You are here: Home » Our Travel Tales » Europe » Northern Europe » Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

by Andrea on September 13, 2012

614156 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)  Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

John always professed a preference for Finland among all the Nordic countries but I was not prepared  for how much I was going to love it. Not only are the people incredibly friendly and hospitable, it’s also just a cool and interesting place to be. If you want to experience what I’m talking about, head down to the Design District in Helsinki.

helsinki design district Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

‘Scandinavian design’ is popular throughout the world, but I had no idea that Finland isn’t technically considered part of Scandinavia until this trip. Never mind the classifications because Finland has amazing designers and Helsinki is World Design Capital 2012. This part of the city is the perfect place to explore what they have to offer because within a very small area you’ll find tons of shops, galleries, museums, showrooms, agencies and antiques stores. Exploring is easy with the mobile app available at designdistrict.fi or a paper map from the tourist office.

helsinki design district freud Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district like Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design jam Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

While we always planned to visit Helsinki, our motivation for this particular trip came from our visiting friend, the uber-talented Kyle Hepp. She’s an amazing international wedding photographer who is so good that I’ve considered planning some kind of vow renewal just to have her shoot our wedding (we met her after we got married). Here she is at work on the streets of Helsinki:

kyle hepp helsinki Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

So the title of this post could just as easily have been “Some Friends Having Too Much Fun In Helsinki” because that’s what we did. It’s pretty satisfying just to walk the streets of the Design District and take in all the strange odds and ends that are collected there. The entire area is perfectly curated with this strange mix of old and new. You kind of don’t get why the old stuff is there and are just as easily confused by some of the newer things you come across (see a later post to come on Finland’s quirks).

helsinki design district magazines Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district laboratory2 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

But we also wanted to do some shopping and one of our first stops was the independent music store Stupido Shop (Iso Roobertinkatu 23, stupido.fi), where John and Kyle picked up some new tunes.

helsinki design district stupido Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district shopping at stupido Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district shopping at stupido2 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

Back onto the streets we hit up a few more shops. One can find anything in the Design District, from clothing to furniture to jewellery to food.

helsinki design district books Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district how much is that doggie in the window Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district classic audio Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district mags Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

Marimekko (Pohjoisesplanadi 33) is  one of the larger Finnish design chains but they still keep a small shop in the Design District and we had a lot of fun with their giant iPhone…before I picked up a new autumn coat.

helsinki design district giant iphone Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district shopping Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district buying Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

After lunch we poked around in a few more shops and also checked out a couple of galleries, including Laboratory (Erottajankatu 9B, courtyard, laboratory.fi / helsinkistreet.fi), a collective made up of award-winning photojournalists. The entire exhibit featured their street photography, my favourite type.

helsinki design district cider Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

The Finns love their cider, as well as something called a long drink, which is similar and was created for the crowds expected at the 1952 Summer Olympics.

helsinki design district laboratory Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

at Laboratory

helsinki design district gallery Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay) Everywhere I looked there was an exhibition or gallery tucked away in a courtyard or even downstairs within a shop. We could have spent much more time browsing but torrential rains came and we found ourselves cozying into the awesome bar, Latva (Korkeavuorenkatu 25, latva.fi). This became “our bar” for our few days in Helsinki.

helsinki design district latva2 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district latva1 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district latva3 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

I had no idea there were so many different types of bitters.

helsinki design district latva4 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

This photo is blurry from the timed shutter but I still love it.

Another cool place to check out is the WDC Helsinki 2012 Pavillion (between the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture, wdchelsinki2012.fi), which is a public meeting place hosting free workshops, classes, flea markets and film screenings. It’s only open until 16 September so hurry over.

helsinki design district public Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district free events Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district woman Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district end Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

Er, almost.

Our last stop was Funky Burger (Annankatu 31-33) for a burger and last drink of the night. Even the sports bars in Helsinki are hip.

helsinki design district funkyburger Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

helsinki design district funkyburger2 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

The place to stay in the Design District is the very chic Klaus K Hotel, which offers boutique luxury in unique design rooms and suites inspired by Finland’s national epic. 

614156 Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)  Hip Helsinki: The Design District (Photo Essay)

flattr this!

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

{ 7 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: