Helsinki Design Week, Luovi Productions Oy

Helsinki Design Week’s main exhibition U-JOINTS reveals hidden details from the history of design and encourages us to view the built environment from a new perspective


HDW brings its main exhibition U-JOINTS, the Office of the Future installation series and the What Is Wise to Design Now? programme as well as the super popular Design Market under one roof at Glasshouse Helsinki in the centre of Helsinki. As always, there will be fun things to explore and do for the children, too.

Main exhibition to present top international research

Knots & Knits is the fourth part of Andrea Caputo and Anniina Koivu’s U-JOINTS research project and series of exhibitions. The first was seen at Milan's Salone del Mobile in 2018. U-JOINTS explores the use of joints in design and architecture. Joints are rarely paid attention to but made invisible or elegantly hidden in products. The exhibition exposes these hidden details, inviting visitors to explore the beauty and quality of the objects and structures through every detail. During Helsinki Design Week, Knots & Knits explains the history of textiles, fabrics and ropes. Whether we are talking about rigging, lifting heavy objects, packing snacks or gifts, attaching a wire for a tight-rope dancer or a climber, or designing a children’s adventure park, knots can be found everywhere. The knot is considered one of the oldest ways to connect things. The use of knots and knits is by no means old-fashioned, however. Books are still bound by knots and so are the seams of running shoes and space gear for NASA. Knots & Knits highlights all this and much more.

What is the Office of the Future like?

The year of the pandemic accelerated the change in our ways of working, an inescapable development. Our office-centred work tradition is transforming towards multilocality as work is divided between various places, including homes, cafes, libraries and studios. How do company offices encounter this challenge? What does it take to attract employees to shared premises? The Office of the Future exhibition presents a versatile collection of ideas from furniture makers, designers and researchers on how and where we are to work in the future. We’ll see novelties of spatial, acoustics and audio design from Vitra, Artek, Vepsäläinen, Isku, Framery, Roltrade and Interface, among others, as well as many programmed events, new ideas and insightful presentations including webcasts from across the world.  

Annual theme explores the best design cooperation practices from various points of view

Helsinki Design Week’s annual theme “What is Wise to Design Now?” is an open call to join the discussion about wisdom’s extensive, multifaceted definition. The objective is to challenge one-sided and one-dimensional design; the traditional, uncomplicated definition of design is to make things better. What if in this fast-changing, uncertain world we really need to think what is better? And most of all: better for whom? During the festival, the theme is explored on the fourth floor of our main venue Glasshouse Helsinki. We can expect to see the latest products and ideas from Finnish designers, participate in daily discussions and visit a pop-up restaurant to meet people.

“We think it is wise to centralize our functions under one roof this year because the pandemic still affects the event organization. Most of all, it is wise to try and make the city centre more vibrant again. Collaboration with Glasshouse Helsinki represents our will to develop new services and procedures to support the traditonal stores in the centre,” says HDW founder Kari Korkman.

Refreshing the Design Market

Design Market will be organized taking into account the exceptional conditions: at Glasshouse Helsinki and through the Design Market Online campaign. Organized at the Cable Factory since 2005, the largest outlet event in the Nordic countries will now take place on the third and fourth floors of Glasshouse Helsinki, exceptionally from 10 to 12 September. The vendors include designers and makers of high-quality furniture and interior design products who operate following the principles of sustainable development. Due to the pandemic and to avoid crowds, our opening hours have been stretched across three days. For the first time, we’ll charge an entrance fee which also allows entrance to the main exhibitions. Tickets can be bought in advance on the HDW website.

5th-graders on the Culture Path

The main partner of Helsinki Design Week is the City of Helsinki. PechaKucha Night stays popular year after year thanks to a simple reason: ten inspiring speakers talk about topics they are genuinely interested in, and the content of their presentations always surprises us. Each speaker brings 20 images to show for exactly 20 seconds – this means that each presentation always takes exactly six minutes and forty seconds. During the Children’s Design Week, the floor is given to fifth-graders. Helsinki Design Week’s PechaKucha is part of the Culture Path by the City of Helsinki. HDW is a destination for the fifth-graders and an opportunity to learn self-expression and presentation skills by using design methods. Our specialty in 2021 is collaboration with the international Unesco City of Design network.

“Design and Architecture have a significant role in rebuilding urban life after the pandemic. Helsinki Design Week brings a very topical, insightful programme to Helsinki in the autumn.  We are particularly pleased to be able to further strengthen the participation of children and young people in HDW this year. School children will be able to get acquainted with the festival's diverse offerings and also reflect on design themes themselves, “ says Chief Design Officer ­of the City of Helsinki Hanna Harris.

Multidiscipline design festival around the city and online, at Aalto University and Design Museum

In September, we’ll offer our Open Call events around Helsinki, including store window installations, workshops, exhibitions and launch events.

On the Aalto campus in Otaniemi, the latest event of the “Designs for a Cooler Planet” exhibition series will present 30 research projects by Aalto students addressing HDW’s annual theme from a resource-wisdom perspective: “What is Wise to Design for the Next Generations?” Resource-wisdom means the ability to use raw materials, energy, products, time and space wisely. Wise design means there is a concern for the future: it promotes wellbeing and takes into account the impact of our current choices on the future generations, society and biodiversity. In Finland, our strong connection with nature is combined with high technology and design competence. Complex problems can be solved by cooperating across disciplines and organizations. Open-minded experimentation can result in, for example, solar-cell clothing or luxurious colours originating in the fields of one’s homestead.

At the Design Museum, the Finnish graphic designers’ association Grafia is co-organizing a jubilee exhibition for the Graphic Designer of the Year 2021 Marina Veziko.

Helsinki Design Week from 9–19 September

The entire programme will be published 12 August 2021 at Ticket sales also start on this date. We follow the pandemic situation and official recommendations closely in everything we do. 



For more information and requests for interviews and photographs:
Anni Korkman
Programme Director
+358 40 846 5576


About Helsinki Design Week, Luovi Productions Oy

Helsinki Design Week, Luovi Productions Oy
Helsinki Design Week, Luovi Productions Oy
Katajanokanlaituri 5

Helsinki Design Week

Established in 2005, Helsinki Design Week is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries. Organized yearly in September, this multi-sector event presents the different disciplines of design as well as fashion, architecture and urban culture. Helsinki Design Week is produced by Luovi Productions Oy. The next Helsinki Design Week festival is organized from 9 to 19 September 2021.

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