Month: September 2011

Asian art markets

Does copycatting rule the Asian markets, where much of the world’s small technological innovation is located? Mobile-phone industries, small pieces in massive volume are centrally part of the future of the east.  What I find problematic in America is that the ‘westerner’ thinks we have invented it all. Today’s Asia is very creative, the arts are sensationally inventive, international, and not hostile at all in terms of who gets to participate. But, is there still a question of freedom of speech (what one is allowed to say and where) stirring in the air? Perhaps societal problems can build a frame for creation, meaning that when one comes from the ‘margins’ the experiences enhance new creativity? Artists and designers have to make it work and gain new presence in the world? All good signs. This reminds me of Finland too. A small nation started striving to get visibility with its original designs approximately hundred years ago. Design and fashion have become visible in almost every corner of the bigger cities in Asia, then the performing arts are moving forward. The traditions are remarkably present …

Gigantic cake for a cause/light from recycled bottles

What would be more uplifting in the season of the fall with less light approaching us, than to surprise your friends with a gigantic cake to vibrate senses. It is tasting good and creates a visual sculpture with a low cost budget. There is absolutely no reason why not. And it is a great excuse to do some communal action. Take this example from Helsinki, a parade of huge cake shared with hundreds of people walking in during one night. The cake definitely creates the performance in itself, and there will be lots to discuss around it. It is a terrific site for some new action plans. How about a theme of recycling, or new energy-saving strategies to create light with the Solar Bottles? The solar bottles is one of the smartest innovation to employ already existing material, namely used soda bottles, and hang them down from the hole in the ceiling/roof. This, of course, fits purposefully in the warmer climates, but one could also think of using them in the summerhouse, or while camping. Most …

Would I buy a ‘poisonous’ handbag…

Marketing strategies are sometimes tricky, and techniques of seduction are part of the contemporary branding of products. Putting products out on displays, is then of course part of the entire strategy. We are sensuous beings. Consuming today means taking seriously the product differentiations. We should be paying attention to, how the different products feel, taste, smell, etc… In other words, a questions is, how we as humans experience and imagine objects and things. What is the tricky point is that we are after all quite childlike beings when we make our choices to buy something. Hopefully our product differentiation is more in line with the future aspect; what would be good for us in the long run and what would be a more sustainable aspect in our buying of new things. This relates to, what is good for the environment and does not poison our bodies. It is important to emphasize couple of questions: how much of the seduction in the advertisements, and in the product differentiation is based on the use of different color-combinations? How …

Follow me to the forest

It is time for Helsinki Design Week (HDW). We are impressed that the locations include the Old Customs Warehouse. There will also be a fashion show in the brand new Helsinki Music Centre (designed by LPR-architects Marko Kivistö, Ola Laiho and Mikko Pulkkinen). Finnish people love their music, also for the reason that Finnish music has gained world class reputation with our composer Jean Sibelius. After Sibelius, of course, several other 20th and 21st century composers have turned into the unique sounds, which have defined Finnish art music. Perhaps one definition for the musical trends could be a word ‘moody’. It is quite easy to pin it down when one listens all the brass-instruments in Sibelius. The new Music Centre stands in a row of other remarkable buildings along Mannerheimintie-road, which honor Finland’s musical tradition and the local arts. Next to the new construction is Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall with its beautiful white marble walls. The modern classic stands out as a continuum of (evolving) organic shapes within the city landscape. Then, a little away from the center is the Opera House, which opened in 1993. The Bauhaus-inspired building was designed …

FALL vitamin time

(Kuplat in different colors by Yki Nummi, the lights displayed in Mbar, Helsinki) …It is almost fall, although the concept has changed over time. So when does the actual fall begin, when is the late summer? What is sure is that we tend to push the starting of the fall further. Nevertheless, the fall is time for energizing oneself with colors. Vitamin drinks give energy with color, and cocktails in different glass shapes are an important part of the bar designs. The ‘food’ is also becoming more of a matter of design. …With the colors, then, when it comes to the design-thinking, we need to reconsider the white as a basis for creating interiors. Design Modernism in itself is often taught as to be ‘black and white’. But, in fact, bright colors, would not stand out so much without the basic concept of white in the background surfaces and objects… Some timely and popular classics include remakings of the ‘vintage’ lighting designs by Yki Nummi (Kuplat, Lokki are popular). Then there is Arne Jacobsen’s Ant-chair, which looks great in white, as well as …

Sustainable coffee cups

(Artist/educator Outi Länsikunnas enjoys Alice’s Tea Cup) We are mistaken if we think that we can sustain our ecosystems with the current consumption of paper cups. It is not so false to argue that we are heading towards environmental disaster with all the paper cups and plates. Price in paper has been going up, yet as simple as it sounds, recycled paper did not replace much of the ‘regular’ paper, which is used out there in making the cups. Radical innovations (with real thinking) requires replacing some old ecosystems with new ones. Then, creative economy means that idealistic visions are turned into everyday solutions. The everydayness of innovation comes with solutions to paper cups, for example. Putting high tea back on the menu with grandmother’s vintage porcelain, is an example of creative economy. Do you grab a coffee-cup with you each morning from your corner Starbucks or other coffee company? If your answer is yes, you should reconsider your everyday values. It sounds we all take papercups too easily on-the-go. An evident change would require actions. A question is, why do not local coffee brands, such as …

Bryant Park Yoga

The summer is full of colors which add dimension to the parks in the city. Yoga in Bryant park has invited attendees to sit, relax and stretch in a green area. This moment is quiet, waiting, before the rush…In case one wishes to escape the city, there is a ferry option going to the Governors Island, which attracts with its old time charm, and yet, it is becoming a center of all kinds of contemporary doings. It is possible to find the almost abandoned buildings, interiors and construction areas there, and even an old sanctuary/church. Things seem to be in-between state, so creative energy flows. The place is great for looking at water and the city from a little distance. The island has some green spots, and it is a perfect fit to do some modern mummy-like meditation or yoga. There is also program for the ‘art hungry’. Contemporary Finnish photography found its space in Governors Island this summer (exhibition called Bodies, Borders, Crossings: Photography and Video Art From Finland, curated by Leena-Maija Rossi and …

The Unisphere of Flushing Meadows Park, New York

The Unisphere of Flushing Meadows Park built for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Signs of social activism around the world are coming forth through the social media. The old world representations for ‘peace’ and ‘mutual understanding’ are still visible in the landscape, and also preserved in the architecture, in monuments and even in parks. The Flushing Meadows Park in New York City’s Queens is an example of the park, which shares an illusion of the timeless representation for ‘mutual understanding’. The globe functions as a symbol for the world cultures, for the one-world, for the United Nations, and many more. In the Flushing Meadows, it stands as a symbol for the peoples’ park and shared time together.

Our memories and futures

This is the day when we remember New York, the city with wounds, the city with radiant sparkle that lost so much of its future potential in one day, or did it start re-doing it? Dissonances are present in our memories, yet, we also recognize what our new futures might hold. Future is in people, in environment, in their harmonious co-existence. We can leave positive traces behind us, traces of the sun, traces of our bodies, movements, designs planting new hope. Let me share some of the silence and noise of the future potential. Give it away to the architecture that is there. Walk the High Line and look around you, sip a fruity cocktail in the luxurious Standard…When you stroll, find your own stone, find a wooden structure. I was walking ‘up’ the new High Line extension paying attention to the new park designs. As I went along, I was gladly absorbing a different atmosphere, I left the modernist and massive Standard behind me (believe me, I think it is fantastic), and stepped into …