Helsinki Design Week: HDW HOP City Installations

Public art created with development and sustainability in mind

Helsinki Design Week is the biggest design festival of the Nordic European countries, with 250+ events all over the city. The 2017 edition was filled with talks, conferences, awards, trade fairs, exhibitions and temporary installations. The latter are the focus of the second edition of HDW HOP—the initiative aimed at giving a new life to the city’s streets and squares. Finnish and international designers and architects were invited to create temporary projects around the theme of a developing city. The participating designers and architects focused on building, sharing, welcoming, diversity and plurality. The resulting installations displayed varied approaches, but revealed a common focus on sustainability and social issues.

Marco Casagrande imagined a vertical housing unit that can be built overnight on one parking lot space. Known as Tikku (“stick” in Finnish), this micro-house is big enough to have a living room, working area, places to prepare food and sleep. But the surprise is a greenhouse on top, functioning as both a space to relax and grow plants. Tikku is also sustainable since it’s completely made of wood sourced from managed forests.

The Growroom is an experimental open-source greenroom that was located in front of the celebrated Artek flagship store. Danish design studio Space10 conceived the unusual structure in collaboration with architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum. Both a meeting place and a vegetable garden, Growroom can be personalized and built by anyone who wants one thanks to open data and drawings .

Designed by Taiwanese architects Hsieh Ying-Chun and Chiu Chen-Yu, People’s Architecture was not just an art installation, but an ongoing process with deep social aspects. The piece was part exhibition, part workshop and part building site, where skilled builders were teaching immigrants a simple way to create their own homes. This is not just a way to get people a place to live, but also a methodology aimed at creating bonds with the local culture, hand down skills and create a renewed social fabric.

Kukkii was an indoor installation for which Antrei Hartikainen showcased his skills as a designer and master cabinetmaker. One hundred unique wooden blooms (“kukkii” means “blooming”) stood in front of a geometric yet extremely poetic and colorful backdrop. Hartikainen wanted to recreate what he perceives when surrounded by nature. Despite the strong artisanal touch, the result was contemporary and digital—emphasized by the crowd of people that were Instragramming the space.

Images by Paolo Ferrarini