This August sees the inaugural edition of a brand-new design festival, set to become an annual fixture on the international design calendar
Photography by Marimekko
Design Helsinki will run from 24-25 August in Finland’s capital city which this year celebrates ten years since it was named World Design Capital in 2012. Renowned for its functional and minimalistic Nordic architecture, the city boasts the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe, making it a key destination for architecture aficionados. Finnish design has made its mark on a global scale thanks to the likes of iconic designer Alvar Aalto as well as household names, including Marimekko, not to mention the array of emerging talent.
Marking a decade since Helsinki was named World Design Capital, the city will celebrate the occasion with a series of events and city-wide activities, with Design Helsinki, the capital’s first dedicated B2B contemporary design event, at the heart of the celebrations. Design Helsinki will seek to highlight the profound influence that Nordic design and its long-held commitment to sustainability has on the architecture and design industries as well as providing a platform for international design professionals to meet with sought-after, world-renowned brands.
Photography by ABL Laatat
Additionally, the show will work with two major partners in Finland–Habitare and the Alvar Aalto Foundation–to provide exciting and relevant content for visitors. Habitare and Design Helsinki will both feature in each other’s programmes. The creative director of Habitare, Laura Sarvilinna, will be interviewed as part of the Design Helsinki programme on “Regenerate”, while Design Helsinki will participate in Habitare’s programme as part of the theme “Blending Spaces”.
Featuring an unmissable programme for design, Design Helsinki will take place in various locations in and around Helsinki, including an international pavilion in Kasarmitori, a topical Talks programme in the Design Museum, installations in Esplanadi park as well as within multiple resident design showrooms. The fair will also celebrate the area’s local design showrooms who will welcome architects, designers, dealers, retailers and more to experience the best of Nordic and Scandinavian design.
Photography by Marimekko
Integral to the festival, the local showrooms that partner with Design Helsinki will provide a stimulating programme of topic-led events including talks, workshops, product launches and more. The vast range of showrooms dotted around the city-centre provide attendees an opportunity to explore some of the most inspiring commercial spaces that Helsinki has to offer with distinguished international brands like Carl Hansen, Norman Copenhagen and Kvadrat all taking part, alongside local sought-after names like Marimekko and Skanno.
A key feature at the event will be a specially constructed international design pavilion situated in Kasarmitori square in the Kaartinkaupunki district of Helsinki. Framed by stunning historic buildings, Kasarmitori has been chosen as the location for its architectural significance. Within the 1,650m2 pavilion, visitors will discover leading Scandinavian and international contract interiors brands with hundreds of products covering furniture, lighting, surfaces, architectural finishes and more.
Photography by Vaarnii
As part of the live programme, Design in Conversation promises in-depth dialogue with established and new design talent, industry leaders, journalists, and institutes, across a two-day programme of talks. Held within the former building of the Brobergska Samskolan high school in Kaarti, Design Museum will partner with the event to curate a comprehensive programme of free-to-attend sessions within their auditorium. A special exhibition by design studio FormaFantasma will also be in residence within the museum.
‘We’re delighted to welcome a new international design event in Helsinki,’ says Piia Lehtinen, Head of Collaboration & Marketing, Design Museum Helsinki. ‘The two-day talks programme will be held at the Design Museum and will cover current topics and issues, as well as introducing both Finnish and international professionals to the audience. We are also delighted to include our main exhibition ‘Design for Everybody’ and our gallery exhibition by Milan based design studio FormaFantasma to the talk’s audience. It’s exciting to kickstart the fall season with Design Helsinki!’