A bite of Helsinki 2019

I went to Helsinki for a few meetings. 24 hours and lots of fun. This is not a proper update on what is the latest and the coolest of Helsinki but just a glimpse. I like Helsinki. A lot. As a Stockholmer, this is actually the closest other capital. I tend to go here at least once per year. And we have a lot of the same DNA as the Finns. I feel at home here.

Next week is the Helsinki Design Week and I have participated several times. Not this year. But Helsinki is very much worth a visit. I would say they possibly have the most interesting and underestimated food scene in the Nordic region. Yes, possibly even better than Copenhagen. Design wise the city has a lot to offer of Finnish brands like Aarika, Finlayson and of course mega brands like Marimekko, Iittala and Artek.

A way to approach the Finns is through art. I love the melancholia of some of the Finnish classics. Right now the art museum Ateneum is doing a show on Finnishness. This piece by Aleksi Gallen Kallela is amazing. Notice that there is no visual representation of heaven in this piece. There is no horizon.

But I love the Finnish melancholia.

One of the reasons I was in Helsinki was to interview Tania Silipä from the store Tre or World of Tre. All for my new YouTube show Design&Dessert.

The store World of Tre is basically only three years old. Not exclusively focusing on Finnish design, but rather Nordic design, they have interesting stuff and an interesting approach. How do they survive during “death of retail 2019?”. These things I wanted to talk about in my interview.

It is a nice store. Definately worth a visit. Like everyone else in retail, they are struggling with a lot of things. But I like how active they are on the Helsinki design scene.

Besides running a store, they also have a Salon where they host events, vernissage, parties etc, etc. A beautiful, beautiful building and beautiful setting. Here they collaborate with an antique’s store and an art gallery. Lots of events and lots of energy. And yes, the rug is designed by yours truly… See more here.

But a beautiful setting…


Vintage chair update with fabrics by talented Klaus Haapaniemi.

Besides doing Tre and the Salon, Tania is also hosting and arranging everything for a Klaus Haapaniemi flagship store. Just by Kämp Galleria.

Helsinki is full of entrepreneurs in the design industry. There are plenty of people deciding to produce things on their own. One of them is my friend Outi at Mum’s. Mum’s does not necessarily mean “yummy” as it does in Swedish – but rather “mother’s”. All objects are done by mothers in the developing world.

And Outi is doing fantastic rugs. Like the ones I designed. 🙂


Where to continue next for my 24 hrs in Helsinki? I emailed my friends at Com-pa-ny to see if they had time for a coffee. But they were sooooo occupied. The couple Johan and Aamu are amazing Finnish designers and it has been a while since I sat down with them. I saw Johan in Milan for the launch of products they did for Artek. But they are of course super busy since they have been invited to do an exhibition at the Design Museum of Finland.

The exhibition at the museum is a ten out of ten. Of course depending on what you want to say, but this is a fantastic introduction to a design studio, with their unique approach to craft and design .

It is “eye candy”, educational etc, etc.

I even saw the rocking chair I exhibited in Stockholm when I did an exhibition on Finnish design. Was it tvelwe years ago??

And when you go to Helsinki – you MUST pass by the little kiosk run by Com-pa-ny. It is really just a small kiosk but theirs and full of fun things.

Like stuff from their Artek collection.

Helsinki a very clean city.

No Moomin trolls anywhere…

But if you are in Helsinki – it is actually worth stopping by the flagship stores of the Finnish brands. They tend to have stuff not available in all countries. Here a glass piece by Oiva Toikka for Iittala.

And Arabia

One of the newer things people kept recommending was the new City Library in Helsinki. Really eyecatching. I really liked it. Architecture by Finnish ALA.

But Helsinki is also for older architecture. And this you can read about in tons of design guides. Of course I love the trainstation by Saarinen, but a gem is the Savoy restaurant designed by Alvar and Aina Aalto.


Last comment from my trip to Helsinki. I was here to also talk about Christmas. During Wednesday fair Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld invited to a lunch and I got to meet a Finnish design company from 1924. They are called Weiste.

Weiste has three factories in Finland and produce around 800 Christmas ornaments. Close to 300 of these are new every year… That’s a lot. All these are of course presented at Christmasworld.

And Helsinki – I will be back. Kiitos.


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