Organized for the second time, the Showroom exhibition surprises its audience with mirrorful architecture designed by Avanto Architects.
Showroom is an event about design, spatial design and lighting, organized in collaboration between Helsinki Design Week and Habitare in the Helsinki fair centre from 13 to 15 September 2017. The theme of the stage programme is Q&A, including dialogues about architecture and urban development, and lunch discussions around a round table. The guests and topics will be published in Spring.
This year, its structure is designed by Avanto Architects. The theme is Infinity. Large mirror surfaces will reflect the sections and multiply their area.
The borders of the space fade away, and moving about in the area becomes a fascinating experience. Mirroring is a way of duplicating, and it also refers to industrial mass production. Here and there between two mirrors, an infinite corridor occurs, creating memories from childhood and playing with the doors of a mirror cabinet. There is no general lighting for the exhibition; sectional spots highlight the cubical areas and their content.
“This was an extremely challenging task for us because we always start design based on an existing space,” says Ville Hara of Avanto Architects.
“However, the exhibition area at the fair is just an empty hall without any context.”
Once Avanto decided to tackle the challenge, there was no end to new ideas. The benchmarking document alone included 34 pages of notions from saunas to bazaars. They decided to prune the ideas by pondering the essence and purpose of a trade fair. Everything exhibited is, after all, also available on the internet.
“We came to the conclusion that the most important thing is to meet people. That hardly requires structures, just the product and the visitor.”
They ended up using mirrors for various reasons.
“People are interested in simple things. Mirrors transform the space into an experience and create a playful atmosphere. The mirrors also hide the exhibition structures. That makes it interesting,” says Anu Puustinen of Avanto Architects.
Avanto Architects was founded in 2004 after Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen won an open competition for the architecture of the Chapel of St. Lawrence in Vantaa, Finland. The agency has since participated in various competitions in and outside Finland and claimed many prizes.
Their work has been widely published in both domestic and international press, including the leading architectural publications and various exhibitions. They have been featured four times at the Venice Biennale.
Last year’s exhibition architecture was created by ALA Architects based on the 100-year-old banners of the Finnish National Theatre exhibited for the first time outside the theatre.
In addition to Showroom, Helsinki Design Week and Habitare organize together Showroom Walk. Both events are targeted at professionals and the main events of Helsinki Design Week.