History

Helsinki Design Week has been organized annually every September since 2005. With a festival programme of around 250 events every year, it is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries.

Helsinki Design Week is produced by Luovi Productions Ltd, founded in 1995 by Kari Korkman. Luovi, which began with producing products such as bags and laptop cases, launched the DesignPartners01 exhibition series in 2001. It later evolved into the annual city festival with a number of events and exhibitions. A network was needed that could gather creative minds together and promote design, and thus Luovi founded and registered Helsinki Design Week in 2005. The goal was to develop the city as an environment for creative industry.

Helsinki Design Week 2019 Design Market

The first ever Helsinki Design Week presented the Design Market and Open Studios, which have since then been regular entries in the Helsinki Design Week programme. In 2006 Helsinki Design Week brought the hugely popular presentation format, PechaKucha Nights, to Finland. The Children’s Weekend, which is now held annually during the last weekend of the design week, was established in 2013.

To finish off its tenth anniversary celebrations in 2014, Helsinki Design Week took a leap into operating all-year-round by launching a new online publication, Helsinki Design Weekly. Helsinki Design Weekly presents timely phenomena in the field of design and raises discussion on the future of the industry. The making of Helsinki Design Weekly includes an extensive team of top Finnish writers and international guests from the field of design as well as outside of it.

Over the years, Helsinki Design Week has provided citizens and visitors with unique access to interesting buildings across the city, such as the old customs warehouse (Tulli- ja pakkahuone), the old abattoir (Teurastamo) and the old port warehouse of Jätkäsaari. In 2019, Helsinki Design Week took over Erottaja 2, a neo-renaissance palace in the heart of Helsinki. The doors were opened to the public for the first and last time during the 10-day festival. In 2020 the festival’s venue will be the Olympic Stadium, opening after years of extensive renovation.

Helsinki Design Week 2019 Erottaja 2

Since 2009 Helsinki Design Week has built its programme around themes:

2009 Come to the Light
2010 Storytelling
2011 WDC Pre-party
2012 Co-creation
2013 Action!
2014 Take the Leap
2015 Time Machine
2016 Better
2017 Q&A
2018 Trust
2019 Learning Climate
2020 Commitment Matters

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Helsinki Design Weekly is an online design publication presenting timely phenomena in the field of design and raises discussion about the future of the industry bolstered by top writers on the front lines.