Production: Design Year Pavilion

Like a miniature city

The defining meeting place for the World Design Capital Helsinki year was the Pavilion. It remained open for 105 days in the summer of 2012. Almost the same amount of groups was invited to offer lively events for the summer crowd in the city. These so-called Pavilion activists formed the basis of the project: a well-designed and livable city is run by a wide collection of small active groups. Their interests vary from handicrafts, food culture, movies, and urban gardening to architecture,biking, dancing, environmental projects to history.

Pavilion events included co-planning the new public library, free lunchtime yoga, redesigning waste spaces, a live gay dating show, a discussion on poverty, short films and movies, DIY design workshops, the Minipolis urban environmental festival, plenty of discussions, music, dancing – and tasty seasonal food. The Pavilion was visited by some 80 000 city-goers in four months.

The wooden structure (designed by student Pyry-Pekka Kantonen and Aalto University’s architectural team) was elevated on an empty parking lot between the Design Museum and the Museum for Finnish Architecture – further commenting the need and wish to use public space in cities. A good city is built from the bottom up, and cities should learn to encourage its activist groups into sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

I acted as program coordinator for the Pavilion project together with our team at Demos Helsinki.

Helsinki World Design Capital 2012

Photo: Janne Salovaara