Why Finnish design wins Finnkampen?


Ewa Kumlin
CEO, Svensk Form       

I am ashamed that it took me this long to report from our wonderful experience in Helsinki with our membership cruise to Helsinki Design Week in September. Our colleagues at Design Forum Finland have made great reports from our FINNKAMPEN seminar as well as in their October Newsletter.

Helsinki Design Week 2016 was a bigger success than ever: 158 000 people visited 256 events. Congratulations to Kari Korkman and his team, who has worked hard since 2005 to make this week into a truly international event! Together with Helsinki Design Week and the Embassy of Sweden in Helsinki, we participated in a new fun concept developed by HDW, “Design Diplomacy” where you visit different embassy residences, and conduct an informal talk between a designer of the country of the embassy and a designer from Finland. At our impressive Swedish Embassy in Helsinki, Swedish Fredrik Färg and Finnish Klaus Aalto, similar in looks and outlooks, enjoyed the format. You pick a card with an unknown question – and there are blank cards in the middle for the audience to put in their questions. Engaging and fun. We will borrow the concept exceptionally from HDW when we go to the Swedish Embassy residence in Tokyo in October. The Swedish Embassy generously offered luncheon and interesting conversations in their grand salons – thank you Kari & team and the Swedish Embassy.ewakumlin_blognosto

At Finnkampen I started by showing 25 points why Finland deserved to win Finnkampen in design, and my colleague Petteri Kolinen answered with the strengths of Swedish design. The other two participants from Sweden were Michael Persson Gripkow från Visit Sweden, nation branding director and communicator Niklas Bergh, former creative director and founder of Urbanears. We all tried to balance the hardcore professor Petri Parvinen, who with provocative style and humor drove the line that good marketing skills and service in delivery is all that counts to achieve business results and success – forget the “why” and content that all designers are nagging about. Serious, yet a fun and playful day. We had prepared ourselves with flags and accessories and our Finnish colleagues of course wore the classic Marimekko – Annika Rimala – blue and white t-shirts. In Finland design is taken seriously!

On board our Viking Line, we held PechaKucha with Jens Peterson Berger from Ung Svensk Form with the musikmaskinen Ajna, Michael Persson Gripkow and Fredrik Färg. Later at night we listened to performance by singer Iiris Viljanen and on the return we watched films from Levande Design.

This article was first published in Svensk Form’s blog Fru Form on 11 October 2016

Photo: Kalle Kataila