The first Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale brought the most topical contemporary art to Fiskars Village, an old ironworks community in the south of Finland. This year the Village was awarded for being an excellent regional destination and listed as an internationally sustainable destination.
Organized for the first time last summer, the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale was a big success in terms of quality. It presented works from both local and internationally well-known artists and designers.
“The benches curated by Jasper Morrison were the most popular attraction of the exhibition ensemble. People really loved them, and they were in extremely active use,” says biennale’s producer Johanna Bruun.
Fiskars has a long history of design and craft exhibitions. Thanks to the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale, the village now got to host an exhibition of contemporary art.
“As a baseline, we did not set out to produce another so called light-weight summer exhibition but wanted to offer the visitors an art ensemble that meets international benchmarks,” Bruun says.
Ramina Habibollah: Violet Universe: Coral Bones (2018-). Photo: Sanna Lehto
“This biennale wasn’t done with the same recipe as other big international art- and design events, which was great. We tried to find solutions that worked in this particular context and the existing resources,” says curator Jenni Nurmenniemi.
Altogether the Fiskars Village attracted 200 000 visitors, and more international and Finnish people from the design field than before. Many international guests whose primary destination was Helsinki also visited Fiskars.
“Planning for 2021, we want to advance accessibility to Fiskars and thereby to the Biennale. People must be able to reach the place by other than private cars. This summer we had a direct bus line from Helsinki to Fiskars once a week, but there is demand for a more versatile offering,” Johanna says.
An awarded destination
Fiskars Village is an awarded regional destination and globally a community that wants to advance tourism in a sustainable way. This autumn the Village was awarded for its efforts.
Every year Green Destinations, a non-profit foundation for sustainable tourism, selects 100 distinctively attractive destinations that have succeeded in their sustainability objectives. Responsible development of tourism, its social, cultural and economical sustainability as well as nature conservation are considered key when selecting the destinations.
In an award ceremony in October, Fiskars Village was listed among the Sustainable TOP 100 Destinations.
Raimo Saarinen: Skenaario. Photo: Sanna Lehto
Nurmenniemi suggests that the future biennales could work as a testbed for climate friendly exhibition solutions
“There is a growing interest and Fiskars could well be a forerunner. Combining contemporary art and design supports the idea well, too!”
Throughout the year 2019, an extensive survey based on the Green Destinations Standard was carried out in the village. The survey included studying the impact of tourism on the environment, nature, local culture and traditions. The results of the survey were audited by a specialist authorized by Green Destinations.
Fiskars Village is the second destination in Finland to be selected amongst the top 100. The first was Pyhä-Luosto in Lapland.
The artworks were transported by Kunnon Muutto, a company that moves items as ecologically as possible. Their transport vehicle uses biogas. Photo: Topi Pakarinen
“All operations and development of Fiskars Village center around sustainable development, so this is an extremely important issue to us. We have done plenty already, and we’ll continue to work together with the people of Fiskars and other operators. I believe that this recognition gives us a boost and more validation to know we are on the right path,” says the head of real estate at Fiskars Village Kari Selkälä.
Fiskars Village also won the national Finnish Destination of the Year award at the Finnish Travel Gala organized by SMAL 4 October 2019.
Order exhibition catalogue here. The next Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale will be held in 2021.