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

Understanding Finnish Design

Finnish design is democratic and popular. It comes without ornament and with a rough and almost unfinished look. Finnish design is about the essence of materials and the purity of it. It takes the details away from your focus and brings no expression besides color. Finnish design is about creating objects that have a function and that last as much as they can.

Arabia Center, Iittala Flagship Store, Fiskars Village, Iittala Glass Center, Nuutajärvi Glass Village; these 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 shows a unique point of view when it comes to these Finnish brands.

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

Our visit to the Arabia Center in Helsinki

The last thing we did when we got to Helsinki was to go to Arabia Center. We saved the best for last! And we did that because we know how important Arabia Center is when it comes to design. Since 1873, the area has been used as a ceramics factory and, today is Fiskars Group Ceramic Heart. Everything you need to see and learn about ceramics, you are going to see there.
On one of the top floors, they even have the Design Museum Arabia, a small part of Design Museum Helsinki where you can learn even more about Finnish design. But this is not all you can see at the Arabia Center. There are also ateliers of the Arabia Art Department Society and Arabia Gallery with a number of changing exhibitions.

Book a factory tour with them and explore the museum, the gallery, the Fiskars showroom and the pavilion. We did it and we advise every design lover to do the same.

Our visit to Iittala Flagship Store Splanadi in Helsinki

Iittala Flagship Store can be found at Pohjoisesplanadi, in the very heart of Helsinki. This store was designed by Kaj Franck in the fifties and it has served generations of Iittala costumers and fans. In this beautiful designed store you can learn even more about Finnish design and take a look at 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 design come from and why we love them so much.

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

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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