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Finnish Design: Everything you need to know about Iittala, Fiskars and Arabia

When most people think of Finland, they think about the cold and long winters. But I’m not one of those people. When I think about Finland, I think about the beauty and function of Finnish Design. I know it may sound weird for most people, but as a designer, I see Finland in a different way.

And I gonna try to show you how I see Finland in this article about Finnish Design.

For me, Finland is home to one of the greatest design cultures in the world. Helsinki is a place that everybody should visit just because it was the World Design Capital in 2012. Companies like Iittala, Arabia, Nokia, and Fiskars showed the world how Finland does design in its own way.

Finnish Design 101: Everything You Need to Know

Watch Out of the Blue from Gestalten to learn more about Iittala and Fiskars. It captures the essence and ambition of Finnish design.

Finnish design is democratic and popular. It is without ornament and has a rough and almost unfinished look.

Finnish design is about the essence of materials and their purity. It removes the details from your focus and brings no expression besides color. Finnish design is about creating objects with a function that lasts as long as possible.

Arabia Center, Iittala Flagship Store, Fiskars Village, Iittala Glass Center, and Nuutajärvi Glass Village are a few of the essential destinations for every designer lover when they come to Finland.

We had the pleasure of visiting Arabia Center and Iittala Flagship Store, but we need more since each destination offers a unique perspective on these Finnish brands.

When I went to Finland for the first time in September 2014, I knew I had to see where Finnish design is made. On our last day in Helsinki, we visited the Arabia Factory, and everyone interested in Finnish design should do the same.

Our visit to the Arabia Center in Helsinki

When we got to Helsinki, the last thing we did was go to the Arabia Center. We saved the best for last! We did that because we know how important the Arabia Center is in design. Since 1873, the area has been used as a ceramics factory, and today, it is Fiskars Group Ceramic Heart.

Everything you need to see and learn about ceramics is going to be there.

On one of the top floors, there is even the Design Museum Arabia, a small part of the Design Museum Helsinki, where you can learn more about Finnish design. But this is not all you can see at the Arabia Center. There are also the ateliers of the Arabia Art Department Society and the Arabia Gallery, which has a number of changing exhibitions.

For a guided tour (only available during factory opening hours or during the week), you have to book in advance by contacting We did it, and we advise every design lover to do the same.

Our visit to Iittala Flagship Store Splanadi in Helsinki

Iittala’s Flagship Store is at Pohjoisesplanadi, in the heart of Helsinki. Designed by Kaj Franck in the fifties, it has served generations of Iittala customers and fans. In this beautiful store, you can learn even more about Finnish design and browse a wide selection of Iittala products.

There, you can find classical designs from the Alvar Aalto collection to Lintula, where the lovable birds designed by Oiva Tikka nest and live.

You can also shop there, and the inspirational surroundings make it easier to understand where Iittala products and designs come from and why we love them.

When you visit Helsinki, don’t forget to visit the Arabia Center first and then the Iittala Flagship Store Splanadi. Every designer will love it!

The History of Finnish Design: From Iittala to Arabia

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani is a passionate designer with a penchant for crafting unique experiences and a mixed taste in music. As the curator behind this blog's explorations, he takes pride in discovering fascinating destinations. Whether unearthing hidden gems or sharing captivating historical narratives, Felipe is the creative force driving the stories you find here. Join him on a journey of design, discovery, and the delightful rhythm of unconventional tunes.View Author posts