Habitare Showcases Best Regional Talent
Published: September 18, 2013 (Issue # 1778)
Mention Nordic design and the first thing that comes to mind for most people is IKEA. Dig a little deeper and names like Artek, Iittala, Arabia, Marimekko and others surface. Finding them in St. Petersburg, however, can be a bit of a challenge.
Luckily, a quick trip to Helsinki during Design Week, which runs through Sunday, is all it takes to see the latest creations by both established local brands and emerging designers from Finland and further afield.
During the 10-day festival, the city overflows with events that span exhibitions, performances, pop-up shops, behind-the-scenes tours and more. The majority of the activity is centered on the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre, which is dominated by Habitare — Finland’s largest furniture, interior decoration and design expo.
Held every fall, the five-day exhibition dates back to 1970. Focusing on interior design for homes, offices and public spaces, the expo is a look at the future of design. Innovative textiles, interior decoration materials and supplies; fittings for kitchens, bathrooms and saunas; fireplaces and furnaces; home theatre and AV equipment all jostle for space with decorative objects.
Discrete areas within the fair focus on designs for public spaces and lighting solutions, as well as housing ArtHelsinki, a high-profile, contemporary art fair, and Salonki, a curated antique exhibition.
In addition to providing examples of the best designs the world has to offer, achievements in the field are recognized by the Habitare Design Awards. With a new theme and jury chosen each year, the 2013 competition floated the idea of a “dream space” to inspire designers to develop and implement solutions appealing to all of the senses by creating an interior intended as a momentary reprieve from reality.
Past competition themes have ranged from spatial solutions to smaller-scale topics including, “private space,” “outhouse,” “recycled seat” and “sauna.” Design heavyweights such as Boris Berlin, Mikko Heikkinen, Alfredo Häberli, Sami Rintala and Jasper Morrison have all headed the jury at various times over the last decade.
EcoDesign, an invitational exhibition that focuses on eco-friendly projects, is also centered on annually changing themes, with top designers and new talents from Finland and abroad invited to exhibit their wares.
This year, the focus is on wood and the invited designers have been given free reign to create wooden articles for use as interior decoration. The work of each designer is evaluated on the basis of how ecologically sound the manufacturing process is, choices of materials, packaging and logistics, usability, ease of care and recyclability. All of the articles are manufactured from a minimum of 80 percent wood, with the remaining 20 percent sourced from ecologically responsible materials.
Pages:  [2 ]