Reading so much about design and education in Finland sparked my interest in getting to know its capital, Helsinki. I’m not the only one. In his latest film, , “What are we invading now?”, The American filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to analyze and decipher the educational success of Finland, a country that has been recognized worldwide for its educational quality. In Finland there is no private education. All schools are equal, have the same level and children from different social realities come together. Said like this, for a Brazilian, it seems almost a dream.
This harmony and balance is also easily perceived by walking around the city. With eastern and western influences, Helsinki is a city where new trends and traditions are surprisingly combined. A cosmopolitan city with contemporary aesthetics and the tranquility of a spa.
Capital of Design in 2012,Finns approach design from a broad perspective that underlines all the processes that drive social, economic and cultural improvements. Design is ubiquitous in Helsinki, from architecture and urban planning to public transport vehicles and the signal system. The homes are decorated with Marimekko textilesand Artek, furniture, the clothes are from Ivana Helsinki, Ril’s or Tiia Vanhatapio. It is very visible how the environment of the Finns is full of design.
I stayed in the Ullanlina neighborhood, right in the Design District, a hub of creativity in the center of the capital. In just one square kilometer, more than 180 shops, galleries and workshops are distributed, as well as bars, trendy restaurants and design hotels. And since it is very easy to get around Helsinki, I did almost everything on foot or by tram, which is great to discover the city at a pleasant and intimate speed. Here I am going to highlight what I found most interesting during the 5 days I was in the city last summer.
Founded in 1873, this museum is dedicated to the exhibition of Finnish and foreign design, including industrial, fashion and graphic design. It has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of Finnish design, as well as space for temporary exhibitions. It is worth highlighting the talent of the architect and designer Alvar Aalto (there is even a museum dedicated to him). The complex also includes the museum of Arabia, in Helsinki, specialized in ceramics, and the glass museums of Iittala and Nuutajärvi. Safety pin.
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
It annually presents three large temporary exhibitions and different projects of different formats. Its program includes exhibitions of contemporary national and international artists and group themed exhibitions. To my surprise, when I was there one of the exhibitions was by the Brazilian Ernesto Neto.What a thrill! There was also the exhibition by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa and the video installation “Punishment” by Lithuanian artist Roma Auskalnyte. The video shows the artist on her knees about the text: “In text I trust / In written truth / I believe / Read more.” Perfect for the country with the best education in the world.
Market Square / Kaupatoori
In the center, the tour begins in the Market Square, which is filled with the colors of each season. In summer, tasting strawberries from the country, you can lie in the sun and enjoy the scenery with a Lapin Kulta beer. Next to the square, there is the Helsinki Old Market that offers quality products, where you can savor the “ruisleispã” (typical Finnish bread) with cheese, salmon and lemon … Hmm … Nearby you can also get to the Finnair Ferris wheel Sky Wheel that works daily and has a very nice view of the city.
In August 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit study placed Helsinki in eighth place in the general ranking of the best cities to live in worldwide. I think that having so many saunas should contribute to this fact! In Finland there are a total of 3.3 million saunas and in Helsinki there are 20 for public use. Along with the numerous traditional saunas, others of modern design are born, such as the one I was in: Löyly. An incredible experience, with the right to swim in the sea.
It is listed on the Unesco World Heritage List and is one of the largest maritime fortresses in the world. You are going to feel in a Lord of the Rings movie. And, if you are lucky, you can see a typical Finnish wedding, since there are usually parties of this type on the island. The ferry to the island leaves from the Market Square and the journey takes a quarter of an hour. Very practical, it’s worth it!
On this island there are dozens of rural houses from yesteryear that can be seen outside for free while strolling around the island. There is a wooden bridge to access the island, which can be reached on foot in an hour. During the walk, I found “my home” in Finland and beautiful stone sailboats. Finnish design in its purest form.
And to finish this post, let’s go to the trendiest neighborhood in Helsinki. Just as in Stockholm there is the Södermalm (as I have published in a post here), in Helsinki there is the Kallio. Start on Suonionkatu Street, next to the iconic Kallio Church, and let yourself go… There are many interesting bars, restaurants and shops, even second-hand ones. Some recommendations: the “Made in Kallio” store and the Café Rupla, where you can read later at the entrance: “Art is an adventure that never ends”. Agree. May the art never end. And that Finnish schools continue to give art and poetry the same importance that they give to mathematics. Kiitos (thanks in Finnish) Helsinki!