Salo Fleamarketing

When I was a child my parents took me to see a lot of vineyards in France. Although this does not sound like the worst of fortunes, I developed some kind of trauma towards all those vineyard parking lots. It's possible that my children will develop a similar relationship to fleamarkets.

It can be difficult to make a really great find in Helsinki fleamarkets. For the best in second hand treasures, one should head for the small towns. Salo is a small town roughly half way between Helsinki and Turku. On a street called Raitalankatu in an industrial area you'll find three big fleamarkets in a neat row. The first is called Salon seudun suurkirppis (aptly translates as The Great Fleamarket of Salo). It's so big that you can go in thinking you need size 34 rubber boots and a bread knife and probably come out with both.

I have a soft spot for anti-design. When something is really wrong it magically becomes more than right. See exhibit "A" above: the cafe of Salon suurkirppis. In the summer this is a kind of terrace. The inside part also serves pulla and ice cream in winter.

Next to Suurkirppis is Kirppis Basaari which sells furniture in addition to smaller things. These lappish boots were quite nice (size 43, they might still be there). Last time we went to Salo we happened to be there with a van so we didn't have transportation worries to get in the way of our shopping spree. My husband bought two record players (he had asked our six year old son how many record players a person should own and he had said 24 so now we have 8). 

In addition to a cupboard, a training bike and some children's spring gear we found two Pippi Longstocking story cassettes (our car is from the 90ies) and this plastic head for 1 euro! (the fencing helmet is model's own). My husband also fell in love with an old piano but even the salesperson thought we would never be able to carry it anywhere by ourselves. But after three days of long distance yearning, he called Kirppis Basaari today and arranged to have it transported. He is also slightly opposed to this post saying that you "shouldn't give away your best mushrooming places".


On the ice

Helsinki is not at its best in March. The city is filled with grey piles of what used to be snow but now is 50% ice and 50% gravel. BUT when you leave the streets and head to the sea, it is still quite beautiful.

Helsinki is surrounded on three sides by the sea which of course in winter turns into ice. This changes the city because suddenly you are able to walk routes which don't exist in the summer and you see everything from a different perspective.

Yesterday we went for a walk on the ice with some friends and had coffee at Cafe Regatta. It's a small place - a one room cabin - with a very maximalist attitude. Both inside and out the design philosophy has clearly been more-is-more and it results in a strangely inviting atmosphere. It's open practically always, you can grill your own sausage and you can watch the winter swimmers from the terrace. What more could one want from a cafe experience.

Oh yes, and they have a thing called napakelkka. The picture tells it all. Remember to bring cash when you visit Regatta, they don't take cards.



Hello! We are Elina, Krista and Saara and in 2002 we came up with the idea of Imu design, a platform for young finnish designers to showcase their work. Over the past years Imu has grown from a hobby to part of our work. We now produce an annual exhibition of new designs called Protoshop for the Habitare design fair together with the Finnish Fair Corporation. The photos below were taken around Helsinki in 2002 for the first Imu exhibition.

When Helsinki was chosen to be World Design Capital in 2012 we knew we had to contribute with something special but we didn’t want to fill in any grant applications or do anything complicated. We wanted something that we could easily do ourselves but that could efficiently spread the word about design, Helsinki and the year 2012. So we decided to start this blog. The idea is to write about current phenomena in the design field, about designers and their ideas, about places travellers should visit when coming to Helsinki and maybe a bit of design gossip.We are three different people with three different outlooks on life so we will probably end up writing about different topics. There also might be an occasional post in finnish if we feel linguistically challenged.

PS. We just realised that Imu will be 10 years old in 2012 so that’s one more reason to do something new with ourselves!