Helsinki Card

Trust – A theme for a design

3.9.2018 Text: Violetta Teetor, freelance journalist Photos: Header: Hanna Särökaari / Habitare
Finnish Design - Habitare Helsinki (c) Hanna Sarokaari

At a time when all forms of media have been abuzz with fake news and #metoo stories, the team at Helsinki Design Week has disrupted this zeitgeist with what seems to be a novel idea these days called trust, plain and simple.

It’s being borne out in the 200+ events during this all-important week when Habitare fair, exhibitions, talks, workshops, music, food and shopping take centre stage in the city.

Talk, talk, talk

What better path to transparency than talking it through? Design Diplomacy is unique in that two or more contestants chosen for their professional expertise from Finland and the hosting country play a card game. Discussion is aroused and a convivial time is spent in the beautiful surroundings that embassies around Helsinki occupy.

PechaKucha Night draws on the knowledge of experts in the fields of urban planning, fashion and textile design, amongst others, and are given a 20 second time slot for 20 images totalling a speech of 6 minutes to make their presentation. The concept of the effective pitch was first conceived in Tokyo and has spread to the rest of the world, a full-house happening in this town since 2006.

Photo: Aino Huovio / Helsinki Design Week

Trust your senses

Vision is a gift we all take for granted. Can you imagine the level of trust you need to live without it? Howard Smith, a multi-genre artist born in 1928 and residing in Fiskars, about 88km from Helsinki, works with Isa Kukkapuro-Enbom and Henrik Enbom on an installation called Rubbish Philosophy. The blind artist has faith in his fellow creators to construct a multisensory work using recycled materials on the Espa Stage.

An altar is the quintessence of faith and it is with this in mind that Man Yau’s sculpture takes form in Stockmann’s Department Store. Spaces, sounds and light guide you through this installation based on things and people the artist finds most trustworthy. It’s entitled Nexus 10.

Photo by Aino Huovio / Helsinki Design Week


Our hope for the future. Educate them young, give them the possibility to safely explore in an urban jungle which happens during the Children’s Weekend at Kattila Hall. Illustrator Leena Kisonen transforms the old gas power station into a Magic Forest with a variety of different animals. Play, build or create in this secure environment where imagination runs wild.

The Helsinki City Museum becomes the playground for dressing up, balloon magic, music, drawing and other fun activities during the weekend of 8-9 September.

Photo by Aino Huovio / Helsinki Design Week

Music, food & shopping

Ever thought how trust can impact these delightful past times? Every time you take a bite of food in a restaurant, you not only hope that it’s not going to make you ill, you definitely expect that it’s going to taste good. The Designer Dinner at Olo Creative Kitchen guarantees a culinary adventure at the hands of Restaurateur and Creative Leader of Olo, Jari Vesivalo together with the innovations of Finnish Designer and Chef Kozeen Shiwan.

Putting the finishing touches on their performance of Blue Notes on Silver Screen – Jazz in Cinema is UMO and Aili Ikonen, big band and singer extraordinaire. The rehearsal invites you to get close and personal with the musicians as they go through their paces in this unusual event at their practice facility at the Cable Factory.

Just know that the garments and accessories you might pick up at the Design Market are of good quality, ethically produced and make you stand out in a crowd. Buy your flowers from Fredan Kukkaistori, your victuals from waste food restaurant Loop, vinyls from WeJazz and prints from the Print Market.

Photo by Otso Kaijaluoto / Helsinki Design Week

Habitare 2018

Coinciding with Helsinki Design Week and playing an integral part in the programme, is Habitare, the largest furniture, design and interior decorating fair in Finland. This year’s theme is Roots, in tune with solid trust.

Keynote speaker on opening day is Cara McCarty, Curatorial Director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. The social impact and the success story of Finnish design will be her focal points. The English garden is iconic in the minds of gardeners worldwide and who better to talk about it than Noel Kingsbury, author and designer. His topic ‘Nature in the Garden’ is up the alley of naturalists and the ecologically aware. Marimekko’s current head design is Satu Maaranen who shares her insights into building a strong brand identity.

The Protoshop Exhibition presents sheet metal furniture that look like sculptures from Suspects, Ville Auvinen’s stackable wooden stool, an elegant lamp clock that changes light according to the time of day from Mood and a minimalist solution for storing laundry from Shibumirulla. All in all, 11 new ideas from the creative minds of young designers are showcased.

Our hope for the future, children, are again taken care of at Habi Kids with a playground. It’s designed by artist and graphic designer Janine Rewell and Aino Heikkinen who knows all about children’s events. The Caterpillar Kingdom looks at the world from a grassRoots level, where kids can slide, climb or just chill on the 40-metre soft creature.

Helsinki Fair and Convention Centre or Messukeskus is the location for this 5-day fair for people in the trade as well as the general public.

Photo by Idha Lindhag / Messukeskus Helsinki

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