• Aalto vase. Photo: Visit Finland Media Bank
  • Marimekko fashion show. Photo: Helsinki Tourism Material Bank/Seppo Laakso


Design is a factor deep-rooted in the urban lifestyle of Helsinki. Design is manifest in the everyday lives of Helsinki citizens in many ways, ranging from home furniture and items that represent old Finnish design traditions to modern urban solutions in the city and contemporary interior design. In 2012 Helsinki wore the title World Design Capital. Helsinki is the perfect destination for design shopping and design culture.

Renowned the world over, Finnish Design made its official international debut in the 1950s. The most famous names in Finnish design include Alvar Aalto, Marimekko, Nokia, Rovio Mobile, Iittala and Arabia. In the fashion industry, Paola Suhonen’s IVANAhelsinki, Ilona Hyötyläinen’s Miu, Samu-Jussi Koski’s Samuji, footwear designer Minna Parikka and Lumi Accessories have wowed audiences the world over.

Helsinki Design District

Helsinki has its own Design District, an area to the south of the Esplanade that is home to around 200 design attractions, from shops to galleries, studios to museums, and design offices to museums and restaurants. An easy way to discover the Design District is to take the Helsinki Design Walk, a two-hour guided tour in English of the top sights. Late Night Shopping events are held in the Design District several times a year.

Design District Helsinki is both a neighborhood and a state of mind. It is 25 streets on a map that offer shops, galleries, design studios and design hotels. It is creativity, uniqueness, experiences, design and Finnish urban culture.

The permanent exhibition at the Design Museum tells the story of Finnish design from the late 19th century to today, highlighting the biggest names in Finnish design. The museum also presents special exhibitions presenting the latest trends in Finnish and international design.
Besides the Design District Helsinki, there are also other design areas in Helsinki, like Kallio, the Tori Quarters and Arabianranta.

The Abattoir in the Kalasatama district brings together design and cuisine in delightful new ways. This dynamic centre for food culture opened in autumn 2012 in converted premises that once housed the city abattoir but now offers a wide range of events and happenings for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Quality of life

The creative sector is re-shaping Helsinki’s economy and enhancing the citizens’ quality of life. Design seen from a broad perspective – in city planning, architecture, industrial design and service design – plays an integral role in the development of Helsinki, city services and consumer products.

Helsinki Design Week

Creativity takes centre stage during Helsinki Design Week, which takes place each autumn. This international festival offers a city-wide meeting place and discussion forum for design professionals and enthusiasts alike. The program includes exhibitions, seminars, workshops, fashion shows, installations, shopping opportunities, evening programs, and open doors to studios and other design premises that are usually closed to the public.