Salon 26: What is Finnish Design Culture?

Wednesday 24 October, 1400h

Design Factory
Aalto University
Betonimiehenkuja 5C
02150 Espoo

Google map

Päivi Hietanen
City Design Manager of the Helsinki Lab.
Petteri Kolinen, CEO Design Forum Finland
Kari Korkman, CEO, Helsinki Design Week
Suvi Saloniemi, Chief Curator, Design Museum Helsinki

Chair:  Guy Julier

Free Public Panel Discussion Event
Booking on Eventbrite

After a 16 month break, the Design Culture Salon is re-established in Helsinki. We are starting off with a local question of  ‘What is Finnish Design Culture?’.

Finland is hot. Hardly a day goes by without an article in the international press extolling the virtues of Finland’s more equal society, its high happiness index and, of course, the strength of its design. But what are Finnish design’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? How is Finnish design culture shaped and what consolidates it? How does the turn towards service design and design thinking re-shape conceptions of Finnish design? Is it appropriate, in an era of globalisation, to talk about design in national terms?

These are just some of the questions we shall be discussing with our panel.


Päivi Hietanen works as a City Design Manager for Helsinki Lab that implements design thinking within the City of Helsinki. Päivi manages the operations of the Lab that supports city divisions in developing their services and customer experience, based on the new Helsinki City Strategy. The goal is to combine design, digitalization and dialogue to create better city together with the citizens. Päivi holds a Master´s degree in architecture from University of Oulu. During WDC Helsinki 2012 Päivi managed a major design program that promoted design thinking in public and third sector organizations.

Petteri Kolinen is an industrial designer and holds a Masters in Design Leadership. He has a long experience in various managerial positions in design from diverse industries. In 1993–2007, Kolinen worked at Nokia as Design Manager, responsible for various teams, as well as e.g. managing the Design Studio at the Keilaniemi headquarters. After this, he was a member of the Group Management Team and Design Director at Martela. He joined Design Forum Finland from Nanso, where he held the post of Creative Director.

Kari Korkman, is the founder and director of Helsinki Design Week and the President of World Design Weeks. He has been involved in a large number of product development projects and launches since the beginning of the 90s and has produced and curated a number of design exhibitions and events. Kari has received much recognition for his achievements in the design business and for activating city culture.

Suvi Saloniemi is a specialist in contemporary design and visual arts. Since 2012 she has been the Chief Curator of Design Museum Helsinki, a Finnish specialist museum founded in 1873 with a collection of 75 000 objects. Her expertise is in Scandinavian design, collectible design, critical practises, museums and global design networks. Her international tasks include projects in NYC, London, Stockholm, Moscow and Seoul.  She is an active speaker, and has many positions of trust such as nominator for the Designs of the Year in London Design Museum. She has newly started in the advisory board of Chart Design Fair, Copenhagen. Suvi Saloniemi’s background is in art history studies at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Stockholm, and in curating studies at the Aalto University of Art, Design and Architecture.

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