Design Diplomacy

When Fri 02.09.2022 - Fri 09.09.2022
Where Helsinki
Accessible Yes
Other Facebook

Helsinki Design Week’s popular conversation series is again part of the festival programme: Once again, Design Diplomacy will open the doors to ambassadors’ residencies and invites the most interesting people to visit and engage in conversation.

The concept is based on a discussion of two speakers present at an ambassador’s residence. One of the speakers is a design professional from Finland and the other from the embassy’s home country. The speakers meet over a card game in which each card contains a question/topic. The cards are selected at random, and the speakers cannot prepare for the topics in advance – this will ensure the surprise factor.
In addition to the conversations that take about half an hour each, interesting details will be revealed about the unique premises and their architecture over a beverage. The concept connects a unique setting with relaxed conversation, creating meaningful international connections between the embassies, design professionals and the audience. In 2022 we celebrate the opportunity to meet face to face again; up to ten embassies will be participating in the events.

Register for events by clicking on the name of the country.

Norway, 2 September at 9-11 am, Rehbinderintie 17

Iceland, 2 September at 5-7 pm, Pohjoisranta 10, 00170 Helsinki (FULL)

Slovakia, 5 September at 5-7 pm, Vähäniityntie 5

The Netherlands, 5 September at 1-3 pm, Itäinen Puistotie 7 (FULL)

Denmark, 6 September at 5-7 pm, Yrjönkatu 9 A

Ireland, 7 September at 9-11 am, Pohjoisranta 2

Hungary, 7 September at 5-7 pm, Kuusisaarenkuja 6

Spain, 8 September at 5-7 pm, Myllytie 5 (FULL)

Uruguay, 9 September at 1-3 pm, Pohjoisranta 12 (FULL)

Latvia, 9 September at 5-7 pm, Armfeltintie 10 (FULL)

Norway, 2 September at 9-11 am, Rehbinderintie 17, 00150 Helsinki
In the old villaneighbourhood of Eira is situated Norway’s embassy which has been designed by the norwegian architects Retzius and Bjoland. The building has been elected many times as the ugliest building in Helsinki partly because it doesn’t fit in the quarter it is located in. The building is surpirisingly bright inside due to it’s huge windows typical for the architecture of the time.
Marina Bauer founded Bergen-based architectural firm OPAFORM with Espen Folgerø in 2011 and focuses on creating innovative sustainable architecture. The nature of site, local materials and traditional building structures are important references in all work; to define architecture that meets fundamental needs and creates shelter.
Reinhard Kropf is a co-founding partner of Helen & Hard architects, Oslo and Stavanger. The architecture firm focuses on sustainability designed projects that range from single family houses to large scale building projects and master planning. Originally from Graz, Reinhard studied at the Technical University where he graduated with a degree in architecture, in 1986. He then received his master’s in Architecture from AHO, in 1994. There he met Siv Helene, together they founded Helen & Hard. In addition to practicing architecture, Reinhard teaches at universities in the United States, China, and Europe.
Iceland, 2 September at 5-7 pm, Pohjoisranta 10, 00170 Helsinki
In the residence designed by Lars Sonck and Onni Törnqvist, the conversation will flow in the spirit of Art Nouveau. The apartment was a students’ dormitory in the 1970s when large rooms and halls were converted into studios. It has been the residence of the Icelandic ambassador since 1999 when it was renovated to match the original style.
Studio Hanna Whitehead focuses on a hands-on approach, working in a very personal way, interweaving story, shape, materials and colour. Hanna works on the borders of art, design and craft often going between diverse materials within the same subject. She is very interested in the dialog between objects and the viewer. Designer Hanna Dis Whitehead graduated Cum Laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011. She lives and works in the South East of Iceland.
Kaisa Karvinen works as a spatial designer and researcher. She graduated with a master degree in Architecture from Aalto University (2017), and a master’s in Research in Art and Design from Sint Lucas Antwerpen (2021).
Slovakia, 5 September at 5-7 pm, Vähäniityntie 5, 00570 Helsinki
The building of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic opens the Design Diplomacy event. Doubling as the Ambassador´s residence in Kulosaari, it has a long and rich history. It was designed in the early days of the “Garden City Movement” in Kulosaari in 1907 by the renowned architect Oscar Bomanson. He built the villa for himself, but the villa changed many owners in the following decades. In 1952 and 1975, it was completely reconstructed and given a white look in a functionalist style, in which it has remained until today.
Michala Lipková is Associate Professor and Head of the Institute of Design at the Faculty of Architecture and Design in Bratislava. She leads product design studio TR1MTAB, active in the field of applied research and interdisciplinary cooperation at Slovak University of Technology. Since 2013, Michala has been leading the exhibition platform Flowers for Slovakia, focused on the presentation of young Slovak design abroad. As design researcher and facilitator, Michala participates in the international learning community Holis.
Michael Aston is a Danish born conceptual creator and cultural entrepreneur that came to Finland in the early nineties as a photographer, with a wide variety of studies and interests. Early on was conceptually behind the Nokia ‘Connecting People’ hands and more recently a conceptual cookbook for Kiasma. He is also the creator of an unusual cultural, artisanal bakery for all the senses (@primo.bread), while being an active part of the Pro Lapinlahti organisation, that aims to save and develop the former mental hospital and park in the heart of Helsinki.
The Netherlands, 5 September at 1-3 pm, Itäinen Puistotie 7, 00140 Helsinki
Villa Kleineh: from a summer villa for Russian and Baltic spa visitors to the official residence of the Netherlands ambassador. The villa is one of the oldest wooden houses in Helsinki. Nowadays the building functions as the home of the ambassador. In addition to that it is used as a venue to organize business meetings and events to strengthen the (business) cooperation between Finland and the Netherlands.
Dries van Wagenberg (1980) has been active in the design field for over 15 years. Graduated from Design Academy in Eindhoven, he currently uses his expertise as a product designer and programme manager of Dutch Design Week to lead Dutch Design Foundation’s What if Lab. In the programme he connects clients and designers to collaboratively work on innovative solutions for complex societal challenges.
Annika Tickle née Heikinheimo is an internationally established fashion and product designer. Graduating from the London Royal Collage of Art with an MA in Womenswear design. She has had an extensive career in both London and Stockholm. Annika now helms the position of the global Senior Design Lead for Moomin brand at Fiskars Group here in her native Helsinki.
Denmark, 6 September at 5-7 pm, Yrjönkatu 9 A, 00100 Helsinki
The residence of the Danish embassy is the oldest of the residencies in Helsinki and located in the Helsinki Design District, in a building designed by architect Sigurd Frosterus opposite Vanha Kirkkopuisto (the old church park). This year, the residence has been in diplomatic use by Denmark for 100 years. The residence is spacious, and its big rooms allow various functions in a setting surrounded by modern art and Danish design furniture.
Aino Brandt, Creative Director, Founder and Interior Architect at Koko3.
Sofia Fors is a Swedish born architect and founder of the Copenhagen based architecture studio Fors Arkitekter. She founded Fors Arkitekter with the aim of bringing nature, buildings and people together in a higher unity. The studio gained recognition early on after winning the two-stage competition for the Maatullin School and Kindergarten, currently under construction in northern Helsinki. The studio works with the belief that we can create more synergy and cohesion in architecture by working with building and landscape together across all scales. Their work ranges from small pavilions and transformations to large public buildings. In all their work they are committed to create generous buildings and landscapes that move us, last for generations and are strongly rooted in its context.
Ireland, 7 September at 9-11 am, Pohjoisranta 2, 00170 Helsinki
Since 2021, the official residence of the Embassy of Ireland is located at Pohjoisranta 2. In addition to serving as the private residence of the ambassador, the residence plays an important role as an entertainment and networking venue for the embassy. Pohjoisranta 2 residential block was designed by architect Kirsti Sivén. It is located on the site of a former tobacco factory and the design project entailed a great deal of balancing between contemporary demands, respect for the existing setting, and the requirements of the Helsinki town plan. The residence, a contemporary venue for representing Ireland and its craft and design heritage, features stunning views over Pohjoissatama harbour.
Kevin O' Dwyer is an internationally exhibited artist whose works embrace the fields of design, metalworking and sculpture. His ultimate goal is to create a work of art that is timeless, thought provoking and responsive to the human spirit. Over the past twenty years, O’Dwyer has collaborated with communities to revitalise their brownfield/industrial sites using art as a conduit. Artists have been invited to create significant site-specific works of art using the materials - natural and industrial - that are associated with the community's economic and cultural traditions. Education, community engagement, sustainability, access for all and the creation of an alternative eco-friendly economy within the community are key factors in its design and development.
Jaakko Pernu is a Finnish sculptor and environmental artist living in the city of Kokkola. He has been working since 1988 with natural materials - often in an oversized scale. Lately he has been working mostly abroad creating public works around Europe, Canada, USA and Taiwan. Half of his production is permanent environmental art although he makes indoor objects and installations, too. The theme of his work is “the influence of human on nature – the influence of nature on humans”.
Hungary, 7 September at 5-7 pm, Kuusisaarenkuja 6, 00340 Helsinki
The year 2022is a special year for the Embassy as the current building was inaugurated 50 years ago, in 1972. Earlier the Embassy was located on Pohjoisranta but that building proved to be too small given the developing bilateral relations. A new location was found with the help of the Finnish-Hungarian Society in a location close to Dipoli where the CSCE preparations took place. It was also an important factor that the Hungarian ambassador at that time was the doyen of the diplomatic corps and thus played an important coordinating role in the conference preparations. Rumour says that the lack of a sauna on Pohjoisranta was also a decisive factor for the move. This was the first Embassy on Kuusisaari that later turned into a favourite place for the diplomatic community. A special link between Hungary and Finland is also detectable in the fact that it was the same architect, Ilmo Valjakka who designed the building of the Hungarian embassy in Helsinki and roughly a decade later the building of the Finnish Embassy in Budapest. The building on Kuusisaari was renovated in 1999 led by the architectural bureau of István Mányi preserving the authentic look of the building. The building complex houses the offices of the Embassy, the residence of the ambassador as well as several flats for the personnel. The Hungarian Cultural Centre, opened in 1980 has a separate location in the city centre being an important welcoming scene for the public. The plot on Kuusisaari owned by the Hungarian state has a specific character: Hungary is a landlocked country and this is the only seashore of Hungary even though with a length of just over 20 meters.
Päivi Meuronen is the driving force behind JKMM Architects’ interior designs since 2003, and she leads a team of designers specialising in interiors. Her innovative design approach is discoverable eg. in Viikki Church, Turku and Seinäjoki City Libraries, Finnish Pavilion “Kirnu” in Shanghai EXPO 2010, Harald Herlin Learning Center in conjunction with the Aalto University, Amos Rex Art Museum in Helsinki and the new campus for the University of the Arts Helsinki. Her work has been awarded with Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2017 and The State Prize for Design 2013 (together with Aimo Katajamäki). Furthermore, she is awarded with the Interior Architect of the Year, Finnish Designer Award ’13 (the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo). In additional, in 2019 Meuronen was chosen as a honorary member of The Finnish Association of Interior Architects SIO.
István Mányi is a Hungarian architect born in 1943 in Nyíregyháza, a city in eastern Hungary. His father was a public servant and his mother worked as a teacher. Mányi completed his primary education in his hometown, graduated from secondary school in humanities in Debrecen and in 1967 he graduated at the Faculty of Architecture of the Budapest University of Technology. Throughout his career Mányi was equally committed to the new architectural tasks as well as the architectural heritage. He worked mainly in the fields of education and culture in a state design institute and, since 1995, in his own architectural studio.
Spain, 8 September at 5-7 pm, Myllytie 5, 00140 Helsinki
The Residence of the Embassy of Spain in Helsinki is one of the emblematic works of the famous architect Aarne Ervi, designer of other buildings in Helsinki and in other Finnish cities. The building, which bears the name “Villa Himberg”, is considered one of the most representative buildings of Finnish architecture from the 1950s, with large glass surfaces. It was built in 1954 on behalf of a distinguished Finnish businessman, Arvo Himberg. The Spanish architect Ángel Fernández Alba completed the building complex with the contiguous construction of the current Chancellery of the Spanish Embassy.
Designer Inma Bermúdez founded her studio in 2007. Her projects distill an essential aesthetic of refined and friendly geometries that convey everyday life, in combination with her functional vision of design. Her commitment to sustainability and the environment leads her more and more towards projects with a strong respect for the processes, materials and use of the products. From her home-studio on the outskirts of Valencia, she collaborates with prestigious national brands such as Roca, Gan Rugs, Marset and international corporations such as IKEA, being the only Spanish designer in the portfolio of the Swedish giant.
Timo Salli is a designer, traveller and a teacher who has recently become also a bar owner. He broke into the front of the design world at the Milan furniture fair in 1997 with the group Snowcrash. Since then, he has both begun and ended a professorship at Aalto University and built the awarded NAKUNA-exhibition for Milan Design Week.
Uruguay, 9 September at 1-3 pm, Pohjoisranta 12, 00170 Helsinki
After being appointed as professor, Otto Donner decided to build a seascape house for his family in Kruununhaka, Helsinki. The magnificent Neo-Renaissance four-storey stone house was completed at Pohjoisranta 12 in 1899. In the late 19th century, the style of Schjerfbeck’s plans was neo-Renaissance. Later he was influenced by Art Nouveau, and in the final part of his life, he started to join Classicism. The house became the home of the Donner family and the meeting place of Helsinki's influential districts. Pohjoisranta 12 has largely been preserved in its original form and is considered one of the most significant residential buildings on Pohjoisranta.
Bruno Baietto, (Montevideo, Uruguay) is a designer based in the Netherlands investigating the ideological frameworks that shape human perception. His work focuses on materiality, analyzing Western history, theology, political philosophy, and everyday life in order to explore such ideological structures that shape design today. Bruno’s work reaches from object design and material research to sculpture and installations.
Heidi Uppa is a creative designer, researcher, and adventurer from Helsinki. She has a background in branding, concept design, communication, food related experiences, project & design management and design research. Heidi is currently working as a project researcher at Aalto University and developing new product concepts for the FOLD research project. She is also doing commissioned design work through her own studio and exploring ways to help build a sustainable future through various social design projects and art installations. Heidi’s on-going doctoral research focuses on researching narratives and narrative design methods, particularly in relation to food.
Latvia, 9 September at 5-7 pm, Armfeltintie 10, 00150 Helsinki
Arthur Frenckell, Editor and Publisher of the Swedish-language daily newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet designed the original site of the Embassy of Latvia in Finland in the 1930s on Armfeltintie 10. It is still popularly known as Villa Frenckell and the Palace of Eira. The Republic of Latvia bougth the building in 1930s but lost it when the Soviet occupied Latvia during the Second World War. After re-establishment of independence of Latvia, official relations between Latvia and Finland were re-established on 29 August 1991. Four years later the building was officially handed back to Latvia to serve once again as the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia.
Ilze graduated from Aalto University and is a designer, strategic design thinker, researcher and service design enthusiast. In addition to teaching at the Art Academy of Latvia, she enjoys organising service design jams, sprints, and workshops, and curating and facilitating the Kuldīga Creative SummerSchool. As the director of the joint international master's programme in Service Design Strategies and Innovations, SDSI, she is responsible for all aspects of the programme's delivery - serving as the primary liaison between staff, faculty, programme partners, and industry; serving as the point of contact for student advising on academic matters and orientation during the programme in Latvia; and providing the time and resources necessary to ensure the smooth operation and overall academic quality of the programme.
Satu Miettinen is Dean of the Art and Design faculty (2018–) and Professor of Service Design (2016–) at the University of Lapland. She has also worked as a Professor of Applied Art and Design during the years 2011–2016. She holds one of the first academic chairs in service design and has actively developed service design teaching and research in Finland. Her lectures and research projects focus on service design, applied art and design, user-centric design and arts.