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Helsinki Design Week’s theme for 2020 is Commitment Matters

  • Helsinki Design Week 2020
  • Olympic Stadium

Commitment Matters raises questions regarding the meaning and value of designing, writes programme director Anni Korkman. The main venue, Helsinki Olympic Stadium, has a grand enough feel for big questions. 

Change requires repetition. When repeated many times, doing becomes a habit.

Our ways of living, working, travelling and consuming are unsustainable.

In order for the consequences of our actions to change, we must map the current processes and learn new ones. Sometimes the course of unlearning is the most intimidating part.

In fact, one could argue that this is the hardest part of fighting not just the climate crisis, but any challenge. This idea is familiar to any designer. Development processes with all their iterations require commitment. One must commit to a point of view and the decisions that have been made. For one, the chosen ideal might be aesthetics, for another, quality materials or keeping a tradition alive. We accomplish something, review and learn from the outcome.

The role of design in influencing human behaviour is substantial. It has become widely acknowledged that design in its various forms, whether as objects, services, interiors, architecture and environments, can create change that is both desirable as well as undesirable, intentional and unintentional. An experience, be it shared or personal, can sometimes be so powerful that it changes one’s perspective.

We at Helsinki Design Week have always favoured multicultural and multidisciplinary collaboration. A shared commitment between a group of people will always be stronger and more interesting than the individual human. A group joining together on this platform of ours is influential and full of opportunities. Our media, Helsinki Design Weekly, makes sure the conversation or the collaboration does not end when the festival does, but remains movable around the year, both locally and globally, constantly.

As an opening for thought, Commitment Matters 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. I’m looking forward to September 2020, when we will learn what the designers, makers and thinkers are committed to.

Helsinki Design Week is held again 3.–13.9.2020.

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