career, including the famous Block Lamp, which is featured in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. What is your favourite place in Helsinki in terms of lighting?

Helsinki has many good examples of how lighting can highlight architecture. After all, it is dark in Helsinki for the better part of the year. I enjoy, for instance, walking in Esplanadi park and admiring the refraction of light on the façades and foliage. In autumn, when it’s dark outside, I also like wandering the streets of neighbourhoods such as Kruununhaka and Katajanokka and looking at the roof and table lamps in people’s homes.

What is your favourite thing about autumn in Helsinki? What is there to see and do?

Helsinki is a great bicycle city from early spring until late autumn. Explore Suomenlinna on a bike or travel to the eastern parts of the city by metro and pedal your way back to the centre. Visit the market hall and market square in Hakaniemi for the freshest seasonal produce. Explore the city’s new casual restaurant scene and taste the old days in one of Helsinki’s classic dining venues. Usually, galleries and museums offer the most versatile selection of exhibitions right after the summer holiday season.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS IN HELSINKI?

1. Classic restaurants offer intriguing glimpses of Finnish cuisine in different decades. SavoyKosmosKolme Kruunua and Elite are still excellent picks. 
2. Olo and Atelje Finne are fine examples of newer classics that interpret the Finnish food tradition with a distinct vision.
3. Some of my favourites in the contemporary restaurant scene are Kolmon3n and Spis; both of them have great service.

You have worked as a designer at many major Finnish brands, but also international ones, including Issye Miyake. How is Finnishness reflected in your work?

As a Finn, I have a reasonable starting point for creating functional designs. However, the work of a designer is always visionary cooperation with the client.

Where is your work shown in Helsinki?

In Helsinki, my products are available at, for example, Iittala stores and TRE Concept Store. My Showroom in Hakaniemi (Saariniemenkatu 9) also sells my products.

More about Harri Koskinen, www.harrikoskinen.com

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