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The 16th annual Helsinki Design Week will be held on 3–13 September 2020. The festival events will again spread throughout the city: from museums to markets, from seminar halls to secret shops, and from offline to online events and encounters.  

Helsinki Design Week is a series of events of varying sizes targeted to a wide range of different audiences. It is not a festival at one single venue holding thousands of visitors. With regards to possible restrictions on venues or visitors due to the international health crisis, the festival has the means and opportunity to multiply into smaller events or use new digital methods of exhibiting content. The main partner of the festival, the City of Helsinki, is supporting the safe and responsible organization of the festival.

Commitment Matters

Helsinki Design Week’s statement for 2020 is Commitment Matters – a theme that raises questions regarding the meaning and value of designing. The phrase is a stimulus for thought, and the theme is meant to be used as a tool for everyone taking part in the festival: the event organizers, the exhibitors, the seminar speakers and the visitors.

The festival visuals celebrate the legendary Helsinki Olympic Stadium, combining its functionalistic architecture with vivid and energetic colours from the athletic world. Historic photos from the 1940s will highlight the design and history of the restored monument. The festival visuals are designed by Helsinki Design Week graphic designer Jenni Väre.

Kuvat Urheilumuseo / Foto Roos.

At the Olympic Stadium

The main venue of Helsinki Design Week will be the Olympic Stadium. With its large and airy spaces, it is a perfect spot for safe encounters. The stadium is open on 11–13 September for guided tours, Children’s Design Week and orienteering for kids. The Sports Museum will also be open to visitors.

The Stadium is also home to the main exhibition, a series of installations on design and architecture. At the newly renovated venue, Helsinki Design Week will present interesting works from the fields of fashion, design and architecture. 

The biggest PechaKucha Night ever

The Olympic Stadium will also host an event that may well become the biggest PechaKucha Night ever held. The evening of September 12 is reserved for 10 presentations, each less than 7 minutes long. The idea of PechaKucha, Japanese for “chit chat”, is simple: 20 slides and 20 seconds of commentary on a theme chosen by the presentator. The guest speakers will be published in early August.

PechaKucha Night in 2019. Photo: Helsinki Design Week / Aleksi Poutanen

Design Market

The most popular autumn design sale, the Design Market, will open Helsinki Design Week on 3–5 September 2020. The event will be held online through a platform listing vendors and offers in webshops and city boutiques. The Design Market offers sample sales and good bargains from notable brands. All of the vendors are committed to environmentally sound design and products.

Open doors to creative minds

Open Studios: Guided tours on 9–10 September take us to meet local architects, graphic designers and creative minds at their own studios. The event is open to all.

Open Showrooms: Guided tours on 9–10 September open doors to the world of production, manufacture and import. These tours are meant for professional audiences and members of the media.

Design on screen

For two weeks in September 2020 Helsinki Design Week will take over more than 20 advertising LED screens in downtown Helsinki. The Open Screens campaign allows new encounters between design and Helsinkians. More info on the digital minigalleries will be published in early August.

The full programme of Helsinki Design Week and Children’s Design Week will be released in early August 2020.

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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.