For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nordic design, or more specifically–Finnish design, it’s best known for being minimalist, functional and clean. It usually combines Scandinavian simplicity with modern lines and patterns which is the reason why so many, including myself, have fallen head over heels in love with Finnish design brands. You might not know it but I’m sure you’ve come across a few iconic Finnish brands that you just didn’t know were Finnish like say, Marimekko, Artek and Iittala. All of these names are practically institutions in the design world. If none of these names ring a bell, don’t you worry. This post is all about Helsinki’s design scene. So get comfy because it’s time to get acquainted.
Our day started with a visit to Marimekko’s headquarters / factory where we got to learn about the brand’s design process and witness how they produce their famous printed fabrics. I was most fascinated to hear how its original prints come together. Apparently, Marimekko artists either draw them, or cut illustrations and put them all together, or sometimes, they even make use of real objects like a leaf for example and turn that into the actual print on the fabric. So cool, right? I’m geeking out, I know. But being a fashion designer myself, I couldn’t help it. I was like Charlie, lost in Willy Wonka’s Factory. The headquarters actually has an outlet store as well so I got to buy so many Marimekko fabrics. Of course, more geeking out ensued.
The rest of our day was spent touring around Helsinki’s Design District, comprised of 25 streets and 200 establishments. It’s basically a cluster of creative businesses that showcase homegrown talent–from design and antique shops, art galleries and museums, restaurants, hotels, design studios and more. I only got to see a few of them though (because 200 is a bit too much even for me), but even so, I can totally understand why Helsinki is a UNESCO City of Design. It lives and breathes design!
Helsinki, take my money. Take iiiiiiiiiiit!
1. OOTD shot along Korkeavuorenkatu, wearing Louis Vuitton twist bag and Stuart Weitzman boots
2. Design Museo
3. Some vintage furniture displayed including Artek pieces in Design Museo
4-6. A special exhibit at Design Museo featuring monumental textile sculptures by Kirsti Rantanen
7-10.Some more art pieces displayed in Design Museo
11. Stepping out an art gallery
12. Workshop of jewelry shop Box
13. Some jewelry pieces by Box
14. H&M corset layered over Zara sweater
15. Louis Vuitton twist bag
16. Viiskulma where 5 streets meet at an intersection
17. Prints for sale at Kauniste
18. Products for sale at Atelier Matti Pikkujämsä
19. OOTD along Korkeavuorenkatu, outside a vintage store selling antique houseware and furniture
20. Maritori, a cafeteria inside Marimekko’s headquarters
21-22. Meals prepared by Juuri, one of my favorite restaurants in the district
23. Marimekko houseware
24. Marimekko designs
25. Marimekko fabric
26. Marimekko showroom
27. Marimekko pillowcases
29. Marimekko collection