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Thursday 16 February 2012

Finnishing touches: Here's to Helsinki

Helsinki is one of those places that lurks on my 'to visit' list (along with about 70% of the rest of the world to be honest). There's an added incentive to go this year, as it's been named 'World Design Capital' for 2012. Design geeks like myself will probably already wax lyrical about the joy of Finnish design. There's currently even more reason for a geek out, as some of the most famous Finnish brands have made new products to mark the occasion, available in the UK without the necessity of a passport. Though, judging by the products they've produced, it looks like a visit to Helsinki would involve a lot of hot drinks - in itself a good reason to visit.

There's been in Arabia factory in Helsinki since 1873. In honour of its World Design Capital status they've asked illustrator Miire Zukale to decorate four mugs depicting the various characteristics of the city. And aren't they pretty? Above is Block and below is Sea, while the other two mugs cover Park and Downtown (aww, Helsinki sounds like a lovely place to visit).

Each mug costs £23.95 from Hus and Hem. The style and subject matter of the Sea mug above reminds me a little of ...

... this tray from Marimekko. Helsinki-based company, and producer of so many pretty patterns, Marimekko was founded in 1951. Pay a visit to their website and you can have fun exploring a map of the city including all of their favourite places - anyone fancy a visit to the Helsinki toad pond? If you think this design has a retro feel, you'd be right: it dates all the way back to 1952 and has just been re-issued this year. This design is available in a powder blue, or a gentle green and is used across mugs, fabrics and bags. The tray costs £24.00 from Skandium.

Who are Finland's most famous exports? Arguably it's the cute but creepy Moomins. They've made a special Moomin Hurra mug to celebrate Helsinki's current status. Hurra translates as hooray and I couldn't have put it better myself: hooray for happy Moomins! Less of a matter for celebration is how hard it is to track these mugs down. I can't find them in the UK but you can buy them from German website, Rove for 41.95 euros including posting which works out at around £35. Quite pricey but take a look at the resale value of some of the Moomin mugs and it could end up being quite a worthwhile investment.

Alternatively, you could save up your money and book a flight to Helsinki instead. Hurra to that, and hyvää matkaa!

1 comment:

  1. Helsinki is a really beautiful city, well worth a visit - I've been three times. There's a lovely park that runs the length of the city centre that in summer hosts, exhibitions, buskers and street theatre running from Native Americans to string quartets - sit outside at one of the many pavement cafes and admire the view. And not a blast of hip-hop to be heard when we've visited - the popular music seems to be either Finn folk or Metal... sit and watch the tall Goths/Vikings with flowing blond hair stroll by. *g*


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