Helsinki Design Week’s programme has been published: The multidisciplinary design festival invites visitors to see the city from new points of view

During Helsinki Design Week in September, a wide variety of design disciplines will be represented widely around the city and online. Through an open call, more than 100 events have been selected for the festival calendar. In accordance with its annual theme “We are open”, HDW opens up the city together with its diverse partnerships. The main venue will be Kanavaranta 1.

The main venue, the Sugar Cube, is open to the public for the first time

Helsinki Design Week’s main venue changes annually. For the ten days of the festival, this year’s location will be at Kanavaranta 1. This iconic building known as the Sugar Cube was designed by Alvar Aalto and completed in 1962.

No exhibitions will be situated at the main venue this year – the top floors of the building will be dedicated to brainstorming and the exchange of ideas. Restaurant Kuurna has been invited to cater on the top floor, and visitors can expect delicious dinners in intimate cabinets with the best views of the city. Located on Meritullinkatu since 2005 and owned by Laura Styyra and Tom Hansen, Kuurna is known for its high quality food and beverages as well as its service. The booking calendar for this pop-up restaurant is open to the public starting today. Next to the restaurant, there will be a wine bar where a series of Weekly Talks will address interesting topics in design and architecture.
In addition to parties and discussion events, Kanavaranta 1 will be introduced via guided tours. People can sign up for the tours starting 18 August.

The programme director’s top picks in urban design, fish sauce and futurology

Programme director Anni Korkman picked her favourite events from the extensive HDW programme.

  • Helsinki Design Award. This year we’ll award urban design together with the City of Helsinki. The award celebrating the 10th anniversary of the World Design Capital will be given on 1 September to a designer or design team for shaping the city into something better. The conversation around the themes continues in a seminar on 6 September. 
  • Designs for a Cooler Planet. Our close cooperation with Aalto University continues with the Life 1.5 section of the Designs for a Cooler Planet exhibition series. Our planet cannot sustain the wasteful use of materials; Life 1.5 is to leave no harmful traces. We need systems to help use objects and materials over and over again. The exhibition on the Otaniemi campus will present ten projects, from biomaterial experiments to new construction materials.
  • Särkisalonki at Puistokatu 4. To be opened in the Kaivopuisto park at Puistokatu 4, The House of Science and Hope will participate in the HDW programme with their “Salon Roach” (Särkisalonki) installation. The project combines design, crafts, food and modern art into a fish sauce made of Finnish “rough fish”. 
  • R&A x HDW – Underground, above ground, and up in the air. With our friends at the Helsinki International Film Festival, we’ll surprise visitors with a series of film screenings around the city – underground, at ground level as well as above the ground. This series will bring together cinema and architecture lovers in the basement and garden of the National Museum as well as in the lift of the Cable Factory. HDW Children’s Design Week, too, will have its own movie showings.
  • The ‘What if? Alternative Futures’ exhibition at the Design Museum. Opening during Helsinki Design Week, this exhibition is based on the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra’s report on weak signals that recognizes and interprets surprising phenomena in the future as well as their potential impact on our lives. What if, in the future, we will be able to communicate between different species, decide to take over cities, or be able to measure feelings?

Classic events return, opening up the city after the pandemic

Part of HDW since its very first year, the Open Studios event from 7 to 9 September will feature designers, agencies and co-working communities. The festival always features novelties and creative output, and this year its specialties will include backgrounds and processes. Where and how does creative work take place? During the three-day event, visitors can participate in guided tours in a specific city district or wander about from one studio to another at their own pace. The final night brings workshops, launch parties and a convention party at Club Kaiku.

The popular stock sale event, the Design Market, from 2 to 4 September will present the designers and makers behind the high-quality furniture, interior design items, clothing and accessories on sale. In the Merikaapelihalli of the Cable Factory, we’ll truly feel the festival’s atmosphere with top chef Ina Niiniketo and Roni Kerttula’s lunches served in the cafeteria and in the exhibition of samples and prototypes to buy from well-known designers. Kids will have their hands full in the thrilling workshops of the Arkki School of Architecture for Children. The Design Market Online campaign will take place at the same time as the Cable Factory event. The Cable Factory event will feature prototypes and last-season products, while the online event will offer compelling new products.

The HDW programme includes three of the super popular PechaKucha Night events. The first invites the 5th graders of Helsinki on stage to talk. Organized as a part of the Culture Path (Kulttuuripolku) by the City of Helsinki, the PechaKucha Day on 6 September will give kids the opportunity to share their inspiration and enthusiasm in the Maijansali room of the city library Oodi. The second PechaKucha Night on 7 September is part of Aalto University’s Designs for a Cooler Planet exhibition series opening on the Otaniemi campus, and the third will be held in the Kallio Church on 8 September.

Once again, the Design Diplomacy discussion series will open the doors to ambassadors’ residences, inviting the most interesting people to visit and engage in conversation. In each event, two speakers meet at an ambassador’s residence: one a design professional from Finland and the other from the embassy’s home country. The speakers meet over a game of cards where each card contains a question/topic. The cards are taken from a deck at random, and the speakers cannot prepare for their topics in advance. In 2022, ten embassies will take part in this event series. The speakers will be revealed soon, and registration for the event starts from 18 August.

Children’s Design Week will shape the city of the future. The main event of Children’s Design Week will give a voice to kids and youth about what kind of city centre would feel genuinely open to them. The window installation series launched in 2021 continues on the ground floor in the corner of Aleksanterinkatu and Mikonkatu. Moreover, there will be workshops, film screenings and much more around the city.

Helsinki Design Week 1–11 September 2022. The main partner of Helsinki Design Week is the City of Helsinki.

Registration for some of the events and ticket sales start from 18 August at You’ll find the entire programme on the website, including the main, companion and satellite events.

Dinner bookings for Kuurna x HDW Restaurant can be made here.