Helsinki Design Week arranged this year, call for event organizers now open

The largest design festival in the Nordics takes place from 9 to 19 September 2021. Our annual theme asks: What is wise to design now?

In the spirit of our annual theme, we are to minimize all health and safety risks and use what we learned during the first pandemic year about event production in exceptional circumstances. Despite the pandemic last year, the Helsinki Design Week main exhibition took over the Olympic Stadium of Helsinki. We presented diversity in design in this glorious setting under the theme Commitment Matters. Children were our guests of honour when Children’s Design Week for the whole family took place on the green of the Stadium. PechaKucha Night, too, was organized in the newly renovated, spacious grandstand on an enchanted evening in September. This year, we are fixing to take over the very core of Helsinki City.

“So far, we are proceeding with the Helsinki Design Week festival as planned in a hybrid mode, online and out in the city. We are obviously monitoring all official orders and guidelines closely and keeping our festival partners, contributors and participants up to date. We are completely prepared to update our plans if and when necessary,” says HDW Executive Producer Helena Fernström.

In addition to the main festival events, the organizers of many smaller events play a significant role in the festival. Over the years, our approximately 200 event organizers have become a very important stakeholder group. They are the people who inject diversity in our programme and showcase the most interesting aspects of creativity in Helsinki. Our festival events stimulate debate and experimental culture, and at best, a temporary experiment can develop into something permanent. Organized since 2005, Helsinki Design Week has always presented the latest ideas from around the world and to the world.

The services we provide to our event organizers are being improved continuously.

“Based on the feedback and dialogue collected over the years, this year we are introducing a new Open Call category: Companion Events are open to those seeking closer cooperation with the HDW team. I hope we can deepen our cooperation further, particularly with events that present the diversity of design and bring along new points of view, or surprises, to our programme. We want to try out novel ideas and improve our services, and this is a manifestation. Perhaps in the future, in addition to marketing communications, we will be able to help our event organizers with curation and production,” says Programme Director Anni Korkman.

Producer Jenny Järvinen, you are in charge of the Open Call productions. Who can apply to them?

“Anyone organizing a design-related event in Helsinki or online between 9 and 19 September. The event can be about launching a new material, introducing an innovation, design education or urban planning. We recommend our event organizers to take into account sustainable development guidelines, and we share related information and best practices to all festival makers closer to the date. This year, we’ll be able to utilize the production experience of our team and develop ourselves, too, as we strengthen our online presence. We are currently in the process of developing a new website for Helsinki Design Week and Weekly. The new website will open up more opportunities of visibility to all HDW festival event organizers.”

You can find the application form here.

Another important initiative for this year is the call for vendors for the Design Market stock sale event. In 2021, Design Market will make a comeback at the Cable Factory 11–12  September and continue its online exploration kicked off in 2020. Our event production for the Cable Factory will obviously take into account all health and safety requirements. The development of the online campaign has kept our Project Manager Ilona Jämsen busy. Ilona, which ideas from last year will appear in the Design Market online campaign?

Jenni Värt

“Design Market Online, organized for the first time in May 2020 and repeated during the festival in September, proved that there is clearly a demand. The vendors, who are very important to HDW, took to the platform positively. Our objective was to provide them low-threshold participation that is cost efficient online, too. In the next Design Market Online, we’ll be able to promote the opportunities offered by our Weekly medium in a more integrated way. Last year consumers were happy, because on the campaign site, they could find all of their favourite Design Market vendors and top products with great discounts. The interest in items for the home and in furniture was vast.”

What can be expected to take place at the Cable Factory?

“If the pandemic gets better, we’ll be able to organize a slightly updated outlet weekend. However, to avoid crowds and to ensure safe distances, we are able to include fewer design companies than before. We’ll be focusing on curation when selecting the vendors and considering the product selection as a whole. The nominal entrance fee allows us to provide a nice purchase experience and authentic, rush-free encounters with the vendors, as well as high quality fringe event production,” Jämsen says.

“I would like to warmly welcome all contributors who are considering to participate in the Helsinki Design Week festival. At HDW, we always believe in the future, and at the moment, we believe in the operation of the Finnish healthcare system. Since the pandemic is still going strong, our cancellation policy will be flexible this year, too,” Järvinen promises.

Open Call for events is on from 11 March to 27 May. You may cancel your application and participation before 5 August 2021. After this date, the cancellation and reimbursement of participation fees will only be possible if all events in Helsinki are cancelled between 9 and 19 September 2021 by the government. More information and application form available here

The application period for Design Market vendors is open from 11 March until 27 May. You may cancel your application and participation before 5 August 2021. After this date, the cancellation and reimbursement of participation fees will only be possible if all events in Helsinki are cancelled between 9 and 19 September 2021 by the government.More information and the application form for the Design Market available here.