Habitare programme published

Habitare programme published

The programme of Finland’s leading design event, Habitare, highlights the topics of the senses and responsibility. The theme of Mindspaces moves between different realities and explores how spatial solutions and materials create emotions and serve various needs in life. Keynote speakers include the president of the Italian design house Alessi, who is also the International Friend of Habitare, Alberto Alessi. Habitare will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki from 11 to 15 September 2019.

Founded in 1921 in Italy, Alessi is one of the world’s most famous design companies. The president of Alessi, Alberto Alessi, is the International Friend of Habitare in 2019. On the opening day of Habitare, he will hold a keynote speech and will choose his favourites from among the products exhibited at Habitare.

Design and design products are strongly present in our everyday life, but we often treat them like we do images on social media: great design deserves a like, but we then move on to something else. The lighting designer Chiara Carucci and the interior designer and trend analyst Nadia Tolstoy, both award-winners, delve below the surface of design, discussing the visible and invisible aspects of design by taking into consideration all the senses. The senses are present in other keynote speeches at Habitare, too, as the speech by the founder and president of Muro Scents Co, Wolf Fischer, reminds us of the importance of scents.

Over the years, the nature of work and work environments have changed completely: technological innovations and the work–life balance push us to consider new ways to design work environments. In her keynote speech, the interior designer Sevil Peach, who specialises in workspaces, will discuss the importance of today’s work environment. One of Peach’s recent designs, the Artek office on Mannerheimintie, Helsinki, is a cosy, multi-faceted work environment. Her goal is to create spaces that support work and enable people to work better.


Between the material and the intangible, and the real and the imaginary

The Habitare theme of Mindspaces moves between different realities and states of mind, with physical spaces becoming more important as reinforcers of various states of mind. The trend expert Antti Rimminen and the producer and culture journalist Mia Dillemuth will discuss the process of theme design and the underlying global trends.

“The exhibition design emphasises surfaces and layers, as well as spaces and the hiding places they provide. For the first time, the exhibition design introduces augmented reality (AR) as part of Habitare”, says Laura Väinölä, a new-generation designer who has conceived the Shades exhibition design, about the background and characteristics of the exhibition design. The exhibition design partners are Arilyn, Svensson and Bolon.


Towards more responsible design

Sustainable and responsible design is a popular talking point, and the topic also features in the Habitare programme.

The Zero Waste panel discussion on the circular economy and responsibility highlights the circulation and responsible use of materials. Through careful planning, waste and surplus can be reduced, and the conscious consumer can make sustainable choices. The panel discussion will be moderated by Kaarina Gould, the executive director at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York.

In a panel discussion hosted by the Ministry of the Environment, experts explore energy and material efficiency, as well as eco-friendliness and recyclability. The importance of interior design in everyday life is becoming increasingly important, but it is the responsibility of both manufacturers and consumers to consider the life cycle of products. The discussion participants are Henna Helander, Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA; Emmi Keskisarja, the architects’ office &’ (Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects); and Tommi Lindh, Alvar Aalto Foundation.


Young-generation design

The Block, an area for new design at Habitare, attracts manufacturers, the media, and visitors interested in new design with the Protoshop exhibition of prototypes and the Talentshop exhibition of emerging designers. The designers selected for exhibition at Talentshop, Laura Itkonen, Hemmo Honkonen, Kristoffer Heikkinen and Rasmus Palmgren, will each have their own stand at Habitare. Other young designers and design schools will also be featured in The Block area. New ideas will also be presented at the Habitare Startup concept area, located next to The Block.

Design education for children and young people and its importance are also explored at Habitare. According to futurology researchers, we cannot know exactly how the world will change. The content now taught at school may be rendered redundant when current comprehensive school students enter working life. Design education encourages concrete action in a complex and ever-changing world and provides ways to practise skills that are needed in the future. The art teacher Iida Jääskeläinen will speak on this topic.


Exhibitions to add new dimensions to the theme

Habitare’s special exhibitions dig deeper into the world of design. A new feature is the exhibition “Luther and Isokon – A story of pioneering architecture and plywood furniture”, put together by the Estonian Association of Designers and the Isokon Gallery in London. The versatile exhibition looks at the history of modern architecture and design, especially from the perspective of the Isokon building in London and the 20th-century Estonian furniture manufacturer A.M. Luther, who influenced the architecture of the building. The residents of the Isokon building in the 1930s included many of the major designers and creative professionals of the time, from Alvar Aalto to the founder of the famous Bauhaus art school, Walter Gropius. The exhibition also serves to celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus art school.

The centenary history of Messukeskus also features prominently at Habitare. Throughout the history of Messukeskus, posters have played a major role in the visual identity of fairs. To celebrate the rich history of fair posters, Messukeskus and Grafia, the Association of Visual Communication Designers in Finland, have invited Grafia’s members and students in the field to design a fair poster on the theme of Messukeskus’ centenary year. The works selected for the final of the poster design competition will be on display at Habitare. Grafia will also bring to Habitare the Vuoden Huiput (‘Best of the Year’) exhibition, which presents the best Finnish advertising and design from 2018.

The finalist designs of the Habitare Design Competition will also be on display at Habitare. The competition is being organised together with Aalto University, and the winner will be announced on the opening day of Habitare.

The unique Signals trend exhibition, intended to attract international interest, explores trends related to the home through presenting four alternative futures. The exhibition is produced and curated by the trend analyst Susanna Björklund, together with the designer Sisse Collander.

Habitare includes three prize exhibitions: an exhibition of the collection by the winner of the Kaj Franck Design Prize, Tapio Anttila; an exhibition of winning entries in the Vuoden Huiput (‘Best of the Year’) graphic design competition; and an exhibition of the finalist works in the Habitare Design Competition for architecture and design students.

Habitare’s Habi Kids children’s area celebrates Helsinki’s urban culture. Habi Kids offers the whole family the opportunity to play a large board game set in Helsinki. The Habi Kids area is lined with companies specialising in children’s room furnishings. The Habi Kids children’s area is designed by the graphic designer and illustrator Sanna Mander and produced by the event producer Aino Heikkinen. The main partners of Habi Kids are the Helsinki City Museum and PixMill.

Held every other year, the Habitare Collection exhibition will be shown again at Habitare after a year’s break. The exhibition, which was held for the first time in 2009, celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019, inviting visitors to check out the festive design offerings. A jury of influential design experts will offer a curated overview of interesting current design phenomena and products, and the designs selected for exhibition at the stand will be added to the Design Museum’s collection.

The entire Habitare programme has been published on the Habitare website. (link)

More information on Habitare:

Messukeskus, communications manager Eva Kiviranta, tel. +358 40 7756609, eva.kiviranta@messukeskus.com



Habitare, the largest furniture, design and interior decoration event in Finland, will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki, from 11 to 15 September 2019. Habitare offers experiences and ideas on interior decoration, and on the functioning and look of homes and other spaces. Habitare highlights the ideas and works by a new generation of designers, and sparks discussion. The International Friend of Habitare in 2019 is Alberto Alessi. To be held concurrently with Habitare are HiFi and the Habitare Pro professionals event. | www.habitare.fi | @HabitareFair | www.facebook.com/habitare | #habitare2019