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.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Architecture & Design
Castles and Fortresses

A Defending World: Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
drinks entre reis, cavalhadas de pirenopolis, crusades, brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

Brazilian Crusades

Christian armies expelled Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula in the XNUMXth century. XV but, in Pirenópolis, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the South American subjects of Carlos Magno continue to triumph.
Kronstadt Russia Autumn, owner of the Bouquet
Kronstadt, Russia

The Autumn of the Russian Island-City of All Crossroads

Founded by Peter the Great, it became the port and naval base protecting Saint Petersburg and northern Greater Russia. In March 1921, it rebelled against the Bolsheviks it had supported during the October Revolution. In this October we're going through, Kronstadt is once again covered by the same exuberant yellow of uncertainty.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Garranos gallop across the plateau above Castro Laboreiro, PN Peneda-Gerês, Portugal
Castro Laboreiro, Portugal  

From Castro de Laboreiro to the Rim of the Peneda – Gerês Range

We arrived at (i) the eminence of Galicia, at an altitude of 1000m and even more. Castro Laboreiro and the surrounding villages stand out against the granite monumentality of the mountains and the Planalto da Peneda and Laboreiro. As do its resilient people who, sometimes handed over to Brandas and sometimes to Inverneiras, still call these stunning places home.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
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.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

royal of Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Chapel of Guadalupe
Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

The Depreciation of Silver that Led to that of the Pueblo (Part II)

With the turn of the XNUMXth century, the value of the precious metal hit bottom. From a prodigious town, Real de Catorce became a ghost. Still discovering, we explore the ruins of the mines at their origin and the charm of the Pueblo resurrected.
Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
Papeete, French Polynesia

The Third Sex of Tahiti

Heirs of Polynesian ancestral culture, the Mahu they preserve an unusual role in society. Lost somewhere between the two genders, these men-women continue to fight for the meaning of their lives.
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.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
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.
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.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
Natural Parks
Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
Conflicted Way
UNESCO World Heritage
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Gizo, Solomon Islands

A Saeraghi Young Singers Gala

In Gizo, the damage caused by the tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands is still very visible. On the coast of Saeraghi, children's bathing happiness contrasts with their heritage of desolation.
Djerba Island of Tunisia, Amazigh and its camels
Djerba, Tunisia

The Tunisian Island of Conviviality

The largest island in North Africa has long welcomed people who could not resist it. Over time, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs called it home. Today, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities continue an unusual sharing of Djerba with its native Berbers.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, streymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
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.