British-based designers Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo of 'Fraud' (left) meet a Finnish designer Susan Elo and her colleague Pasi Savolainen (right).
British-based designers Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo of 'Fraud' (right) meet a Finnish designer Susan Elo and her colleague Pasi Savolainen (left).

Helsinki Design Week 7 - 17 September 

What did Britain do at Helsinki Design Week?

British Council ADF (Architecture, Design, Fashion) and British Council Finland participated in Helsinki Design Week again this year (7th – 17th September). The design environment in Finland has a strong tradition, and continues to be cutting edge. We look at four ways in which the links with the UK continue to be alive and well.

ADF’s Senior Programme Manager, João Guarantani, reports back from Helsinki.

HIAP Residency

The design duo Fraud were the 2017 British Council ‘designers in residence’ at Helsinki Design Week. Having spent some time undertaking research during the summer months, Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo returned to Finland to engage with HIAP. Their research project focused on the ambiguity between forests as a resource for carbon storage and carbon derivatives. They investigated the material realm of carbon derivatives that has been emerging and shifting under the European gaze. More specifically, they have looked at the collusion between the forest as a storage resource of carbon, the boreal forest’s disappearance and carbon markets. Through art-led inquiry, they aim to produce a series of ‘carbon suppers’ as a critical landscape to think with questions about land/ocean rights, resource sovereignty, environment and climate governance. The British Council works with HIAP and Helsinki Design Week – and more recently also Aalto University – and has done so since 2012, when Helsinki was World Design Capital, and we have had a cohort of 6 designers in residence so far, creating great links between the design sectors in both countries.

Design Diplomacy

The event at the British Ambassador’s Residence brought Fraud face to face with the Finnish designer, Susan Elo and her colleague Pasi Savolainen. Susan Elo is an interior designer and furniture designer. Susan is working on the design concept ‘Me and Forest’ on which she has a 5 year artistic grant. Pasi Savolainen is a designer and a lumberman. During the past 10 years, Pasi has studied the impact of the beauty of the environment on human wellbeing. His newly founded company, Mourle, develops the welfare effects of built. The event was fully booked, and the discussion wide ranging. After a welcome from the British Ambassador, the designers Audrey, Francisco, Susan and Pesto discussed their ongoing projects. British Council provided concluding remarks and stressed the ongoing collaboration with HIAP and the importance of our continued engagement through the annual residency hosted by HIAP.

Design Commons – World Design Weeks Summit

Design Commons was the first part of a 2-day event in the context of the World Design Weeks Summit, hosted by Helsinki Design Week, one of the network’s founding members. Set up by Design Indaba of Cape Town, the event had a large UK presence, with participation from the architects Paloma Strelitz from Assemble, Sir David Adjaye from Adjaye Associates and Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves from Studio Swine.

Creative Collaborations

The second event as part of the World Design Weeks Summit was an all-day workshop, which took place with about 30 representatives from ‘design weeks’ from around the world. The purpose was to generate content ideas to be shared across the member weeks. A number of ‘design weeks’ from Nordic countries were present. These included Lapland, Iceland and Norway. 

FRAUD selected for Helsinki Design Residency 2017

This year’s designer-in-residence will be FRAUD (Audrey Samson & Francisco Gallardo), a duo of media and spatial practitioners. Within the umbrella of critical practices, they develop forms of art-led inquiry into the multiple scales of power and governance that flow through physical and cultural spaces. FRAUD has received numerous awards including the Wellcome Trust People Award, the architectural award for the Madrid Civil Registry building in collaboration with OSS, and funding from the UK's Economic and Social Science Rearch Council, the Canada Art Council, and the Danish Art Council (DK).

The theme of the residency programme is New: Material, through which FRAUD wish to investigate the emerging material realm of carbon derivatives. FRAUD will explore the collusion between the forest as a storage resource of carbon, the boreal forest’s disappearance and emission trading systems (ETS). Through art-led inquiry, we aim to produce a critical landscape engaging the audience through food-led events.

More about the Helsinki Design Residency

Further details on the Helsinki Design Residency 2017 and on how to apply next year can be found in the external links section below. 

In 2016, the residency was completed by Luca Picardi. Read about his experiences on the British Council Design website

British Ambassador to Finland Sarah Price
British Ambassador to Finland Sarah Price giving a speech at the the British Ambassador’s Residence, which hosted a discussion on the theme of 'Design Diplomacy'.
Let them eat cake! (2015-17) by FRAUD. An edible version of a Facebook profile.
Let them eat cake! (2015-17) by FRAUD. An edible version of a Facebook profile.
Goodnight Sweetheart by FRAUD. Installation at Eastern Bloc, Montréal, Canada. Photo: (C) Alexis Bellavance
Goodnight Sweetheart by FRAUD. Installation at Eastern Bloc, Montréal, Canada. Photo: (C) Alexis Bellavance
A photo of Francisco Gallardo and Audrey Samson who make up the artist duo FRAUD
Francisco Gallardo and Audrey Samson make up the artist duo FRAUD. Image (C) FRAUD.
The studio of artistic duo FRAUD at Somerset House, London.
The studio of artistic duo FRAUD at Somerset House, London. Image (C) FRAUD.

ABOUT THE HELSINKI DESIGN RESIDENCY

Helsinki is undergoing a phase of growth and change that will affect its makeup and context in the coming years. This context provides a fresh opportunity to research, understand and challenge the relationships between design practices, urban space, through re-imagining materials, production processes, services and crafts.

As a response to this change and realignment, the Helsinki Design Residency was first established in 2012 during the World Design Capital programme in Helsinki. It is for UK-based practitioners, who work at the intersections of art, design and architecture, and who have an interest in critical investigations and interventions into what constitutes design innovation. The British Council, in partnership with the Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP), the Helsinki Design Week (HDW) and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture seeks applications from practitioners to participate in a residency programme in Helsinki which will coincide with the HDW. 

External links