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Habitare Showcases Best Regional Talent

Published: September 18, 2013 (Issue # 1778)



  • International contemporary art shares the spotlight with design at Habitare. 
    Photo: Markku Ojala / For SPT

  • Habitare will exhibit a mini-retrospective of the work of Sebastian Jansson with an exhibition entitled ‘Singular Pluralist.’
    Photo: Habitare / for SPT

  • The Weather Diary collection, released this autumn by Marimekko, takes the ever-changing weather of the far north as its inspiration and encourages people to ‘observe the rhythm of nature.’
    Photo: Marimekko.com

  • Sauna wear made of linen is perfect for traipsing between the lake and the banya.
    Photo: Marimekko.com

  • As part of Habitare, the Salonki decorative arts and antique show will hold master classes on how to care for antiques as well as on numerous other topics of vital interest to collectors.
    Photo: Verna Kovanen / For SPT

  • Lighting, both industrial and decorative, gets its own section at the Habitare design fair.  
    Photo: Verna Kovanen / for SPT

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.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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