• (c) Jussi Hellsten/Helsinki365
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Discover design city Helsinki

Design is a factor deep-rooted in the urban lifestyle of Helsinki making it the perfect destination for design shopping and design culture.

Design is manifest in the everyday lives of Finns 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.

Top names, classics and trendsetters

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, Iittala and Arabia. Helsinki is an ideal city for purchasing designer goods and discovering fresh designer culture. See a list of design boutiques where you can buy Finnish design in Helsinki.

In the fashion industry, Ivana Helsinki by Paola Suhonen, Miun by Ilona Hyötyläinen and Samuji by Samu-Jussi Koski have wowed audiences the world over. In addition, keep watch on Lumi Accessories as well as footwear designer Minna Parikka, who has been awarded with the Young Designer of the Year prize (2014). See where you can buy Finnish fashion in Helsinki.

Explore the Design District Helsinki

Helsinki has its own Design District, an area to the south of the Esplanade that is home to around 200 design attractions, and 25 streets on a map including shops, galleries, design studios, museums, restaurants and showrooms.

An easy way to discover the Design District is to go on a walking tour. Design Walk gives you an introduction to the Finnish design through a guided tour in English of the top design sights. Tours are organised weekly every Friday.

If you prefer to explore the Design District on your own, make use of the Design District walking route maps that are tailored according to six different tastes.

While at the Design District pop into the Design Museum and feel the charm of the 140-year-old museum. The permanent collection "Finnish Form" 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, Scandinavian and international design.

Helsinki is full of design events all year round

Creativity takes centre stage during Helsinki Design Week organised yearly in the beginning of September. The biggest design event in Northern Europe 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.

In connection to the Design Week, Finland’s biggest furniture, interior decoration and design fair Habitare takes place in Messukeskus Helsinki. The fair showcases interior design solutions for homes and public spaces from furniture and materials to unique design items.

If you are visiting Helsinki during Christmas time, be sure to stop by the Design Christmas Market organised in Kaapelitehdas by the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo. Three days full of fashion, accessories, jewellery and interior design - make great finds for Christmas presents for the whole family!

Masters of Aalto is an annual event organised by the Aalto University in May. It is an exhibition of ideas and innovations as well as a festival, emerging around the theses, diploma works and final projects submitted by the graduating Masters of Art of the School of Art and Design and the new graduates of the Schools of Technology and Economics.

Get to know what is new in the fashion front at the Pre Helsinki fashion event organised yearly in May. The four-day programme includes fashion shows, seminars, talks and much more.

See also:

Design stories from Helsinki - ten different stories about design driven Helsinki


Updated 07/09/2015