Helsinki, 2012 World Design Capital. The events not to be missed.

Helsinki, the 2012 World Design Capital, is hosting over 300 events related to design and fashion – exhibitions, conferences, festivals and gallery showings throughout 2012.

For the City of Helsinki, design has for decades been a pivotal enabler to building an open city. The concept of ‘Embedded Design’ has tied design to innovation and has enabled desirable solutions that have addressed the needs of its inhabitants. Helsinki Design is also part of world design – it is created together with the international design community and the people of the world. Helsinki Design includes well-known global brands, such as Nokia, Kone and Marimekko, popular events, like the annual Helsinki Design Week, outstanding education and research institutions, such as the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and exemplary architects and designers such as Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto.

The Design Capital events include the opening of a new public sauna housed in a low – energy building using renewable energy sources. A wooden pavilion made of renewable and recycled materials will be built near the Design Museum to showcase the country’s new generation of artists.

Include on your list Helsinki Festival of theatre, music, circus, and dance, starting August 17, and The Flow Festival, also in August, featuring world-class artists such as Bjork, Bon Iver, The Black Keys, and Feist.

While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital (WDC) designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens.


MoA, Masters of A?

MoA, an exhibition and a festival of ideas and innovations, which uses the design year as a launch pad, is an annual event organised by Aalto University, emerging around the thesis projects of new master graduates from the School of Art and Design and the schools of Technology and Economics. Interesting events are built around the four-week exhibition including seminars, demonstrations, discussion events and presentations.
Date and place: 9.5.–3.6.2012, Helsinki



The central meeting place of WDC Helsinki 2012, a wooden pavilion designed by Aalto University students, is to be located in the courtyard area between the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. The Pavilion will host various events – workshops, international and Finnish talks by well-known speakers, comments on the other programmes and various campaigns. Museums will also extend their displays to the courtyard and street level.
Date: 12.5.–16.9.2012
Place: The area between the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture


Secrets of Helsinki

What is made in Helsinki? The project will search for and discover industries characteristic of Helsinki, design new local products based on the heritage of each project creator and introduce the resulting products to the residentsof Helsinki. The project continues the concept used for COMPANY, another project started in
2007 by designers Aamu Song and Johan Olin.
Date and place: June 2012, Helsinki


Everyday Discoveries – International Design House Exhibition

The Mini World Design Exhibition will bring the current design phenomena to Helsinki. Leading design organisations from some twenty countries will be introducing their new design concepts for better everyday living through play, memories and stories. Everyday Discoveries – International Design House
Exhibition is a WDC Signature Event.
Date and place: 6.–16.9.2012, Suvilahti


Helsinki Design Week 2012

Helsinki Design Week 2012 will bring together the international design community and local designers. The Design Week will not only present design to designers but will also seek to find new ways to benefit society and the city itself. An important theme will be the implementation of social innovations through participative design
Date and place: 6.–16.9.2012, Helsinki



In autumn 2012 a meeting place for food and design open to everyone will be launched on the Customs market; residents’ event suggestions will also be welcomed. Farmers markets, pop-up restaurants and design events will bring together those interested in food and urban culture.
Date: September–December 2012
Place: Customs market, Työpajankatu 2, Helsinki
Helsinki, 2012 World Design Capital. EXHIBITIONS

DesignWorld, an international themed summary of modern design, will unlock different meanings of design at the social and ecological as well as individual level. Design will be looked at through the basic needs of the individual and society in general, with reflection on the various opportunities for design to have an impact on our changing world.
Date: 27.1.-6.5.2012
Place: Design Museum, Helsinki
INDEX: Award Exhibition Outdoor Event

The exhibition will showcase 60 finalists competing for the INDEX: Award 2011, the world’s top prize for design aiming to improve quality of life.
Date: 10.5.–10.6.2012
Place: Keskuskatu, Helsinki
Hands That Draw the Future

One hundred years ago when the Association of Designers Ornamo was founded in Finland, its members had a mission: to make the new century distinguishable through industry and art. What, then, are the designer’s roles, dreams and responsibilities during the Design Capital Year 2012? What kind of tomorrow is being designed today?
Date: 16.6.–5.8.2012
Place: Kunsthalle, Helsinki


Global Nordic Design 2012
Where is Nordic design heading to? Traditions are being challenged and changed after international success spanning half a century. Participants in the exhibition will include the five winners of the prestigious Nordic Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Award: Steinunn Sigurdardottir (Iceland), Harri Koskinen (Finland), Henrik Vibskov (Denmark) and the designer teams Norway Says (Norway) and Front (Sweden). Gothenburg’s Röhsska museet will be partnering in this exhibition.
Date: 11.7.–16.9.2012
Place: EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art


BMW Art Cars
Since 1975, BMW has produced unique art cars. The mobile sculptures are touring around the world and will now arrive in Finland for the first time. Designers of the cars include Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Ken Done, Michael Jagamara Nelson and Sandro Chia.
Date: 1.9.–31.10.2012
Place: EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo
Everyday Discoveries – International Design House Exhibition
The Mini World Design Exhibition will bring the current design phenomena to Helsinki. Leading design organisations from some twenty countries will be introducing their new design concepts for better everyday living through play, memories and stories. Everyday Discoveries – International Design House
Exhibition is a WDC Signature Event.
Date: 6.–16.9.2012
Place: Suvilahti, Helsinki



Helsinki, 2012 World Design Capital. TRANSFORMING THE CITY
Kamppi Chapel of Silence

A chapel is being built at the Narinkka Square in Kamppi, in the middle of the busiest section in town, to serve as a meeting place as well as a place of quiet reflection. The wood- constructed Chapel of Silence in Kamppi will not be used for church services. However, employees from both the Helsinki area churches and the City’s Social Services Department will be available to talk with and listen to visitors. The chapel will be completed by spring 2012 and it has been designed by K2S Architects Ltd.
Place: Narinkka Square, Helsinki
Information: Project manager Eeva Salonen, Helsinki Parish Union , +358 50 3800 907,

A new public sauna will be built at Hakaniemenranta continuing the tradition of public saunas, thus creating a simple and interesting bathing place near the sea. It will be housed in a low -energy building using renewable energy sources. The aim of the Kulttuurisauna will be to invoke conversation about the city culture, the new sauna culture and the better use of the city centre shore areas.
Date: Starting from May 2012
Place: Hakaniemenranta, Helsinki
Turn Table – The Urban Garden

Turn Table – The Urban Garden is a cultivation and activity oasis right in the middle of Helsinki, within the railwaymen’s niche of the old engine sheds. The disused engine turn table will act as a framework for a modern greenhouse and a cultivation activity oasis for the city.
The undertaking includes a greenhouse, grain bins and a summer cafe with patios, diverse cultivation activities, workshops, voluntary work events as well as market, food and cultural
Place: Pasila, Helsinki


Low2No – a New Model of Sustainable Construction and Design
Low2No is a new city block and operating model in line with sustainable development. ”Low2No”
is derived from the phrase ”from low carbon to no carbon”. The Low2No development project
includes low energy and low carbon planning and construction, resulting in a sustainable built
environment. The solutions developed in this Sitra-led project will act as examples both in
Finland and internationally.
Date: Throughout 2012
Place: Jätkäsaari, Helsinki
The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia
The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia will be built in Espoo close to Nuuksio Natural Park. The
Exhibition and Event Centre will present gems of Finnish nature under one roof. Haltia will be
open to the general public in February 2013.
Date: Opened to the general public in February 2013
Place: Nuuksio, Espoo


Helsinki, 2012 World Design Capital. RETHINKING DESIGN
365 Wellbeing

365 Wellbeing consists of 12 design projects which are carried out in interdisciplinary, multicultural groups. Master’s degree students, researchers and experts in Aalto University work together with the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti. 365 Wellbeing aims to contribute to revamping the cities’ design practices. The project applies aspects of service design and critical design, among other things. The aim is to tell about the significance of design as actions with social initiative and responsibility.
Place: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti
Redesigning 925
The project will study knowledge workers’ everyday lives on grass root level and aim to find better ways to work and organise work. The objective will be to design the working week in a new way and to increase its meaningfulness, creativeness and efficiency. The project’s results will be published in two seminars and a book.
Date: Throughout 2012


Our water consumption requires planning. Wonderwater will be a series of events, exhibitions and projects which will concentrate on water and its usage on local and global level. The aim will also be to raise awareness on the significance of water. Wonderwater’s collection of events has been curated by Jane Withers and Kari Korkman.
Date: Throughout 2012
Place: Helsinki

Intelligent Design – the Service Design Project in Helsinki University Library
The Helsinki University Library’s service design project will improve the local and online services directed at its over 100,000 users. Together with the new library building, the high -quality and superb services will create an impressive implementation and an interesting space.
Date: Throughout 2012
Place: Helsinki