Finnish Design exhibition

More Finnish stuff, dear readers! Friends of Finland recently sent out a notice to members about a very interesting travelling exhibition of Finnish design coming to Vancouver. (Links and photos are my additions.)

Finnish architecture and furniture design appropriately collide in this two-in-one exhibition at Vancouver’s Pendulum Gallery from April 10-28, 2006. Arctic exoticism and Finnish icons – Alvar Aalto and the cheerful 1960s fabrics of Marimekko among them – combine with fresh youthful talent to showcase a dynamic evolution of Finnish design.

Sonera Offices in Helsinki by SARC Architects

The first of the two exhibits, Helsinki Contemporary Urban Architecture, photographed by Jussi Tiainen, is an internationally touring photo exhibit of over 50 recent architectural projects throughout the Finnish capital. Buildings range from a small sleek sauna to international landmarks such as Heikkinen & Komonen’s new Vuotalo Cultural Centre.

Architectural enthusiasts and urban design buffs alike will be impressed by Tiainen’s ability to capture the lightness, tactility and reflectivity of each structure, while at the same time demonstrating each building’s ultimate place in the cityscape. Most recently the Washington Post dubbed Tiainen “the chronicler par excellence” of one of Europe’s best-designed cities. This exhibit is a compelling testament to the deep love for architecture and city planning in design-savvy Helsinki.

Cool Dozen is an energetic and innovative sample of the best of Finnish chair design and textile prints highlighting over 50 years of design. Among the 12 chairs is Alvar Aalto’s iconic Paimio 41 chair (1932) by Artek and current prototypes by Finland’s coolest contemporary designers including Hannu Kähönen and IMU Design Group. Marimekko textiles, past and present, are paired with each chair design. The Cool Dozen exhibit suggests a threaded evolution of Finnish furniture design – the history, icons and myths of this design-conscious nation give way to the new fresh ideas of young rising stars.

Alvar Aalto’s Paimio 41 chair (1932)

“Finland is a country that shares with us similar hues in its green forests, blue water and snow-covered terrain. Vancouverites will find inspiration in the exhibits’ vibrant urbanity, materiality and design,” states Laura Arpiainen, architect at Hughes Condon Marler Architects, who grew up in Finland and is a graduate of Helsinki University of Technology.

Together these two exhibits form an irresistible showcase of a city and a nation’s long love affair with architecture and design.

Vancouver’s Pendulum Gallery is in the HSBC Building, 885 Georgia St. Guided tours are available Wednesdays at noon; Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m.

Related links:
this exhibition was in Toronto and Ottawa, now coming to Vancouver before moving on to Beijing

Vancouver Sun announcement which included an exhibit photo (in the paper only) of Sonera Offices in Helsinki by SARC Architects

Aalto’s stacking stools and bent laminated birch chair with textile webbing

Aalto’s many chairs

Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä which we visited in 2000. It has a wide-ranging permanent exhibition of Aalto’s work on show, including the methods he developed in laminating the bentwood for his chairs.

my entry on Sacral Spaces, an earlier Finnish architecture exhibition here in Vancouver, also organized by Hughes Condon Marler Architects

my entry on Marimekko

April 6, 2006 in Art Exhibitions, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric by Marja-Leena