Helsinki Design Week will be celebrated in September

Helsinki Design Week, the largest multidisciplinary design festival in the Nordic countries, will once again be held around the city and online from 1 to 11 September 2022.

The theme of this year’s festival is “We are open”, and the festival will offer dozens of design-themed events around the city and online. 
“Openness is essential in any development, and integral in the design process. Staying curious and receptive is a choice. Openness also acknowledges its own incompleteness: the design industry is full of contradictions, continues unsustainable practices and has much room for improvement in terms of equality and diversity,” says Anni Korkman, Programme Director of the Helsinki Design Week Festival and the Weekly media platform.

The theme of openness is especially evident in Open Studios, which has been a part of the festival programme since 2005. Open Studios opens the doors of creative Helsinki offices on three days and evenings to students, professionals, the press and curious city dwellers.

“For us, the studio is a state of mind. Having said that, the working spaces are usually quite interesting places, too. I find it very inspiring to be able to see behind the scenes again after a long pandemic period; what kind of design city Helsinki is and who makes that happen. Guided tours of the studios, which represent a broad spectrum of the design industry, will take place. We also run recruiting events, design talks and, of course, fun, informal, after-work evenings,” says Korkman. Open Studios also features HDW’s Organizing Partners, opening the workspaces of members of Grafia, Safa and Ornamo. The Organizing Partners represent key organizations in HDW’s extensive stakeholder network.

10 years as a design city: urban design and design for children

The main partner of the festival this year is the City of Helsinki. The city’s partnership is a part of a long-term collaboration with Helsinki Design Week which aims to strengthen Helsinki’s profile as a design city.

“This year marks 10 years since Helsinki was the World Design Capital. The year 2012 was the starting point for Helsinki to make extensive use of design within the city’s organization. We also want to highlight the importance and scope of urban design during Helsinki Design Week. A new form of cooperation with Helsinki Design Week is the Helsinki Design Award,” says Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer of Helsinki.

 A traditional part of Helsinki Design Week’s programme is Children’s Design Week, whose HDW Children’s Windows will once again be implemented in cooperation with the City of Helsinki. In the Children’s Windows programme, children get to know the world of design through workshops and an installation together with experts in the field of design.

Wood glitter, objects of the future, spirituality and international friends

Another classic Main Event of Helsinki Design Week is the Design Market, which will return to the Cable Factory. The Design Market will also continue to be held online. The event has been developed to meet the wishes of both sellers and customers, which means that this year an online campaign will offer the opportunity to launch new products while the Cable Factory weekend will focus on the stock sale. Sellers of high-quality furniture, interior objects, and clothing and accessories can apply for one or both sales channels. 

Other events include the popular Design Diplomacy talks series, which arranges inspiring encounters in the residences of Helsinki-based ambassadors. In addition, a whole series of the popular PechaKucha events will be held, one of them taking place at the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi and another as a part of Children’s Design Week.

The four-year collaboration with Aalto University will continue with the fourth Designs for a Cooler Planet exhibition. The Otaniemi campus will celebrate by experimenting with planet-friendly materials, fashion and food. Twenty projects combining research and design are on display, including a textile made of water hyacinth and wood-based glitter, as well as projects in sustainable fashion and architecture.

The Design Museum will open the What if? Alternative Futures exhibition based on Sitra’s Weak Signals study, which has identified surprising phenomena of the future and interpreted their possible effects on our lives. The exhibition (9 September 2022–8 January 2023) portrays seven different futures by authors in the creative industry. The works address the future through six different themes: at work, at home, in nature, in the city, in decisions and in the metaverse.

An exhibition by French designer Inga Sempé will be on display at the Iittala & Arabia Design Center. The exhibition In line with Inga Sempé draws a line between arts, crafts and industry, and shows the whole world behind an object.

This year’s theme for the furniture, interior design and design trade fair Habitare (7–11 September) is Reimagine. The theme highlights the power of the imagination and what our environment and where and how we live could look like in the future. This year’s international friend is architect Joseph Grima.

Helsinki Design Week will also feature an exhibition showcasing spirituality in design and visions for the future of young designers. The multidisciplinary festival will intensify cooperation with the Love & Anarchy Film Festival. An open content search for Companion and Satellite events is open until 19 June.

The designer of the festival poster is Ukrainian artist Andriy Boyar

The festival poster of Helsinki Design Week has been designed by artist Andriy Boyar. Inspired by the covers of old records and magazines, Boyar has worked on a series of images during the spring that comment on the festival theme We Are Open.

“We need to stay open to the new. We only gain experience by trying new things. The more different experiences we have, the more interesting we become as people,” says Boyar. The collaboration between HDW and Boyar is the result of the Hiring for Peace campaign. In the campaign, Finnish companies offer work to Ukrainian creatives. 

Helsinki Design Week will be arranged online and around the city 1–11 September 2022 and will include launch parties, talks, dinner parties, exhibitions, fashion shows and much more. The full programme will be launched on 4 August. The Call is open until 19 June for both the open programme and the Design Market. More information can be found here.