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Helsinki Design Week takes over the city this week

Helsinki Design Week, the largest design festival in the Nordic countries, will take place from 1 to 11 September in Helsinki. The festival invites you to explore the city from new perspectives in the spirit of the annual theme “We are open”. The varied programme includes exhibitions, open doors, discussions and a children’s programme. The festival also celebrates Helsinki’s 10-year history as a city of design.

Check out the Helsinki Design Week programme here.

Sugar Cube opens to the public for the first time

The main venue for Helsinki Design Week this year is the iconic “Sugar Cube” building designed by Alvar Aalto in Kanavaranta, in the Helsinki district of Katajanokka. For the first time, the public can explore the interior of the 1962 building with guided tours and a pop-up restaurant on the top floor. Both the restaurant and the guided tours must be booked in advance.

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Children’s Design Week looks at the future of the city through children’s and young people’s eyes

The main event of Children’s Design Week will shape the city of the future by giving children and young people a voice. The series of window installations started last year continues, with children and young people taking over the ground-floor windows of the building on the corner of Aleksanterinkatu and Mikonkatu.

Children’s Windows calls for children and young people to build an installation on the theme “Open City of the Future” with designers and design educators. The theme will also be examined through questions and reflections with children and young people in workshops.

The installation will be built on Saturday, 3 September, with young people invited via Eastern Youth Work. The work can be followed through the windows of Aleksanterinkatu from 10:00 to 16:00.

On Sunday, 4 September, a design workshop will open to all children. The free non-stop workshop will be open to joining between 10:00 and 16:00. The workshop has room for 40 participants at a time. Children attend the workshop with an adult. The workshop educators speak Finnish, Swedish and English.

The final result will be on display in the windows of Aleksanterinkatu 13 until 11 September.

Children’s Windows aims to strengthen children’s literacy in design and architecture and increase their knowledge of the built and visual environment. The Design Academy of the Design Museum and Ornamo is responsible for the pedagogical planning and implementation of the event.

The Culture and Leisure Division of the City of Helsinki and Urban Tech Helsinki are also involved in implementing Children’s Windows.

Read more about Children’s Windows

Children’s PechaKucha features presentations on topics that inspire children

As part of the Culture Trail programme for schoolchildren, Helsinki Design Week is organising a PechaKucha event for children on 6 September. 5th graders in Helsinki have been invited to prepare PechaKucha speeches consisting of 20 pictures, together with their teachers, following the guidelines of Suomu – the Finnish Association of Design Learning.

Speeches can be about anything that inspires and interests’ schoolchildren right now – such as football or video games.

Children’s PechaKucha presentations will be held at the Central Library Oodi’s Maijansali on Tuesday, 6 September, from 12:00 to 14:00. Admission to the event is free. The presentations will be in Finnish.

Read more about the Children’s PechaKucha programme

10 years of design in Helsinki

Helsinki Design Week will also celebrate Helsinki’s 10-year history as a city of design. In 2012, Helsinki was the World Design Capital. The year marked the launch of a broader use of design in the development of the city.

Over the course of this ten-year journey, design has earned a permanent place as one of city’s core functions. Together with Helsinki Design Week, the city will be honouring designers this year. On 1 September, the Helsinki Design Award will be presented to a designer or team that has shaped the city for the better through its design work.

The themes of  design in the cities will also be explored at a festive seminar on 6 September. The event will feature keynote speakers Indy Johar, designer and architect, and Linda Liukas, author and illustrator. Lessons from the past and visions for the future will be heard from Helsinki and other design cities and practitioners.

The seminar will take place from 13.00 to 16.00 on 6 September in the event square of the Helsinki City Hall lobby. A livestream will be available on Everyone is warmly welcome to join the seminar, whether in person or online.

Please register for the seminar by 2 September through this link.

Learn more about the seminar here.

Founded in 2005, Helsinki Design Week is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries The annual multidisciplinary festival, which takes place in September, showcases design, fashion, architecture and urban culture. Helsinki Design Week is produced by design service agency Luovi Productions Oy. The City of Helsinki is the main partner of Helsinki Design Week.

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Helsinki Design Week 

Helsinki as a city of design 

Photo: Aleksi Poutanen, Helsinki Design Week

The article
was published on 16 August and updated on 30