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Helsinki’s Guest City programme presents sustainable and smart solutions for education and urban development. The programme is implemented mainly through hybrid and virtual events.

Helsinki and partners will bring to Beijing Design Week a stimulating programme for both professionals and a larger audience. The programme presents Helsinki’s design expertise and how design can be used to create good life, smart services and sustainable urban environments for citizens.

18.–21.9. Designing Better Life Installation, BJDW Design Expo 

An installation designed by JKMM Architects and titled The Recipes for Happy Helsinki Home will be built on-site in Beijing.

The impressive installation consists of seven wooden cubic spaces. Visitors can walk or peek inside them to experience them with all their senses and gain inspiration from the elements of happy life in Helsinki: Forest, Knowledge, Rest, Play, Sauna, Food and Work.

In the middle of the installation, there is a communal meeting place, the Square, where workshops and other events will take place during the festival.

The installation’s main materials include printed textiles by Marimekko and Finnish timber panels by Wood from Finland.

18.9. Guest City Business Seminars , BJDW Design Expo  

At two expert seminars, Helsinki will showcase innovations for learning and sustainable urban living that support well-designed everyday life.

Smart & Sustainable City Business Seminar

Smart and Sustainable City Business Seminar will introduce innovations and new technologies and solutions from Helsinki, which will support China Carbon Free 2060 actions. 

  • Opening of the Business Seminar , Juhana Vartiainen,  Mayor, City of Helsinki  
  • Greetings from Beijing City , Ms. Li Xiaodan, Director of the Industrial Promotion Department, Beijing Energy  
    Saving and Environment Protection Center  
  • Introduction to Helsinki Smart and Sustainable City Ecosystem and Opportunities , Irma Ylikangas, Senior Business Advisor, Helsinki Business Hub , and Xin Wang, Senior Business Advisor, Helsinki Business Hub  
  • Carbon Neutral Cities – Challenges and Solutions , Tuula Mäkinen, Lead, Green Electrification, VTT  
  • Helsinki Energy Challenge as a Tool to Respond , Laura Uuttu-Deschryvere, Head of International Affairs, City of Helsinki  
  • Digital Twin for Sustainable City Planning , Jarkko Sireeni, CEO and Founder, XD Visuals  
  • EV Charging for Combating Climate Change , Rami Normaja, New Business Development Director, Virta  
  • Building Sustainability for the Heating Sector , Tero Tulokas, CEO Oilon and Chairman of Finnish Energy Club 

Innovations in Education Business Seminar

Innovations in Education Business Seminar will introduce novel innovations in education and learning environments from Finland.

  • Greeting from the Deputy Mayor of Helsinki , Nasima Razmyar   
  • Helsinki Education Hub brings the innovators of education together , Mia-Stiina Heikkala, Project Lead, Helsinki Education Hub  
  • How to do STEAM with young children , Jenni Vartiainen, PhD and Head of Research, Kide Science   
  • Hot Skills & STEAM via Architecture , Pihla Meskanen, CEO, Arkki 
  • Designing for Children – Why it Matters? , Anne Rusanen, Head of Design, Hei School  
  • Combining Research and Practice – Investigating Physical and Virtual Features of Optimal Learning Environments; A Case Study of 21st Century Innovations in the Kalasatama School Centre, Helsinki, Freja Ståhlberg-Aalto, Dr. Science (Arch), Senior Architect, JKMM Architects , and Edit Bajsz, Project Architect, JKMM Architects  
  • New Learning Environments , Erkko Aarti, Architect & Partner, AOR Architects 

19.–21.9. Design Diplomacy series of events, BJDW Design Expo

Design Diplomacy is based on the simple idea of introducing to an audience an interesting design personalities representing different nationalities in a dialogue. Instead of a moderator, the two participants are given a deck of question cards, which they both draw from to ask each other questions. 

  • 19.9. Theme: Architecture education
    Speakers: Wu Qiyao, Teacher and Architect at School of Architecture for Children and Youth, Arkki & Tori Zhang, Kide Science, China Regional Director of AusEd UniEd International Pty.,Ltd./Beijing Office and International Affairs Advisor of China Education Innovation Institute of Beijing Normal University  
  • 19.9. Theme: Design education  
    Speakers: Leena Svinhufvud, Educational Curator, Head of Learning, Design Museum/A&DO & Jennifer Jin Ma, Founder and CEO of Little Oasis Group   
  • 20.9. Theme: Industrial design
    Speakers: Aslak Siimes, Director of Industrial Design at United Design Lab & Li Wei, Industrial Designer and Professor of the School of Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts (TBC) 
  • 20.9. Theme: Architecture
    Speakers: Teemu Kurkela, Founder, Creative Partner at JKMM Architects & Zhang Ke, Founding Principal of ZAO/standardarchitecture  
  • 21.9. Theme: City Planning, design
    Speakers: Hanna Harris, Chief Design Officer, City of Helsinki & Pan Jianfeng, Graphic Artist and Designer 

19.9. Family day at the Installation, BJDW Design Expo

On family day at the Design Expo, there will be workshops for kids by companies Kide Science, Arkki and HEI Schools. Moomin character will be onsite during the whole day. Design Diplomacy with the education theme will be organised twice during the day.  

  • Creative Arkki workshop - Pop Up Lantern Workshop for families
    Free your creativity and sculpt forms with light and shadows! In the workshop, you will design and build a lantern that you can take home! The aim of the workshop is to inspire creative thinking, and experiment how to create architectural space with light and shade.  
  • HEI Schools workshop - Layers of earth
    Children learn about the layers of the Earth by practising molding, sequencing and comparing different sizes. The activity promotes science and environmental education. With this activity we showcase how to support children’s curiosity and creativity.
  • Kide Science workshop: Where are you, Hoseli?
    In the Kide Science Workshop, children will jump into the imaginary story world where they can be like real scientists. Through inquiry-based learning children will do hands-on experiments, practice scientific thinking skills, and learn about scientific concepts.   

27.–30.9. Pop-up school, virtual

The Education Division of the City of Helsinki will hold a virtual pop-up school which will include students from both Helsinki and Beijing. At the four-day pop-up school, students will plan the classes’ content together and share ideas and information via virtual platforms. The classes’ topics will be related to Helsinki’s Guest City themes, design education and the goals of sustainable urban development. 

18.9.–7.10. Metropolia Digital Art Challenge, virtual

Metropolia Digital Art Challenge is a challenge-based competition for students of Metropolia UAS Design degree program. The assignment was to create an appealing digital work of art that embodies the best of Helsinki. The winning art  works will be presented in an online gallery that opens on 18 September.

20.9.–1.10. Aalto Digital Design Challenge – 36 questions for sustainability, virtual

The focus of this challenge-based event is to first come up with 36 questions that might lead to positive action in companies, and second, use these questions to engage Finnish design-driven companies in a conversation about their opportunities to create positive action. Based on the conversation, the participants will then conceptualize design-driven solutions for them to address sustainability matters. These solutions will be compiled into a digital exhibition.

Helsinki Virtual Postcard, ongoing

How does Helsinki look like on your birth month? Fill in the online form and receive a virtual postcard from Helsinki on your birth month and share it with your family and friends online.  

The virtual postcards are captures from Virtual Helsinki and present famous Helsinki sights, such as the Senate Square or archipelago island Lonna. Virtual Helsinki allows visitors to move about freely in the digital simulation of Helsinki to explore at their own pace and create their own experiences in past, present and future time. Virtual Helsinki Postcard initiative is the culmination of a longstanding partnership between the City of Helsinki and Helsinki-based virtual studio Zoan. 

Photo: Julia Kivelä