Nordic Design Diplomacy in New York: FINLAND

Nordic Design Diplomacy in New York opens virtual doors to the prestigious Nordic consular residences in a series of engaging talks with design in focus, as part of NYCxDESIGN’s Design Days on May 13-18. 
Nordic Consuls General invite two design professionals to share their experiences and perspectives on what it means working in different cultural contexts in the Nordic region and the USA. The conversations are based on questions pulled from a specially curated deck of cards, created by Helsinki Design Week. 
In addition to the conversations, the audience learns about the design and history of the consular residences as an embodiment of Nordic values through virtual tours of these unique spaces. 
The virtual programs are presented in collaboration with Helsinki Design Week and NYCxDESIGN.
Nordic Design Diplomacy in New York, Finland Salon
May 15, 2021
Mika Koskinen, Consul General of Finland in New York, hosts a virtual Design Diplomacy salon from Finland’s residence in New York with Debbie Millman (Designer, Author, Podcast host: Design Matters) and Teemu Suviala (Head of Brand Design, Facebook Reality Labs).
Director & videographer: Uwa Idouzee
Editor: Sandra Itäinen
Featured Finnish design brands: Aarikka, Arabia, Artek, Helkama, Iittala, Marimekko, Secto Design Featured artists and designers: Alvar Aalto, Eero Aarnio, Jasmin Anoschkin, Riitta Ikonen,Laura Lappi, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Kristina Riska, Kim Simonsson, Marjatta Tapiola, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Oiva Toikka, Paavo Tynell, Rafael Wardi, Tapio Wirkkala
Thank you: Hostler Burrows, Jason Jacques Gallery, The Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, Kiasma, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki

Meet the speakers:

Teemu Suviala

Teemu Suviala

Teemu Suviala is the Head of Brand Design at Facebook Reality Labs. This diverse group of problem solvers, inventors, and proven visionaries leads the expansive work being done at Facebook in building the next computing platform to help people feel connected, anytime, anywhere. Facebook Reality Labs’ work in augmented and virtual reality spans a number of breakthrough technologies – with brands such as Oculus, Portal and Spark AR – and touches industries ranging from entertainment and gaming to education and beyond.

Before joining Facebook Teemu lead creative work at brand and design agencies Collins and Wolff Olins in New York. He is also known as the co-founder of design agency Kokoro & Moi. Teemu was awarded as Grafia’s Graphic Designer of the Year in 2012 and Design Forum Finland’s Young Designer of the Year in 2005, alongside his partner Antti Hinkula.


Debbie Millman

Debbie Millman

Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie Millman is also an author, educator, curator and host of the podcast Design Matters, one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts.

Debbie is the author of six books, including two collections of interviews that have extended the ethos and editorial vision of Design Matters to the printed page: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer and Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. Both books have been published in over 10 languages.

In 2009 Debbie co-founded with Steven Heller the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Debbie’s illustrations have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company. She is the author of two books of illustrated essays: Look Both Ways and Self-Portrait As Your Traitor; the later of which has been awarded a Gold Mobius, a Print Typography Award, and a medal from the Art Directors Club.

Debbie is also President Emeritus of AIGA, one of five women to hold the position in the organization’s 100-year history. She is a frequent speaker on design and branding in multiple universities, festivals, and events around the world.


The Consulate General of Finland in New York promotes Finland’s commercial interests, works on improving the operational conditions for the Finnish cultural agents and strengthens Finland’s national brand through the means of public diplomacy. In the cultural and creative domains, the Consulate General offers diverse services from facilitation of partnerships and networking to coordination of experts’ visits, event organization and communications. The scope of the Consulate General reaches from New York to 35 states situated on the East Coast and in the Midwest, as well as two special administrative regions (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands).

Mika Koskinen

MIKA KOSKINEN, Consul General, Ambassador of Finland, completed his MSc in Economy, Helsinki Graduate School of Economics in Finland in 1991. He also studied economics in Strasbourg, France (École de Management Européenne) in 1990. After having completed MSc, he went on with PhD studies at the School of Economics in Bergen, Norway in 1992.

His career in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland started when he joined the Diplomatic training course in 1995. He has served as Ambassador of Finland in Peru and concurrent Ambassador in Bolivia and Ecuador in 2015-2019 and is currently the Consul General of Finland in New York where he has assumed his official duties as of July 1, 2019. Koskinen’s other postings include serving as Director for Personnel Services in Helsinki and as Counsellor in the Embassy of Finland in Madrid, Spain, the Embassy of Finland in Dublin, Ireland and the Embassy of Finland in Paris, France.





Helsinki Design Week is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries. Held annually in September, the multidisciplinary festival presents design from a number of fields as well as fashion, architecture and urban culture. Helsinki Design Week presents the new faces and phenomena of design, promotes design internationally in collaboration with various partners, and offers citizens a forum to participate in developing and discussing the city and its culture. The next Helsinki Design Week will be held on 9–19 September 2021.


NYCxDESIGN is a not-for-profit organization committed to empowering and promoting the city’s diverse creative community. NYCxDESIGN started as a City-led initiative in 2013 and through grassroots efforts evolved into an influential entity, unifying New York’s creative capital under one umbrella and drawing significant exposure and opportunities to the City’s design disciplines, people, events, and related industries. NYCxDESIGN organizes exceptional year-round programming, including its annual international festival. Diversity, purpose, cultural placemaking, economic opportunity, and creativity are core to the not-for-profit’s values.


The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council are the main forums for official Nordic co- operation, which involves Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. Our vision is to make the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world.

Subscribe to Helsinki Design Weekly here. 

Watch the other Design Diplomacy salons in the series here.