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.
Design World
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.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
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.
The Little-Big Senglea II
Architecture & Design
Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
Jumping forward, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Pentecost Naghol: Bungee Jumping for Real Men

In 1995, the people of Pentecostes threatened to sue extreme sports companies for stealing the Naghol ritual. In terms of audacity, the elastic imitation falls far short of the original.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
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.
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.
Cuada village, Flores Island, Azores, rainbow quarter
Aldeia da Cuada, Flores Island, Azores

The Azorean Eden Betrayed by the Other Side of the Sea

Cuada was founded, it is estimated that in 1676, next to the west threshold of Flores. In the XNUMXth century, its residents joined the great Azorean stampede to the Americas. They left behind a village as stunning as the island and the Azores.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Bathers in the middle of the End of the World-Cenote de Cuzamá, Mérida, Mexico
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Kennedy Space Center, Florida, United States
Kennedy Space Center, Florida, United States

The American Space Program Launch Pad

Traveling through Florida, we deviated from the programmed orbit. We point to the Atlantic coast of Merrit Island and Cape Canaveral. There we explored the Kennedy Space Center and followed one of the launches that Space X and the United States are now aiming for in Space.
Sheep and hikers in Mykines, Faroe Islands
Mykines, Faroe Islands

In the Faeroes FarWest

Mykines establishes the western threshold of the Faroe archipelago. It housed 179 people but the harshness of the retreat got the better of it. Today, only nine souls survive there. When we visit it, we find the island given over to its thousand sheep and the restless colonies of puffins.
Correspondence verification
Winter White
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.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Traveler above Jökursarlón icy lagoon, Iceland
Jökursarlón Lagoon, Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland

The Faltering of Europe's King Glacier

Only in Greenland and Antarctica are glaciers comparable to Vatnajökull, the supreme glacier of the old continent. And yet, even this colossus that gives more meaning to the term ice land is surrendering to the relentless siege of global warming.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Terraces of Sistelo, Serra do Soajo, Arcos de Valdevez, Minho, Portugal
Natural Parks
Sistelo, Peneda-Gerês, Portugal

From the “Little Portuguese Tibet” to the Corn Fortresses

We leave the cliffs of Srª da Peneda, heading for Arcos de ValdeVez and the villages that an erroneous imaginary dubbed Little Portuguese Tibet. From these terraced villages, we pass by others famous for guarding, as golden and sacred treasures, the ears they harvest. Whimsical, the route reveals the resplendent nature and green fertility of these lands in Peneda-Gerês.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
UNESCO World Heritage
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica, Caribbean, Punta Cahuita aerial view
Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
Pilgrims at the top, Mount Sinai, Egypt
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Strength in the Legs, Faith in God

Moses received the Ten Commandments on the summit of Mount Sinai and revealed them to the people of Israel. Today, hundreds of pilgrims climb, every night, the 4000 steps of that painful but mystical ascent.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Fluvial coming and going
Iriomote, Japan

The Small Tropical Japanese Amazon of Iriomote

Impenetrable rainforests and mangroves fill Iriomote under a pressure cooker climate. Here, foreign visitors are as rare as the yamaneko, an elusive endemic lynx.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.