Helsinki Design Week’s programme is being built together with the design community

The largest design and architecture festival in the Nordic countries, Helsinki Design Week, will be organized from 8 to 17 September. For the first time, the festival brings alive an entire city block and its surroundings instead of one building. The programme is a well-grounded collection of innovations and surprises, not forgetting the festival classics.

Main exhibition over the rooftops of the Punavuori district

At the main venue of the festival on the 6th floor of the Merikortteli block, a good everyday life will be addressed via an exhibition, a discussion series and workshops. The industrial block built between the world wars still features high ceilings and tall windows that let in lots of light. Inside the solid walls, machinery has been replaced by studios in which solutions are created for the various needs of our future. The studios form an excellent setting for a design exhibition; the objective is to use the existing premises instead of staging a temporary set. At the same time, HDW provides the nearby companies and other operators an opportunity to introduce their offerings to the festival-goers.

The Main Exhibition presenting a good everyday life is curated by the Editor-in-Chief of Asun magazine, Ulla Koskinen, with Lauri Johansson as the Exhibition Architect. The chosen exhibitors represent the best of new design. The good life is also presented by the contemporary online food store and the saviour of the everyday, Oda. 

Together with Oda, we will discuss the city of the future, as part of the Talks programme of the Main Exhibition. Design helps not only to develop physical and digital services and products, but also business and strategies. The concept of design keeps developing. We need to learn to recognize the value of design where it is not yet visible – so there is plenty to talk about. The main venue will feature multidisciplinary discussions about creativity, for professionals as well as citizens. The discussions will be hosted by the design medium Helsinki Design Weekly and friends. As well as the Main Exhibition, Merikortteli will host several other Exhibitions and installations, for example, Aalto University design students. 

The Open Studios, held on two Fridays, will open doors to creative makers’ premises, inviting both professionals and those just curious to learn about their work. How does multidisciplinary cooperation work, and what is it like to live in a design city that keeps changing? Design agency Amerikka, Kobra, Avarrus and Studio Bom will participate, among others.

Design always equals cooperation: Art Goes Showroom

HDW’s popular showroom event returns to feature the most inspiring design brands after the pandemic years. This year Helsinki Design Week is proud to kick off cooperation with another passionate urban culture festival: Art Goes Kapakka. Art Goes Showroom is a series of interdisciplinary performances that highlight the best of both AGK and HDW.

One of the festival classics, the Design Diplomacy event series held in ambassadors’ residences, adds a flair of internationality to the programme. The participating embassies include Uruguay, the Netherlands, the UK and Latvia. There will be three PechaKucha nights in September, organized on the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi and at the main venue in Merikortteli. The highly popular PechaKucha day for children will also be continued.

A Children’s Design Week demonstration will reveal what kind of a city kids want to live in

Children’s Design Week is an important part of Helsinki Design Week. This year we plan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a long-term partner, the Finnish Association of Design Learning, Suomu. Children’s Design Week will take over the main venue, and there will be a design party for the whole family, including colour anarchy, playing house and a demonstration. Suomu offers experiential learning methods by doing and experimenting. Discovery, prototyping, knowledge and play are integral to this process. The main partners of Children’s Design Week include two Finnish family companies with exciting stories: Hakola will introduce their colour rebellion, and Tactic will provide novelties for all ages. As a partner, Oda is also involved in Children’s Design Week. You can participate in the crafting workshop from the main event venue or from home – and of course the winner will receive a delicious prize.

Everyone is welcome to join

The super popular Design Market will be organized again at the Cable Factory; the vendor stalls can be applied for until the end of May. Selected design companies have applicable items to sell, including last-season products, prototypes and items of substandard quality, for example. This year’s innovation at the Cable Factory is the Collector’s Market, which will focus on recycled and unique products and limited editions. In line with HDW’s annual theme Once Upon a Time, the Collector’s Market will tell the stories behind the hand-picked vintage products.

The call for Companion and Satellite events is open until 31 May. You can organize a fashion show, a guided tour or a service design workshop or open doors to your studio, for example. The programme already includes a legal design seminar, a ceramics exhibition and urban installations. 

The full programme will be launched on 14 June. This is also when the ticket sales begin. Festival visitors should keep their eye in the Festival Info page that will be updated closer to the event. There will be offers and discount codes, already one from our hotel partners U14 and F6.