Helsinki Design Week 2011

'Nudo' chair by Mervi Antila
'Nudo' chair by Mervi Antila, a student at Lahti Institute of Design, on show at an exhibition curated by Martela
(Image credit: TBC)

When we made the annual pilgrimage to Finland for Helsinki Design Week (opens in new tab) this year, we discovered a veritable hotbed of young talent. Stepping through the doors of Habitare Ahead - the event's flagship fair - we were met by stand after stand of interesting work by fledgling names. Designers from Finnish schools Aalto University (opens in new tab) and Lahti Institute of Design (opens in new tab), and Sweden's Konstfack (opens in new tab) in particular launched strong collections, with standout designers including Kasper Nymen and Laura Vare. Some of the schools also teamed up with office furniture company Martela (opens in new tab) over in the WDC Helsinki Building, producing new tables, desks and chairs.

Other highlights of the week included the annual Eco Design exhibition, for which this year's curator Konstantin Grcic had gathered together a stellar collection of work by both young and established names. Meanwhile, elsewhere around town, studios, private houses and factories, including Iittalla (opens in new tab), opened their doors, giving the design crowd a rare chance to snoop.

'POMOdoro' chair by Anneli Suihkinen

'POMOdoro' chair by Anneli Suihkinen, a student at Lahti Institute of Design, on show at an exhibition curated by Martela

(Image credit: TBC)

'Lamb Lamp' by Ploypan Theerachai

'Lamb Lamp' by Ploypan Theerachai, a student from Konstfack, on show at an exhibition curated by Martela

(Image credit: TBC)

'Laptop' by Steffan Jores

'Laptop' by Steffan Jores, a student at Konstfack, on show at an exhibition curated by Martela

(Image credit: TBC)

'Kiikka - Tuoli' desk light by Laura Vare

'Kiikka - Tuoli' desk light by Laura Vare, from Lahti Institute of Design, on show at Habitare Ahead

(Image credit: TBC)

'Table, Cup and Glass' exhibition poster from Aalto University School of Art & Design

'Table, Cup and Glass' exhibition poster from Aalto University School of Art & Design at Habitare Ahead

(Image credit: TBC)

'Table, Cup and Glass' exhibition stand for Aalto University School of Art & Design

'Table, Cup and Glass' exhibition stand for Aalto University School of Art & Design

(Image credit: TBC)

'Maja' series of cups, by Pekka Kuivamaki from Aalto University School of Art & Design

'Maja' series of cups, by Pekka Kuivamaki from Aalto University School of Art & Design

(Image credit: TBC)

Exhibition structure for the Eco Design installation, curated by Konstantin Grcic, at Habitare Ahead

Exhibition structure for the Eco Design installation, curated by Konstantin Grcic, at Habitare Ahead

(Image credit: TBC)

wooden stools by Pekka Harni

Collection of pieces at the Eco Design exhibition, including wooden stools by Pekka Harni

(Image credit: TBC)

'2 in 1 Platform Chair' by Bjorn Dahlstrom at Eco Design

'2 in 1 Platform Chair' by Bjorn Dahlstrom at Eco Design

(Image credit: TBC)

Series of decorative glassware on display, as part of the Kaj Franck Design Prize at Habitare Ahead

Series of decorative glassware on display, as part of the Kaj Franck Design Prize at Habitare Ahead

(Image credit: TBC)

'Kaasa' fire lanterns by Ilkka Suppanen for Iittala at Habitare Ahead

'Kaasa' fire lanterns by Ilkka Suppanen for Iittala at Habitare Ahead

(Image credit: TBC)

New print collection from Finlayson

New print collection from Finlayson

(Image credit: TBC)

New print collection from Finlayson

New print collection from Finlayson

(Image credit: TBC)

Newly updated kettles by Jacob Jensen

Newly updated kettles by Jacob Jensen

(Image credit: TBC)

Carving boards in bamboo by Jacob Jensen

Carving boards in bamboo by Jacob Jensen

(Image credit: TBC)

'Quartz' sound-absorber by Joel Karlsson for Karl Andersson & Soner

'Quartz' sound-absorber by Joel Karlsson for Karl Andersson & Soner

(Image credit: TBC)

Protoshop stand at Habitare Ahead

Protoshop stand at Habitare Ahead

(Image credit: TBC)

'Cord' pendant light by Aalto University's Kasper Nyman

'Cord' pendant light by Aalto University's Kasper Nyman, shown as part of the Protoshop collection

(Image credit: TBC)

'Tomc' floor standing mirror and hook system by Minna Korhonen and Kristina Sandell

'Tomc' floor standing mirror and hook system by Minna Korhonen and Kristina Sandell, shown as part of the Protoshop collection

(Image credit: TBC)

Illustration showing textile design by Marimekko

Illustration showing textile design by Marimekko

(Image credit: TBC)

'Polku' hanger by Mikko Laakkonen, for Marimekko

'Polku' hanger by Mikko Laakkonen, for Marimekko

(Image credit: TBC)

Light installation at the Old Customs Warehouse

Light installation at the Old Customs Warehouse

(Image credit: TBC)

ceramic casts stacked in piles, awaiting firing

Elsewhere around Helsinki, studios, private houses and factories opened their doors to the design crowd, including Iittalla, where we found these ceramic casts stacked in piles, awaiting firing

(Image credit: TBC)

Archive ceramic vessels lined up on shelves at the Iittalla factory

Archive ceramic vessels lined up on shelves at the Iittalla factory

(Image credit: TBC)

Newly made ceramic plates lined up on trolleys in the sunshine at the Iittala factory

Newly made ceramic plates lined up on trolleys in the sunshine at the Iittala factory

(Image credit: TBC)

Poster for the Kaj Franck - Universal Forms exhibition at the Design Museum

Poster for the Kaj Franck - Universal Forms exhibition at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

Modernist interior set up at the Design Museum

Modernist interior set up at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

Series of ceramics from the 'Teema' collection by Kaj Franck at the Design Museum

Series of ceramics from the 'Teema' collection by Kaj Franck at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

Glassware and sketches by Kaj Franck at the Design Museum

Glassware and sketches by Kaj Franck at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

'Tikas' shelving and new wood lounger, by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

'Tikas' shelving and new wood lounger, by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

'Lago' stackable ceramic vessels, by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

'Lago' stackable ceramic vessels, by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

New ceramics and glassware by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

New ceramics and glassware by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

Series of tools by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

Series of tools by Pekka Harni and Yuka Takahahi, on show at the Design Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

bandstand at Esplanadi, by Valter Jung

Touring the town, we took in the bandstand at Esplanadi, by Valter Jung. Completed in 1939, it was built for the Olympics and to enhance the northern edge of the park

(Image credit: TBC)

Next, we took in the Finlandia Hall by Alvar Aalto

Next, we took in the Finlandia Hall by Alvar Aalto

(Image credit: TBC)

Interior of the great hall, by Alver Aalto, at Finlandi Hall

Interior of the great hall, by Alver Aalto, at Finlandi Hall

(Image credit: TBC)

Interior of a side room at Finlandia Hall by Alvar Aalto

Interior of a side room at Finlandia Hall by Alvar Aalto

(Image credit: TBC)

Also on the Helsinki Design Week agenda was a visit to Kiasma museum of contemporary art

Also on the Helsinki Design Week agenda was a visit to Kiasma museum of contemporary art

(Image credit: TBC)

Coloured glass windows on the Kiasma stairwell

Coloured glass windows on the Kiasma stairwell

(Image credit: TBC)

Strong graphics on the Klasma museum guide

Strong graphics on the Klasma museum guide

(Image credit: TBC)