Helsinki Design Awards presents the shortlist of the Internationalization

In the new series of Helsinki Design Weekly, we meet the finalists of Helsinki Design Awards. The third part of the series introduces the shortlist of the Internationalization. 

Videos are brought to you by Siro Creative, a creative production company from Helsinki.

Developer of Business Culture

Maria Martikainen

The Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE was building a new radio station in Pasila and YLE’s Juhani Borenius asked Ilpo Martikainen and Topi Partanen if they could build an active studio monitor. That kicked off the company’s internationalization process, and their first international order went to RAI, the public broadcasting company of Italy. In 1985, production moved from a basement workshop to Genelec’s own factory in Iisalmi.

Ilpo Martikainen was originally inspired to achieve optimal speaker functionality, and this objective continues to inspire the production team today. The brand’s distribution network now covers approximately 70 countries around the world. Genelec has subsidiaries in USA, Japan and China and resellers throughout Europe. Human presence and human-to-human contact are the key ideas that help build the Genelec brand worldwide. Genelec celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. There’s been a party in Iisalmi, an anniversary publication, and important milestones shared on social media. Like Helsinki Design Week’s theme Trust, Genelec’s theme for this special year is Built to Trust. Martikainen thinks that in life everything should be built on trust. Genelec’s aim is to produce equipment that can be trusted. As an example, Martikainen tells about the 37-year-old speaker brought to Genelec for maintenance. After the procedure, it returned home ready to serve for many years to come.


School of Architecture for Children and Youth
Director Pihla Meskanen

Recently, we sat down with Arkki and discussed Finland’s education system, why it is a joy to work with children and architecture, as well as why Finnish architecture and design thinking is so special.

During our discussion Arkki highlighted that in Finland architecture is part of the basic education system of art, which means that the Ministry of Education has formulated a very rare but core curriculum for children that includes the creative fields (music, dance, art and architecture). As such, many countries around the world are hugely interested in the Finnish education system, as this type of curriculum is so special.

The Arkki team have found that it has been extremely exciting to work with children in this field. This is because they have been able to truly understand what children find interesting in architecture and what they want from their spaces and school environment.

Arkki also explained to us that by working with many different countries and subsequently different cultures and views of architecture around the world, they have realized what is so special in Finnish architecture and design thinking. For example, in Finland it can be quite dark and cold, so light in architecture is a very important factor. However, this is very different from other countries where the sun is a hostile element and brings too much heat. Therefore, Arkki highlighted that it is very interesting to discuss these different viewpoints with different people around the world as it helped them understand what is so unique about Finnish architecture and design thinking.


Com-pa-ny, Secrets Projects
Designers  Aamu Song and Johan Olin

In the run up to Helsinki Design Week, we spoke with Com-pa-ny about their career highlights, working with traditional makers and the topic of trust.

During our discussion with Com-pa-ny, one career highlight that they mentioned was their project called the ‘secrets series’ where they have researched and discovered traditional craft makers and/or manufacturers all over the world. For this series Com-pa-ny had the opportunity to visit a number of places where traditional methods of workmanship were still being used in order to create new design pieces.

Once Com-pa-ny finds a maker, they informed us that they usually spend some time on site to learn the techniques used by these workers. After this they would then design something new that is still suitable for the traditional maker’s way of producing an item.

Regarding their international projects, Com-pa-ny first worked in Finland, then they have gone to Korea, Belgium, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, the USA and Japan. Additionally,  Com-pa-ny explained to us that when they travelled to new places, they had to obtain a certain level of trust and understanding in order to be able to work in a new environment with people whom they may have just met only a few days earlier.