This August sees the inaugural edition of a brand-new design festival, set to become an annual fixture on the international design calendar.
Renowned for its functional and minimalistic Nordic architecture, Helsinki boasts the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe, making it a key destination for architecture aficionados while 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 Artek and Marimekko.
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. 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.
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.
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. Participating showrooms will include high-end contract furniture brands, technical specialists and material manufacturers, each of which will contribute to a diverse range of activities, led by industry experts.
Brands/International Design Pavilion
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.
Installations and Talks Programme
In addition to partnering with showrooms and presenting international brands, Design Helsinki will present a series of specially commissioned installations, brand activations and a topical talks programme in partnership with Design
Museum Helsinki. 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.