Helsinki Design Week’s theme trilogy begins: Once upon a time…
Programme Director of Helsinki Design Week and Weekly Anni Korkman writes about the annual theme of our festival. The festival theme for 2023, Once upon a time, is the beginning of a story that will transfer us from annual to triennial thinking.
The year 2025 will mark Helsinki Design Week’s 20th anniversary.
American author Joan Didion said that we tell ourselves stories in order to live. She knew that storytelling plays a significant role in being human. With the help of stories, we structuralize our experiences, feel connected or very lonely, build trust or entertain each other.
Design is said to solve problems. Successful design does much more. Like storytellers, designers can tickle our imagination, make us curious, bring up emotions and enliven our environments. Although the problems to solve are becoming more complex, we call for beauty, drama, originality and awe, even provocation, to complement form and functionality.
Design is successful when it resonates and makes us wonder, laugh, breathe and look forward to what will happen next.
Design always looks into the future. By means of design, we can imagine alternative realities. Design-fiction methods, for example, have proved that facilitated imagination can create real appreciation and agency. Design is one of the most advanced ways to wonder. The design and architecture festival Helsinki Design Week has always presented creative fields at large. Looking forward, we still believe in multidisciplinary collaboration and see design opportunities in surprising contexts.
The festival theme for 2023, Once upon a time, is the beginning of a story that will transfer us from annual to triennial thinking. The year 2025 will mark Helsinki Design Week’s 20th anniversary. The world situation has been uncertain for a long time and requires more planning and stability than before. A triennial theme cycle enables more effective impact measuring and open, in-depth discussions about HDW’s annual festival operations in the long term to increase the design fields’ appreciation and international interaction. The “HDW Trilogy” is an opportunity to delve into the development process characteristic of design.
For the next three years, we’ll hear from storytellers in other fields. What can a designer learn from a film director? Should architects listen to authors? We will be happy to hear the stories of our partners and stories from citizens, too. Whose story will be heard, and how does it continue? What story is common to us all?
Helsinki Design Week will take place 8–17 September 2023.