|| issue 5, year XVIII, 2011
Ambassador of Finland
Dear Friends of Finland,
Which is the only capital city in the world which offers you a public seaside sauna? Or where you can wash your rugs in the city centre on a pontoon platform by the sea? Helsinki, of course. In 2012 these and many other features of city life will be highlighted, transformed and enjoyed in a different way as Helsinki is the World Design Capital. For me, being a daughter of this city by the Baltic Sea the coast and the islands, with their, cafes and restaurants, parks and beaches, boats and ships are very dear. This year design will bring new innovations to town: 300 projects linked to environment, welfare, growth.
One of the core ideas of Finnish design is innovation and functionality. Every Finn has been surrounded by design items at home вЂ“ tableware, tissues, bikes, utensils, you name it. Many of these have won international prizes; they have been named the best of the world. We decided to work together with Europe 2001 magazine so that also the Bulgarian audience could have an insight to this aspect of the Finnish lifestyle, where culture and beauty marry harmoniously with practicality and everyday life. This magazine will present to you both classics and innovations.
I am glad that 2012 we will see also cooperation between Finland and Bulgaria in the field of design as Bulgarian designers will be exhibiting their works in a special event in Helsinki.
I hope that this glimpse on Finnish design will encourage you to learn more about Finland, a country which functions, where design is embedded in life, where design is an integral part of planning of the services offered to the people. Our environment is never ready вЂ“ we all have the possibility to design it better!
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland
In Finland, we are a particularly proud design country this year since our capital Helsinki, together with its neighboring municipalities Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti, is having the honor of holding the title of the World Design Capital 2012 (WDC). Consequently, the WDC initiative is by far one of the largest expeditions into design ever carried out in the world. The most important messages that the WDC initiative wishes to convey both nationally and internationally is the promotion of openness, transparency, global responsibility, innovation and also design for a better life. In addition, WDC aims to show that design is indeed meant for everybody and it is visibly present in our everyday lives. Furthermore, our aim is to seek and develop means for making cities increasingly functional and better places through design. Not only in Finland, but everywhere.
Many of us Finns are grown up with the classical Finnish design вЂ“ often without even noticing the presence of the familiar design objects in our everyday life. Often design also serves a social purpose or the public interest. Public transport or healthcare, for example, cannot function efficiently without precision planning. While reading through these pages, you will certainly notice and understand the strong and traditional roots of the Finnish design which have developed over the years and upon which the new generation of Finnish designers have been able to build up their own design and fashion visions. Throughout the years, one of the essential key elements of the Finnish design has been functionality and innovation. I hope that this very spirit of both the traditional and contemporary Finnish design will reach you through the reading of these pages.
As we all know, the future of each country lies in its youth. This is also true regarding of design. Indeed developing a high level design education, which is available for all talented students, has been a high priority at the field of educational policy in Finland. This special design number of the Europe 2001 magazine aims also to introduce to you some of the most prominent design education establishments in Finland.
Dear readers, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you very pleasant reading as well as an inspirational and innovative design year 2012!
FINLAND - ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Finland is home to 5.4 million people and it is a northern European country, the seventh largest country in Europe.
From the incredible scattering of islands in Europe's largest archipelago, to the hilly countryside of Lapland, the landscape of Finland is a pristine paradise for nature lovers. With midnight sun in the summer, and the ephemeral allure of the Aurora Borealis in the northern winter, Finland possesses a wealth of rare beauty, a truly distinctive ambience. Modern Finland combines the natural gifts bestowed upon the land with modern technologies allowing it to be easily discovered.
Finland is an advanced industrial economy that has an extensive welfare state. International studies often cite FinlandВґs welfare state as a model of functioning society. Equality between men and women has been emphasized in all Nordic countries, and for that the welfare system has played a crucial role. Finland's economic development since World War II is a true success story. From its beginnings as an agricultural-based economy, Finland has transformed its economy in a matter of decades to become one of the richest, least corrupted and most stable societies in the world.
HELSINKI IN THE HEART OF NORTHERN EUROPE
Helsinki, the capital of the Republic of Finland, is a modern city with over half a million residents, and together with the neighboring cities forms the Helsinki metropolitan area with more than a million inhabitants. Helsinki is located in the southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The lifestyle in the second-most northern capital city in the world is full of contrasts and activities in the form of hundreds of events and friendly people. Helsinki's identity has been formed by cultural influences from both the East and West. The archipelago that surrounds Helsinki with hundreds of tiny islands creates an idyllic environment for cruises, for example.
Over 450 years of history, several architectural layers and the impact of different periods can be clearly seen in Helsinki. Finnish design has also made the country's capital city world famous. The beauty of the surrounding nature blends seamlessly together with high-tech achievements, while old traditions mix with the latest contemporary trends. The city centre has many beautiful parks, and the nearby forests offer an ideal setting for peaceful and quiet walks.
Everything is nearby - Helsinki is a pocket-sized metropolis that is ideal for visitors!
WORLD DESIGN CAPITAL HELSINKI 2012
In 2012 Helsinki with its partner cities of Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa and Lahti are the World Design Capital (WDC). The designation aims to focus on the broader essence of design's impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens.
World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 is one of the largest expeditions into design ever carried out in the world. With its year-long programme that consists of 300 events, projects, and initiatives Helsinki will examine the ways in which design is embedded in everyday life.
Diverse public WDC events will take place in Finland and abroad. It is not an aim, however, to be a 365-day fireworks show; Helsinki wants to delve deeper into the new role of sustainable design from a broad perspective, and achieve things whose impact will reach far into the future.
More than anything, Helsinki wants to inspire dialogue on how design can be used to make life better, easier and more functional. These are the questions that Helsinki will strive to answer with its projects and initiatives. Design exists for people.
WELCOME TO FINLAND, THE DESIGN NATION
Finnish design has a long and distinguished history. It is no exaggeration to say that design is ever-present in the Finnish lifestyle. Finns respect traditions and cherish the past but, above all, design represents the future.
Finns are on a first-name basis with design; it forms a familiar part of our daily lives. We are well acquainted with the design pedigrees of our kitchen cupboards, stocked with Arabia tableware and Iittala glassware that we use on a daily basis. Alvar Aalto's Savoy vase is often placed on the table for special occasions.
Our surroundings are filled with design, from architecture and city planning to public transportation vehicles and sign systems. We decorate our homes with Marimekko textiles and Artek furniture; we wear designer clothes by IvanaHelsinki or Tiia Vanhatapio or leisurewear by Halti or Rukka. In Finland, design is ever-present, yet we typically notice it only when it's lacking, making everyday life inconvenient.
FINNISH DESIGN PRESENT IN EVERYDAY LIFE
Design вЂ¦ is an expression of the capability of the human mind to step beyond."
George Nelson, design theorist
In our contemporary word, design touches everyone's lives in one way or another. Be it in the kitchen design, construction of modern sauna's in Finland, furniture and jewellery design or clothes and shoes design. And - indeed it many ways - the design is present and vivid in everyday life in today's Finland while having its roots solidly in the country's own design traditions.
OUR DESIGN FUTURE LIES IN ITS YOUTH
More and more the development of the traditional design braches in Finland are relying on the enthusiasm, creativity and talent of its young designers. Many of them have been training and working abroad for years before the creation of their very own braches. However, many of them return back to their native county and put into practice what they have learned while exploring the international design. And what is more - many of them use the traditional Finnish materials in their contemporary designs.
FINNISH ART EDUCATION
Creativity, talent of different kinds and innovativeness are being promoted from early childhood education onwards in Finland. The value and significance of arts education is recognized in several art-specific and other programmes, and Finland has gained international repute for the results of its arts education. Art and design as part of regular education is being taught already at primary and secondary schools. Later on the higher educational establishments and universities throughout the country offer various specialised programmes in different aspects of design.
BULGARIAN - FINNISH ART PROJECT
The idea for the Finnish-Bulgarian Art Project emerged in 2006 when the artists Daniela Todorova, Liisa Malkamo and Elina Försti met at the Nelimarkka Museum in Finland. The project was launched in 2008 at the Kuusankoski paper gallery in Finland as part of the events marking the 90th anniversary celebrations of establishing the diplomatic relations between Finland and Bulgaria.
The Finnish-Bulgarian art project united artists from both countries. A total of 12 exhibitions and two workshops were held featuring works especially created for the art project. Every single artist has left a mark on his or her artistic views and ideas.
The Bulgarian artists who participated in the project are well known in Bulgaria and abroad. Todor Todorov, Daniela Todorova (the Bulgarian curator of the project), Milko Bozhkov, Stoimen Stoilov and Veselin Nachev are among the famous and talented artists of Bulgaria.
The Finnish artists enjoy great popularity as well. The Finnish curator of the project was Liisa Malkamo. Elina Försti, Laina Koskela, Meri Pauniaho and Jimmy Pulli are among the leading and most vivid representatives of modern Finnish art.
This project will continue to develop in future. Six paper artists participated in the first Paper Art Biennial in 2011 as evidence of the Finnish- Bulgarian cultural cooperation. There is no doubt that the joint art project contributes to the better cultural dialogue between the two countries.
|Translated by Ilina Vasileva