Protoshop 2012

Protoshop No.4 lähestyy! Tule mukaan näyttämään osaamistasi Habitare-messujen näkyvämmälle paikalle. Uusien ehdotusten deadline on 6.2 2012 joten laita ideasi paperille ja osallistu! 

Vuoden 2012 Protoshop on edeltäviä näyttelyitä vieläkin laajempi, sillä uusien töiden lisäksi Habitareen kootaan aikaisempien näyttelyiden parhaimmistoa. Protoshop on Suomen Messujen ja Imu Designin yhdessä tuottama tapahtuma Habitare-messujen Ahead!-alueelle syyskuussa 2011. Imu Design kutsuu Suomessa toimivat suunnittelijat ehdottamaantuoteideoita tapahtumaan. Ehdotuksista valitaan 10-15 ideaa jatkokehitykseen. Jatkokehityksessä toimiviksi prototyypeiksi valmistetut tuotteet esitellään Protoshopissa, jonka ydinideana on löytää esiteltäville tuotteille hyvät kodit sopivista yrityksistä. Suunnittelijoiden ja yritysten yhteistyöfoorumina toimivastatapahtumasta pyritään luomaan raikas ja innostava kokonaisuus, josta sekä kotimaisia että ulkomaisia yrityksiä tiedotetaan tehokkaalla ennakkomarkkinoinnilla.

Protoshop No4. is coming! Deadline for proposals is 6.2 2012. Take a chance and be part of the biggest Protoshop so far. Protoshop is an event jointly organised by Imu and the Finnish Fair Corporation for the Habitare design fair. Protoshop is presenting 11 new prototypes from 13 designers working in Finland. On show are inventive products for both home and public spaces. Protoshop is a forum for designers and companies that allows designers to test how their works are perceived by the industry and users.

Lataa osallistumisohje / Download participation instructionsfrom:


Restaurant Day

Last Saturday we took part in Restaurant day, a day on which people are encouraged to open pop-up restaurants for one day. The idea is to celebrate food and restaurant culture and to have fun in (and with) the city. Our office was transformed into a thai lunch restaurant called Happy Start. 
Jaakko from our office has spent a good portion of his life in Asia so to him thai cooking is home cooking (his childhood stories typically start with something like: “Once when I ran away from home into the jungle”). Jaakko’s sister Johanna was recruited as co-cook, Klaus and I waited on tables and Johanna’s daughter Sonja was the barista. 

Rules and regulations are a big thing in Finland. You can’t even put a live candle on a child’s birthday cake at the daycare place because it might set off a fire. Actually you can’t bring a homemade cake either because of course there would immediately be food poisoning. So what they have is industrial cookies and a LED candle. How deeply, deeply depressing is that? So of course it is a complete miracle that Restaurant day is allowed to happen. But for some happy reason the authorities seem to be ok with it. We even had a health inspector as one of our customers. Ok, she was from Jaakko’s dog park scene, but still, she seemed really pleased. Sometimes all a city needs to do is not oppose, and interesting city culture will emerge all by itself. Without big masterplans. 

A lot of our customers were friends but the thing that made the day really special were the strangers just coming in from the street. Otherwise it would have been like having a dinner party for your friends but charging them for the food. A lot of people seemed to be going from restaurant to restaurant, eating a starter in one place and the main course in another. 
There were some moments of doubt during the preparations. When cooking in elementary conditions, when hunting down 36 chairs and running around the city looking for exotic ingredients, but when the day came everything went smoothly. After a beer we all said we would do it again. Now, all we have to do is come up with another theme. 


Elina and Krista take Dublin

Last weekend Krista and I travelled to Dublin on official World Design Capital business. I think our hosts thought they were getting design dignitaries over. They actually said there were people who were afraid of us coming. While actually I think Krista and I are probably the least frightening people you will ever meet. Everyone kept complimenting the Helsinki bid book (with which the WDC year was won) and we kept disapointing them by admitting we had nothing what so ever to do with getting the year to Helsinki.

We said we would write a report on our trip (although Krista probably had something more mature and analytical in mind) so here goes.

Earlier this year Krista, Saara and I were asked to curate an exhibition of international design for the world design capital year together with Design Forum Finland. We sent out a brief this summer to a lot of countries and about 20 responded with a proposal of what they would like to exhibit in Helsinki next year. Ireland's approach was perhaps the most intriguing. They said they were going to organize a design challenge to find a multidisciplinary team to create their proposal and they wanted us to come and be part of their jury.

Needless to say we jumped at the chance and soon found ourselves in the middle of Dublin design week, shown around like the design dignitaries we are not.

The design challenge ran from saturday to sunday with 12 teams consisting of architects, designers, fashion designers, computer engineers and performance artists finding clever approaches to the theme "Provoke the Everyday".

Krista checking out candies while the other work away.

What really impressed us was the positive spirit. People really wanted to give up their whole weekend in order to work with each other in finding the team that would best represent Ireland. We were reminded of how we ourselves had not changed our weekend plans to meet some important ICSID people last summer and felt slightly ashamed. Also we didn't know who Marco Steinberg was which delighted Barry, one of our hosts, and he had to tell us that he is the director of Sitra (by now they were probably thinking: "who are these impostors?").

In our limited 2,5 days we managed to attend a party at Red and Grey the graphic design office that designed the Dublin bid book (for 2014). See an irish pecha kucha, take a private architectural tour of central Dublin, eat well, give two small presentations of our own, see Bob Geldof, The Edge, Chris Noth AND support the irish economy with a little bit of shopping.

By the way, I loved this portrait that Red and Grey commissioned of themselves.

There are definitely differences between the Irish and the Finns. For one the taxi drivers in Helsinki don't say "God bless you" to customers. The Irish are good at talking, the Finns are good at listening. The Irish seem to be very united and happy while we can sometimes be a bit melancholy and bickering.

But there are also a lot of things we have in common. We are both at the fringes of Europe. Envying but also at same time challenging our bigger, richer neighbour countries. We like to drink (although none of that last weekend mind you). Every irishman (woman) should have Finn who would patiently listen and every Finn should have an irishperson to keep up the conversation. Thank you Ali, Barry, Bob, Rory and everyone else! See you in Helsinki next year.

How did the swedes get involved? I thought this was supposed to be an Ireland-Finland affair? They're everywhere.


Peony therapy

On a rainy day like this it seems unreal that there has been so much light and so much colour only 3 months ago. Looking through these photos is actually an inexpensive and effective antidepressant - it's peony therapy.

Women's magazines often have features about flowers. This used to baffle me. I got why you would want to read about fashion, food or celebrities but why would one want to look at pictures of flowers? But now I know. It's one of those things that you don't get until you're ready to take it all in. Another thing I never understood: why do people move perennial flowers from one place to another. Now I know that too. I moved a group of moon lilies five times this summer (I'm trusting google translate with the botanical vocabulary, hope it's going ok).

These pictures are from the allotment gardens in Vallila. It is a densely built area of small summer houses each with their own little garden. There are several of these allotment gardens in Helsinki and they are open to the public during the daytime in the summer months.  The one in Vallila was built in the 1930's. There is a strict policy on building and renovating so the houses look pretty much as they did 80 years ago. There is one house which has been kept as a museum and it gives visitors a chance at a closer look.

Best though is to befriend a person who has a house there and have them invite you to dinner. I can thoroughly recommend this alternative.

Sometimes it feels like it's all too cute for comfort. But sometimes excess of a good thing is ok.


Welcome to Protoshop 2011!

We are happy to invite you to our 3rd PROTOSHOP exhibition at the Habitare design fair starting next Wednesday, 14.9.2011.

This year we exhibit 11 works from 13 designers. The prototypes are new product ideas, which are not in production yet, so the main idea of the exhibition is to find possible producers and interested partners to develop the works together with the designers.

Our opening event is at 11am on Wednesday. At the opening Saara & Elina from Imu design present briefly the concept of Protoshop, and the designers are at the stand to tell more about their works. Our stand is at the new hall: 7s21.

We're looking forward to get your comments about the works. 

The photo above:
THE DECIDER - Sanna Mander & Veera Kulju
A candle holder, which will decide for you. In the end your answer is lit: "yes" or "no"?

CORD - Kasper Nyman
Cord is a pendant light, which collects the extra cord inside the transparent top.

L'EDGE - Panu Kontkanen
A concrete curbstone with built-in led lights.

TICK - Jakob Schenk
Tick is a system - a leg made of a bent steel wire - which turns any board into a table without screws or tools.

PANELLED - Antti Ek & Riina Ek
A light that can be integrated to most common interior wood panel types.

LINA - Jakob Schenk
A multifunctional sofa system, which allows the cushion elements to be rotated.

CANDLE TRAY - Julie Scheu
A tray which has a built in candle that allows you to take the ambience of candlelight where ever your drinks go.

ANIM SERIES - Simo Serpola
With the nod of its head, the lamp lights up or down either sitting down or standing up straight.

TOMC - Minna Korhonen & Kristina Sandell
A coat rack, which also divides space, absorbs noise and works as a mirror.

LUUKKU - Satoshi Ohtaki
A chair and a stool, which bring out the elastic nature of ash.

KALA - Maija Puoskari
A carpet made of ecological felt and it can be hung on the wall from a hook.

More information of the products from Protoshop's website.


Self promotion

We designed this reflector together with Saara for a Finnish company called Saintex. Reflectors are life saving little devices especially in Finland where the winter months are very dark. We wanted to create something that men, women and children could equally make their own. We also wanted to make something that wouldn't scream "I'm a reflector" but that would be naturally jewellery-like. Since feathers have been used as jewellery since the beginning of time we wanted to do our own take on them. 

There are a few versions; a big feather, a small feather, one that combines the two and one that can be attached to your boot with a clip. They will be available soon in stores and here (but not yet, I see).

photos: Aino Huhtaniemi


The Egg

I have recently made a commitment to start biking again. This has resulted in 3 things:

1. I now arrive at meetings wet from either rain or sweat. At the same time my work partner Marika has developed a habit of wearing Nanso night dresses as day dresses so we make an interesting combo.

2. I have allowed myself to eat fries at lunch.

3. We have had to resolve the problem of transporting two kids with one bike.

I wasn't always an evil car driver. I used to bike daily but then the child transportation problem came up. I did find the perfect solution, a dutch Bakfiets cargo bike, but it took me several years to realise that I wouldn't be making that kind of money in the foreseeable future. So we decided to lower our expectations and look at trailers which I think are mostly quite ugly.

It was my husband that spotted this Lokari trailer (Finnish design!) somewhere and it was the first of its kind that I felt I could live with. We hunted for it for a few days and found a used one for one tenth the price of a Bakfiets. So I'm very happy. We have nicknamed it "The Egg".

Apparently it's very comfortable as one passenger has fallen asleep. On warm days the top slides off.

The following are views from the Egg from the perspective of the passengers.