Helsinki Is World Design Capital 2012
How Design Can Improve City Life
Helsinki is the World Design Capital 2012. The title of World Design Capital is awarded by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design to a city for successfully attracting and promoting innovative design that revitalizes its urban spaces. Design is critical in creating cities that are competitive, attractive, livable and efficient. The year 2012 will see over 300 design-related events, projects and exhibitions take place in Helsinki and the neighbouring cities of Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti. “Finnish design has a long and distinguished history. It is no exaggeration to say that design is ever-present in the Finnish lifestyle. We respect traditions and cherish the past but, above all, design represents our future.”
Helsinki has organized its year around several major design themes. Special emphasis is placed on transparency, accessibility and mobility of information, ideas and people. The Helsinki Region Infoshare project gives the public access to data from all the cities in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Access and use of such data is actively promoted through events such as a data visualization competition for schoolchildren. Other themes that are reiterated throughout the year include sustainable design, client-oriented design, and life cycle design.
Since design has the ability to impact social, cultural and economic life, the content of Helsinki’s programme covers a broad spectrum from low carbon neighbourhoods to trash fashion. The Rovaniemi Design Week, with an Arctic theme, is dubbed the northernmost design event in the world. The Youth Food Festival includes 50 food-themed events largely designed by youths in different communities.
World Design Capital Pavilion
Construction has just recently finished for a summer pavilion in the heart of Helsinki, between the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The pavilion is a product of collaboration between various design institutions and Aalto University. There is a library corner, open space for picnicking, and even a café that prepares dishes with seasonal and local ingredients. The structure is meant to evoke the feeling of an urban “living room”, a hub where the general public, media and international visiting experts can meet, discuss and be merry.