Given that in 2012 Helsinki will be crowned World Design Capital in mind, we already knew this city was strong on design. But these last few weeks it has been transformed into a hive of creative activities with the onset of Helsinki Design Week.
HDW centres on three main subjects: "biomimicry" (or observing how nature deals with things, and copying it), social innovation through participatory design and "the digital city", or how to put interactive technologies into use in an urban context.
Among the highlights is To Declare, an exhibition of products "with message" about climate change, water and eco-related issues, with displays conceived as contemporary art installations. An inspiring, suggestive visit where - according to the curator Kaj Kalin - the thread "is intuitive, our visitors will read between the lines".
Also, there is the tempting Design Market, a place to browse designer clothing, furniture and objects. And Habitare, the furniture and interior design fair.
And if you're thinking of heading over, don't forget the interesting parallel exhibits, some of them on Finnish designer's careers, past and present: See the review on Kaj Franck's ouvre for starters. Also check Finnish graphic design and poster art by the 6G group and Design Stories, an exhibition on the communal way of working by Musta Design. The menu goes on with many more courses of appetizing design, in galleries, open studio nights, seminars, lectures and so on, all topped off with HDW LIVE, a performative mix of music and top fashion design. All in all, a thrilling, brimming week.