Helsinki, Finland

The Design that Came from the Cold

The work uses porcelain fragments from Arabia that the author Anne Siirtola collected from the fields of Vanhankaupunginlahti where the factory's leftovers were placed.
The Arabia Factory
Old factory in Arabia, in the heart of a design district par excellence.
Arabia-Helsinki building and chimney
Perpetual Lights
Art deco statues on the facade of the Helsinki railway station.
Helsinki resident with a gothic look.
Simple but bold lines from the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, created by the American Steven Holl.
The Metal Nest
Nest of Metal - Designed by Markku Hakuri, this work also serves as a balcony for users of the communal sauna in the building where it is installed.
Hellenic Helsinki
Hellenic-inspired work featured since 1943 on the emblematic wall of the Arabia factory.
Panel that announces a Design exhibition during the Helsinki Capital of the World of Design.
Sirocco II
Sirocco, by Tuuli and Kivi Sotamaa, at the height on the snow, part of the artistic route The Treasures of Arabia.
Rikhla, a temporary work of art featured on a platform overlooking the sea around the Arabian district.
Sirocco, by Tuuli and Kivi Sotamaa, at the height on the snow, part of the artistic route The Treasures of Arabia.
The Arjen Palasia
The Arjen Palasia by Anne Siirtola, a panel made with ancient mosaics from the Arabia factory.
Valtteri Business
Buyers and sellers are looking for good deals at the Ladra de Valtteri fair, where classic design products are traded.
Walls Speaking Walls
Full name “Walls Speaking Walls, Summer Winters” is a wall with inscriptions by cyclists of different ages.
With much of the territory above the Arctic Circle, Finns respond to the climate with efficient solutions and an obsession with art, aesthetics and modernism inspired by neighboring Scandinavia.

Anyone who arrives in the Finnish capital during these winter, icy and snowy days quickly develops the impression that there is nothing else to do, that it is the only thing the city has to show.

In 2009, the International Council of Industrial Design Societies (ICSID) chose it as the 3rd World Design Capital, after Turin (2008) and Seoul (2010) and among 46 cities in 27 countries.

Helsinki beat Eindhoven in the finals and, despite the title guaranteed, throughout the year of the event, it kept its competitiveness intact with the committed cooperation of the 4 partner cities: Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti.

At the Helsinki-Vantaa airport tour desk, we had already noticed the unavoidable predominance of leaflets and brochures on exhibitions, itineraries and events related to design.

In the delegation in the center of the capital, the paradigm is repeated reinforced with the indications that the service employees are keen to provide and develop.

Design Exhibition Panel, Helsinki

Panel that announces a Design exhibition during the Helsinki Capital of the World of Design.

Emma – Espoo: Helsinki's First Unusual Contact with Design and Art

If you can't beat them, join them. The next morning we woke up with the chickens to peek at Emma – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

An employee of the municipality waits for us at the exit of the bus and starts to look surprised “Oh it's you. I have to confess that I didn't expect them to be.

They are dressed like us. As a rule, journalists from southern Europe appear to us very poorly prepared for these temperatures, wearing jeans and shivering. “We laughed at the honesty of observation and exchanged a few more humorous remarks.

Meanwhile, Hanna Saari remembers her mission demand and cuts to an exhaustive briefing on Finnish design and her latest projects. It unwinds endless phrases full of terms such as sustainability, integration, nature, innovation, development and interaction, and does it with color and sauté, the result of careful previous study and repetition.

We don't tell her, but between us, we have to be as honest as she is. All that talk sounds like nothing to us. Confirming the suspicions, as soon as the third absolutely lay question we asked him, he already feels uncomfortable. The design is supposed to ensure the opposite: “You know, I recently took over.

I'm still getting familiar with these logics and terminology. I'm going to call a more informed colleague and I'll get back to you soon,” he tells us without losing his composure, and then puts his finger on the touchscreen of the third iPhone with which he betrayed his homeland.

For us, it wasn't even worth it. By themselves, Design theories would never get us anywhere.

In Search of the Heat of Finnish Design

We wanted to see real solutions and revolutionary parts. Beyond so much leaflet and spiel, Helsinki and its satellites are full of them.

We find the first at the WeeGee Exhibition Center – the building recovered from an old and gigantic graphic – organized under the concept of DesignEspoo!, around the urban model of that city and with a space dedicated to the active participation of residents who are invited to leave innovative suggestions on a panel already full of colorful post-its.

There are images of the house-OVNI Futuro, a house designed by Matti Suuronen with the aim of mass production, with unshakable faith in a technological, pleasant and nomadic future, also in the conquest of Space. Until, in the mid-70s, the Oil Crisis made fuel prices soar and, with them, plastic.

Futuro was withdrawn from the market, but today, around 50 copies survive all over the world. 001 belongs to Espoo.

The blue sky settles in and the cold intensifies with the damp, swift breeze that the Gulf of Finland throws over the city. We make ourselves strong. We explore the style epicenter of the capital, Punavuori.

The Design District of Punavuori

It is currently labeled as its Design District, even if only because it concentrates more than 150 bars, cafes, restaurants and studios with original decorations, environments and objects in a grid of streets that extends from the central avenue of Mannerheimintie to the antique shops from the port, confronted by the fortress of Suomenlinna and the Hietalahti Flea Market.

Valtteri Flea Market Helsinki

Buyers and sellers are looking for good deals at the Ladra de Valtteri fair, where classic design products are traded.

In the 70's, Finnish designers took Danish and Swedish design as examples and developed their own brands and a national identity with an exponent in the historical figure of Alvar Aalto, award-winning author of dozens of revolutionary buildings in Finland and the world and several award-winning pieces.

The products we find all over the place, from eccentric high chairs to minimal kettles, have prices to match this distinction, which are always marked in Euros.

If you're not a Scandinavian, a multimillionaire Russian or a Finn, you can hardly find a bargain.

Fortunately, we have become a kind of modern nomads. We value discovery more than comfort and home solutions, and we see this Helsinki atmosphere as one of many realities in the world, not as a commercial opportunity.

Street Art, Arabia, Helsinki

The work uses porcelain fragments from Arabia that the author Anne Siirtola collected from the fields of Vanhankaupunginlahti where the factory's leftovers were placed.

Helsinki's Obsessive But Not Far From Immaculate Design

We know, however, the limits of reasonableness. The Sokos Vaakuna hotel's buffet breakfast is diverse, nutritious, robust and, of course, served in Finnish-designed decor, furniture, crockery and utensils. But it doesn't hide the pains that formed during the night and bother us.

We are used to this type of problem in less developed countries and when a room is cheap. This is not the case and we have another 4 nights to go.

Before going out into the street, we choose our target among the employees lined up behind the counter and we talk in the best possible mood: “Sorry, but there's something here that we're not understanding.

We spend all day looking at design in this city and your hotel forces us to sleep on a mattress that sinks and ruins our backs? Do us a favor and change the bed or something.” The blond receptionist smiles and maintains his dignity. It gives us the idea that you've heard the complaint hundreds of times.

The answer leaves us disarmed: “Unfortunately all our mattresses are like this. It's a new model, American. They cost quite a lot but I admit that many of the customers don't appreciate them. I don't think I can help you.”

Helsinki had slightly smudged the paint. Still, we leave persistence for later.

Art deco statues, railway station, Helsinki

Art deco statues on the facade of the Helsinki railway station.

Right next to the hotel, granite giants illuminate and protect the central train station designed by Eliel Saarinen.

They are said to have inspired Gotham City visuals in the first film in the Batman saga. Nearby, we find the unorthodox forms of the Kiasma museum, which houses a new gallery of modern art.

Kiasma Museum, Helsinki

Simple but bold lines from the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, created by the American Steven Holl.

Next is the eloquent Concert Hall and, at the opposite end of the icy central lake, we glimpse another of Aalto's creations, the capital's Olympic Stadium.

Arabia: the New Mecca of Finnish Design and Street Art

In 1965, Soviet territory was inaccessible to American filmmakers. While we admire the pragmatism of the rule and square of Senate Square, we realize why it served to make Saint Petersburg in David Lean's classic “Doctor Zhivago”.

There is much more divine architecture to explore around, but that afternoon we moved to the outskirts in search of a local Arabia.

As soon as we got off the bus, we saw in the background the emblematic chimney of the building of the homonymous porcelain, earthenware and clay factory, inaugurated in 1873 and which, like Vista Alegre, has earned a special place in the Suomi heart.

These days, the rejuvenated building and some complementary buildings have hosted a panoply of small design shops, a library and the Aalto University School of Art and Design.

The Arabia district and the surrounding area are also home to restaurants, cafes and some of the best equipped homes in all of Finland.

The Arjen Palasia, Arabia, Helsinki

The Arjen Palasia by Anne Siirtola, a panel made with ancient mosaics from the Arabia factory.

At the same time, an open-air museum is revealed, offering us a kind of proof of artistic orientation.

Armed with a map and over the course of two hours, we tried to detect the urban landscape and examine 24 works created and installed by famous characters from the various branches of art.

Rikhla, Arabia, Helsinki

Rikhla, a temporary work of art featured on a platform overlooking the sea around the Arabian district.

By way of confirmation and remembrance, we photographed each of the findings, of the “Seaside Magic Stones” to the little birds “viikki” camouflaged against a wall of the same shade, passing through the Tapio Wirkkala park designed by the American Robert Wilson.

Sirocco, Arabia, Helsinki

Sirocco, by Tuuli and Kivi Sotamaa, at the height on the snow, part of the artistic route The Treasures of Arabia.

The night sets, the cold tightens again and snow falls in abundance. We returned from Arabia chilled and recovered our temperature and energy in a cafe lounge in the center with impeccable style.

It is at these times that prodigious Finnish design makes the most sense.

Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
Kemi, Finland

It is No "Love Boat". Icebreaker since 1961

Built to maintain waterways through the most extreme arctic winter, the icebreaker Sampo” fulfilled its mission between Finland and Sweden for 30 years. In 1988, he reformed and dedicated himself to shorter trips that allow passengers to float in a newly opened channel in the Gulf of Bothnia, in clothes that, more than special, seem spacey.
Hailuoto Island, Finland

Fishing for Truly Fresh Fish

Sheltered from unwanted social pressures, the islanders of Hailuoto they know how to sustain themselves. Under the icy sea of ​​Bothnia they capture precious ingredients for the restaurants of Oulu, in mainland Finland.
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Helsinki, Finland

The Pagan Passover of Seurasaari

In Helsinki, Holy Saturday is also celebrated in a Gentile way. Hundreds of families gather on an offshore island, around lit fires to chase away evil spirits, witches and trolls
Saariselka, Finland

The Delightful Arctic Heat

It is said that the Finns created SMS so they don't have to talk. The imagination of cold Nordics is lost in the mist of their beloved saunas, real physical and social therapy sessions.
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Porvoo, Finland

A Medieval and Winter Finland

One of the oldest settlements of the Suomi nation, in the early XNUMXth century, Porvoo was a busy riverside post and its third city. Over time, Porvoo lost commercial importance. In return, it has become one of Finland's revered historic strongholds.  
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

Located high in the northeast of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is one of Finland's oldest cities and its northern capital. A mere 220km from the Arctic Circle, even in the coldest months it offers a prodigious outdoor life.
Helsinki, Finland

The Suomi Daughter of the Baltic

Several cities grew, emancipated and prospered on the shores of this northern inland sea. Helsinki there stood out as the monumental capital of the young Finnish nation.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
A Lost and Found City
Architecture & Design
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag
Ceremonies and Festivities
Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

26/1 is a controversial date in Australia. While British settlers celebrate it with barbecues and lots of beer, Aborigines celebrate the fact that they haven't been completely wiped out.
Vittoriosa, Birgu, Malta, Waterfront, Marina
Birgu, Malta

To the Conquest of the Victorious City

Vittoriosa is the oldest of the Three Cities of Malta, headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller and, from 1530 to 1571, its capital. The resistance he offered to the Ottomans in the Great Siege of Malta kept the island Christian. Even if, later, Valletta took over the administrative and political role, the old Birgu shines with historic glory.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Sculptural Garden, Edward James, Xilitla, Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Cobra dos Pecados
Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Edward James' Mexican Delirium

In the rainforest of Xilitla, the restless mind of poet Edward James has twinned an eccentric home garden. Today, Xilitla is lauded as an Eden of the Surreal.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
Horseshoe Bend
Navajo nation, USA

The Navajo Nation Lands

From Kayenta to Page, passing through Marble Canyon, we explore the southern Colorado Plateau. Dramatic and desert, the scenery of this indigenous domain, cut out in Arizona, reveals itself to be splendid.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Missions, San Ignacio Mini, Argentina
San Ignacio Mini, Argentina

The Impossible Jesuit Missions of San Ignacio Mini

In the century. In the XNUMXth century, the Jesuits expanded a religious domain in the heart of South America by converting the Guarani Indians into Jesuit missions. But the Iberian Crowns ruined the tropical utopia of the Society of Jesus.
Women at Mass. Bora Bora, Society Islands, Polynesia, French
Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Huahine, French Polynesia

An Intriguing Trio of Societies

In the idyllic heart of the vast Pacific Ocean, the Society Archipelago, part of French Polynesia, beautifies the planet as an almost perfect creation of Nature. We explored it for a long time from Tahiti. The last few days we dedicate them to Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
El Tatio Geisers, Atacama, Chile, Between ice and heat
El Tatio, Chile

El Tatio Geysers – Between the Ice and the Heat of the Atacama

Surrounded by supreme volcanoes, the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Atacama Desert it appears as a Dantesque mirage of sulfur and steam at an icy 4200 m altitude. Its geysers and fumaroles attract hordes of travelers.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Kukenam reward
Natural Parks
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

At the top of Mount Roraima, there are extraterrestrial scenarios that have resisted millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never got to step on it.
Cobá, trip to the Mayan Ruins, Pac Chen, Mayans of now
UNESCO World Heritage
Cobá to Pac Chen, Mexico

From the Ruins to the Mayan Homes

On the Yucatan Peninsula, the history of the second largest indigenous Mexican people is intertwined with their daily lives and merges with modernity. In Cobá, we went from the top of one of its ancient pyramids to the heart of a village of our times.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Vietnamese queue

Nha Trang-Doc Let, Vietnam

The Salt of the Vietnamese Land

In search of attractive coastlines in old Indochina, we become disillusioned with the roughness of Nha Trang's bathing area. And it is in the feminine and exotic work of the Hon Khoi salt flats that we find a more pleasant Vietnam.

Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
On Rails
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
Buffaloes, Marajo Island, Brazil, Soure police buffaloes
Marajó Island, Brazil

The Buffalo Island

A vessel that transported buffaloes from the India it will have sunk at the mouth of the Amazon River. Today, the island of Marajó that hosted them has one of the largest herds in the world and Brazil is no longer without these bovine animals.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.