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Helsinki Design Week & Habitare

Sep 6, 2016
With Helsinki Design Week, the largest design festival in the Nordics, and Habitare coming up, here is a quick overview of the highlights taking place around town.Let’s face it: with every major design...
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Text by Laura Herman
Photography by Aino Huovio

With Helsinki Design Week, the largest design festival in the Nordics, and Habitare coming up, here is a quick overview of the highlights taking place around town.

Let’s face it: with every major design event we visit we are confronted with a deluge of new concepts and novelties of varying quality levels. In a world permeated with disposable goods and marked by increasingly limited resources, the demand that designers raise the bar seems more urgent than ever before. This insight inspired Helsinki Design Week founder Kari Korkman to ask that designers do better. “Better” is the theme of this year’s HDW edition in response to design overkill, encouraging designers to be more critical, precise, and innovative. We are definitely curious to see how “better” will play out with more than 200 events unfolding throughout Finland’s capital city in the coming days.

HDW’s main event is HDW HOP, a series of installations spread across the city centre from 5 to 11 September. New this year are the Design Diplomacy discussions, which take place in 12 foreign embassies where a design representative of each country has an exchange with a Finnish designer (registration required). Design Market takes over the Merikaapelihalli space at the Cable Factory on 3 and 4 September. At the PechaKucha Night on 8 September designers and researchers bring their stort in 20 images. Thursday 8 September is Architecture Day with an annual honorary lecture on Eero Saarinen organized by the Museum of Finnish Architecture, among many other lectures.

Habitare, the largest design and furniture fair in Finland and the biggest hub of Helsinki Design week, will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki from 7 to 11 September 2016. The fair has taken sharing, community and sociality as its theme, titling this year’s edition “Open the doors!”. Like each year, Habitare will present the best of Finnish design companies, focussing on material innovation, product upgrades, and with particular attention to the welcoming character of Finnish homes. Additional exhibitions are the Block, Protoshop, Talentshop, and the Signals exhibition presenting four visions of future trends in interior decoration and design put together by trend analyst Susanna Björklund. While you’re there, don’t miss out on Kaj Franck Design prize winner Markku Salo’s exhibition! Will you bring the kids along? Then definitely visit the Habi Kids area. We also look forward to attend influential design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn’s keynote speech as the first International Friend of Habitare on the most exciting products and phenomena from the Habitare fair offering.

Showroom, held concurrently with Habitare, is a design, spatial design, and lighting event for professionals organised from 7 to 9 September as part of the Habitare trade fair. The show’s architecture is designed by ALA Architects, and stage performances are curated by Tuuli Sotamaa from Ateljé Sotamaa.

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