The Finnish are lovely people. They’re incredibly sweet, always friendly and humble. Maybe even a bit too humble, which might be the reason why it had not come to my attention just how incredible Finland is!

This past weekend, I was invited by Liisa and Sampo from Hel-Looks to give a short talk at the Hel-Looks Weekend, which happened for the first time as part of the annual Helsinki Design Week. Design is a big deal in Finland, one of the reasons why, along with 4 other Finnish cities, it was voted World Design Capitol of 2012.

Design Week has been around since 2005 and encompasses exhibitions, seminars, workshops, fashion shows and shopping experiences, as well as open days in private homes, public buildings, and design studios. The idea behind it is to encourage companies to be open to experimentation and further development, get involved with creative improvements of areas of the city and to help present Helsinki in a more international context.

It was my first time in this part of the world and I could not have enjoyed it any more. The weather was an incredible 25°C every day, along within gorgeous blue skies and lots of smiles all around. There were a million things to do and everywhere I went there were art installations, parties, public events and unusual stuff, like these people in cardboard boxes, just wandering the streets:

Less weird, but extremely cool were the bands playing at the Hel-Looks weekend, with my favorites being Jaakko Eino Kalevi and Bendagram (check out both!!). Also part of Hel-Looks weekend were talks by Finnish designers Minna Parikka and Jussi Salminen, Bloggers Sanni from Landelooks and Ari from Advanced Style, as well as some other exclusive speakers from Finland (find the full list here).

Jaakko Eino Kalevi rocking the house

The event was supported by the Finnish government and a fantastic success on any level. Many times during that weekend I felt that we needed something similar in Berlin, maybe I’ll put some thought into organizing something of that nature. Thanks for the inspiration, Hel-Looks!

Girls with style: Liisa Jokinen from Hel-Looks with her friend Hertta

During the day, there were lots of installations everywhere, especially all around the city centre. It was worth keeping an eye out for them. For example these grass-covered car wrecks along the Södra Esplanaden…

..or this wonderful street art by multicolored dreams across the street from department store monster Stockmann

But not just art, also music filled the streets. Especially, when one Sinebrychoffin Park (locals also call it Koffin Park) held its public annual Bassline Festival with mostly underground Hip Hop bands and DJs performing and thousands of people coming to hang out in the sun and relax.

I’m not entirely sure what exactly has sold me to Helsinki – the people, the weather, the city itself or just that particular weekend. All I know is that it’s found itself a cosy spot in this travelette’s heart.

More on food, shopping and stuff to do in Helsinki soon!

Happy travels,