Helsinki Design Week starts this week – the festival showcases the significance of good design and architecture to the city

The largest design and architecture festival in the Nordic countries will spread across Helsinki on 8–17 September. The programme features interesting events for design and architecture enthusiasts, from Children’s Design Week to Design Diplomacy discussions and architecture tours. During the festival, the City of Helsinki will highlight the significance of design to functional everyday life and a pleasant urban environment and present an award for distinguished design.
Participants in the 2022 Helsinki Design Week children's and youth workshop.
Helsinki Design Week invites everyone to participate in design and architecture events around Helsinki. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen, Helsinki Design Week

“Helsinki Design Week is an intrinsic part of autumn in Helsinki. For a week and change, best talents in the field from here and around the world will get together and Helsinki residents will get to delve into the design and architecture of their home city across Helsinki,” comments Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris from the City of Helsinki. 

“As the principal cooperation partner of the festival, we want to show how good design and architecture contribute to equal and functional everyday life for us all. Design methods are used both in the development of the built environment and for overhauling services and the City organisation with a user-oriented approach.”

Helsinki Design Award to be granted to a design educator

This year, the Helsinki Design Award, granted jointly by Helsinki Design Week and the City of Helsinki, will put the spotlight on architecture and design education. Architecture and design education are all about multidisciplinary, creative problem-solving and providing students with the means to think boldly, discover new, creative ways of perceiving the environment and tackling future challenges.

Helsinki has been making systematic efforts towards strengthening the role of architecture and design education in schools’ curricula and providing teachers with training for utilising design methods. Accordingly, this year’s Helsinki Design Award will be granted to a Helsinki-based person or party that has promoted design education or increased awareness of the field. 

The winner of the Helsinki Design Award will be announced as part of the opening ceremony of the Helsinki Design Week main exhibition on 12 September. The winner will also get to express their views on 15 September as part of the Weekly Talks programme of Helsinki Design Week.

Learn more about design education on the website. (Link leads to external service).

More information on the Weekly Talks show on Helsinki Design Week website. (Link leads to external service)

Children’s Design Week gives the floor to the city’s youngest residents

Children’s Design Week, an integral part of the Helsinki Design Week programme, celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Finnish Association of Design Learning (SuoMu) this year. Children’s Design Week will culminate in a children’s demonstration, for which signs will be made at workshops at Cable Factory on 9–10 September. The signs will be brought to the Telakkapuistikko park in Punavuori as an urban installation from 11 to 17 September. 

More information on Children’s Design Week and the demonstration on Helsinki Design Week website.   (Link leads to external service)

The thoughts of children and young people will also be heard in PechaKucha presentations. As part of the City of Helsinki’s cultural path for fifth graders, Helsinki Design Week invites schoolchildren to participate in the festival by putting together PechaKucha presentations on subjects of their choosing.

More information on PechaKucha and materials for schools on Helsinki Design Week website. (Link leads to external service)

Come try games and facilities designed by children and young people on Game Day in Mellunkylä

Over the summer, games and leisure time facilities were implemented with children and young people in Mellunkylä. You can check out these games and facilities on Helsinki Design Week’s Game Day on 16 September.
The games and leisure time facilities in Mellunkylä were implemented as part of the Helsinki Innovation Districts project by Forum Virium Helsinki and the City of Helsinki. The purpose of the games and facilities was to find new ways to encourage children and young people to use the city diversely for play, physical activity and hanging out. The games and leisure time facilities were implemented in cooperation with four businesses: RaivioBumann, Parkly, Creaamo and FlyAr. The facilities and games can be found in Mellunmäki Square and in front of Kontula Library. 

The Helsinki Innovation Districts project’s trials for children and young people are part of UNICEF’s Child-friendly Municipality cooperation.

More information on Game Day on Helsinki Design Week website. (Link leads to external service)

How is design utilised in the development of the City’s services? 

The City of Helsinki’s design narrative and the development of the City’s design operations will be discussed at a network event held on 15 September. Design thinking and service design affect many of the City’s services, functions and physical spaces. The City employs an increasing number of design talents in all of its divisions. Helsinki is also active in the Julkis-muotoilijat community, which brings together designers and design-minded workers across the public administration sector. 

Attendees of the event, held at the City Hall event square, will get to hear experiences with and stories about utilising design and learn practically about the design narrative method. The event will be organised as part of the network gatherings held by the City’s design community the year round and is intended particularly for the City’s employees and members of the Julkis-muotoilijat community, but anyone interested in service design in public administration is welcome to take part.

More information and registration for the City of Helsinki Design Narratives event here. (Link leads to external service) The event is held partly in English. 

New ideas for developing Helsinki city centre from a student competition

New ideas for the future of Helsinki city centre will also be sought through a student competition launching on 13 September. The objective of the competition, organised by the City of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce, is to produce fresh and viable ideas for increasing the liveliness and attractiveness of Helsinki city centre and strengthening the city centre’s distinctiveness.

The competition programme will be published on 13 September. The results of the competition will be announced in early 2024. 

More information in a news article published on 5 June 2023.

See the entire Helsinki Design Week programme on the Helsinki Design Week website. (Link leads to external service)

Helsinki Design Week will be held on 8–17 September 2023. The City of Helsinki is Helsinki Design Week’s principal cooperation partner.