Helsinki’s programme for Beijing Design Week kicks off on 18 September, showcasing the design know-how of Helsinki. The programme, featuring both virtual and hybrid events, is primarily aimed at Chinese visitors and invited guests of the festival, but a part of the programme can also be experienced remotely.
This autumn, Helsinki will be the Guest City of the largest design festival in Asia, Beijing Design Week. Helsinki’s festival programme will showcase the design know-how of Helsinki and especially smart and sustainable solutions in education and urban development.
The programme, which is centred around the theme of Designing Better Life, will be presented to the festival audience in the form of expert seminars held at an installation designed by JKMM Architects and virtual content from 18 to 21 September.
The programme will kick off on 18 September with a media event followed by two expert seminars: the Smart & Sustainable City Business Seminar and the Innovations in Education Business Seminar, which will showcase smart and sustainable solutions in urban development and education and feature the City’s own projects and business partners. The full programme of the seminars is available here.
The seminars will also become available for viewing afterwards on Helsinki-kanava.
For families and children, the programme will also include design and science workshops on 19 September, which is also the day on which Helsinki’s installation will be visited by a Moomin character.
The Education Division of the City of Helsinki will be holding a virtual pop-up school from 20 to 24 September, 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 the themes of Helsinki’s Guest City programme, design education and the goals of sustainable urban development.
Helsinki will also be playing a prominent role in the official opening ceremony of the festival on 22 September, which will feature video greetings from Mayor Juhana Vartiainen and Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris and a musical performance.
Design diplomacy brings together Finnish and Chinese design experts
Helsinki’s festival installation will also be hosting Design Diplomacy discussions curated by Helsinki Design Week, featuring designers and design experts from Finland and China, who will be discussing design topics with the help of question cards. Discussion topics will include architecture and design education, industrial design, architecture and urban planning.
Recordings of the Design Diplomacy discussions will become available afterwards on Helsinki-kanava.
What does Helsinki look like on your birthday?
Those visiting Helsinki’s installation will be able to enjoy the sights of Helsinki via virtual postcards. Created in collaboration with Zoan Oy, which specialises in virtual technology, Helsinki Virtual Postcard is a service that anyone can use to order a postcard depicting Virtual Helsinki. The postcards feature the most notable landmarks of Helsinki at different times of year, based on your own birth month.
You can create your very own Virtual Helsinki postcard here.
The digital works of the students of Metropolia depict the best parts of Helsinki
Students of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences took part in a Digital Art Challenge to create digital works of art embodying the best parts of Helsinki. The winning works have been assembled into a virtual event gallery.
36 questions for sustainability
A shared learning platform by Aalto University, Nordic Rebels and Howspace will be challenging visitors to come up with 36 questions that would drive companies to take positive action to promote responsible and sustainable development. Based on the questions and conversations with companies, the participants will then conceptualise new design-driven solutions, which will be compiled into an online gallery displayed at Helsinki’s installation in Beijing.
The digital gallery of the 36 questions for sustainability challenge will be open on 20 September. More information on the challenge can be found here.
Beijing Design Week is organised by Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group and Beijing Industrial Design Center. Before Helsinki, the Guest City status has been awarded to nine cities, the most recent being Mexico City in 2019. Helsinki originally received its Guest City status for Beijing Design Week 2020, but its participation was postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main partners of the Guest City project of the City of Helsinki are JKMM Architects, Marimekko and Wood from Finland. Other corporate partners include Helsinki Distilling Company, Gradient Labs Ltd, Teknos, Inno, Moomin Characters, Fiskars Group, and Adi-kaluste, while programme partners include Helsinki Education Hub, Aalto University, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Helsinki XR Center, Arkki, HEI Schools and Kide Science. Luovi Productions Oy and TAPAUS have been involved in the production of the Guest City events. The project is coordinated by the Communications Department of the City of Helsinki Executive Office.