Helsinki Design Open

Our first official stop during Helsinki Design Week was the Helsinki Design Open, held in the Rautatalo. The Rautatalo, also known as the “iron house” was designed by architect Alvar Aalto and completed in 1951. It’s a contemporary marble courtyard in an office building, which is spacious and bright. This was the second consecutive Helsinki Design Open event, which aimed at bringing together and promoting creators of Finnish design in hopes of new opportunities and collaborations.

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

This year’s Open showcase the work of 12 artists and companies, which all displayed their latest collections in the courtyard. It was interesting to meet the creators and hear the stories behind their designs.

The first thing I saw when I walked into the courtyard was Susan Elo’s large floor lamp, Risukko. Elo belongs to Woodism, a group of carpenters which create furniture pieces from trees fallen on private properties. The floor lamp was created using wood slats pointing in a variety of directions. The fixture appears to be a sculpture, because of the several wood slats jutting out, and also because of the light and shadows created by the wood. I really fell in love with this, but there was no way to pack such a large fixture! In addition to the large floor lamp Elo was displaying her smaller pieces, which are also from the Risukko collection.

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

Artek is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the popular Stool 60 this year. To mark this occasion Artek has created Stool 60 in 6 colors taken directly from Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanatorium. Artek has also launched special edition stools by high-end designers including  Mike Meiré, Comme des Garçons, Tom Dixon, Pure, Monocle, Mads Nørgaard and Nao Tamura.

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

Camilla Moberg Designs showcased a series of glass products, which looked like art but were actually functional lights and bowls. The cord was incorporated into the light fixture, as she didn’t want to try and hide it. She wanted the cord to look like it belonged. The bowls and lights were shaped like bubbles and pebbles, seen in nature.

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

The exhibit by Tikau really struck a cord with me. Tikau is a Finnish company that brings Scandinavian designs to India. The company teaches Indian artisans in rural areas to craft the pieces, employing them and helping them empower themselves. I adored the felted wool square patterned rugs and the bamboo pendant lights made in Orissa.

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

Helsinki Design Open at Rautatalo / Helsinki Design Week 2013

Walking through the Open I felt like a kid in a candy store! There were many other exhibitors with fabulous products I didn’t mention. You can see their pieces and read more about them at Helsinki Design Open. Which piece do you feel most strongly about? Which would you love in your own home?

{Image of Susan Elo’s floor lamp via Susan Elo. All other images via Life in Sketch.}

 

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