What the Hel

How are the current interiors and design trends related to larger political, social and digital changes in the world?

To answer this question, we are bringing to IDS Vancouver ‘What the HEL from Finland,’ a trend installation showcasing Finnish design, mixing visual and societal trends in a narrative, surprising, ambient and multidisciplinary way. Curated by trend analyst Susanna Björklund, the feature explores the way boundaries between trends are blurring. Given the escalating digitalization resulting in strong countertrends and shifting values, the exhibit poses the question: can local design still be distinguishable from global design?

About Susanna Björklund

Helsinki-based trend analyst Susanna Björklund uncovers the futures, conducts research on customer centricity, changes in consumer behaviour and values, and implements new design processes.

She has gathered a wide experience in the fields of design and marketing. Susanna has worked as a fashion designer and as a journalist specialized in fashion, living, interiors, design and futures trends. In the field of marketing, she has been in charge of the visual entities for multiple print and TV commercial productions. Since 2015, Susanna has  been curating Signals, the trend installation of the Habitare fair in Helsinki, combining societal with interior and living trends. Signals has gained wide recognition both in Finland and internationally.

Lately, she has taken on the task of helping numerous Finnish companies to understand the latest changes visible at international trade fairs. She runs ENNE, works as a lecturer, researcher, journalist and also runs classes to emerging talents in Lahti Institute of Design and Helsinki Design School.

Participating Designers

Antrei Hartikainen

Antrei Hartikainen is a master cabinetmaker and designer from Finland known for his exquisite works in wood. The award-winning pieces, including functional products and pure art works, achieve heights of sensuality, elegance and craftsmanship that place them with the finest examples of modern Nordic carpentry.


Artek was founded in Helsinki in 1935 by four young idealists: Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maire Gullichsen, and Nils-Gustav Hahl. Their goal was “to sell furniture and to promote a modern culture of living by exhibitions and other educational means.” In keeping with the radical spirit of its founders, Artek today remains an innovative player in the world of modern design, developing new products at the intersection of design, architecture, and art.

Creadesign Oy

Creadesign Oy is an internationally awarded Finnish design agency, established by industrial designer Hannu Kähönen in 1981 and based in Helsinki and Guangzhou, China. Their experience is based on cooperation with hundreds of clients in home appliance and furniture design, as well as in public transportation and urban design. Their mission is to improve total user value and upgrade environmental impact of products for the benefit of the customers.

Ella Varvio

Ella Varvio is an artist-designer working with illustration, ceramics and glass. She specializes in combining narrative imagery and glass. The images are often inspired by nature, myths, literature and comics art. Varvio approaches art and design from the viewpoint of storytelling. She aspires to create surreal scenes that do not reveal everything in one look.

Gedigo Piece of Finland

Gedigo Piece of Finland is a Finnish design company that produces high-quality lifestyle products for people on the move. For them, luxury is about the quality of the item, the craftsmanship and the story behind it. 

All of their products are made of materials from the pure Finnish nature and inspired by the harsh, mysterious Arctic. The products are hand made in the small Finnish town of Kokkola with a long history of leather production. 

Hanna Anonen

Hanna Anonen is a designer from Helsinki, Finland. Focusing on products and interiors, her work combines candy-like colours and interesting shapes in functional products. She gets inspired by constructive pieces that are designed in visually-pleasing, unexpected way. Her work combines clever use of shapes and forms in playful but simple, clean designs.

Heini Riitahuhta

Heini Riitahuhta is a Finnish ceramic artist working at the Arabia Art Department in Helsinki, Finland. Riitahuhta is inspired by nature in her practice, particularly by childhood memories of her grandmother in the garden, surrounded by the perfume of flowers. As a result, her works blend Finnish flora with creations from her imagination. Her ceramic hexagons create a fascinating composition that grows piece by piece, containing a tiny cosmos in each of the numberless fragments, which when taken together, form an expanding universe.

Helenius & Renvall Creative

Helenius & Renvall Creative is a Helsinki-based design studio run by award-winning Finnish designers Elina Helenius and Saara Renvall. The studio works within various fields of design to help its clients creating better and sustainable products and services.

Helenius and Renvall are well known for their strong sense of materials and unique Nordic style. The designers have diverse design experience from furniture design to interiors products, textiles and concepts. Their aim is to create special everyday objects with a strong identity and story.


Himmee is a Finnish family-run company that designs and manufactures high quality design lighting products in Helsinki, Finland. The studio believes in the minimalistic aesthetics and frankness that is inspired by the light of the northern latitudes. This means authentic high- quality materials, a functional and timeless design and fair business practices.


Interface has manufactured sofas since 1963. Their sofas are known as for their high quality, iconic Scandinavian design and superb seating comfort. The products are manufactured in Heinola, Finland. The high-quality raw materials are warranty for extended time of use, while the design reflects timelessness and comfort.

Johanna Gullichsen

Johanna Gullichsen offers an extensive range of woven textiles for modern living. Bold and simple patterns, natural materials, a down to earth sensibility – her style is all about comfort, colour and ease of use. Since 1989, the company has committed to creating honest design and representing a modern interpretation of Scandinavian textile traditions.

Katriina  Nuutinen

Katriina Nuutinen is one of the leading Finnish designers of her generation. Her meticulous process turns glass and ceramics into exquisite high-end artifacts, both decorative and functional. The harmonic shapes and colours of her products represent unique, timeless elegance. The balanced blend of light, colour and different materials creates layers of meanings and stories that come together in products that last from one generation to another. The exceptional shapes and colour combinations are the very factor that gives Nuutinen’s work its unique appeal.

Lapuan Kankurit

Lapuan Kankurit’s designs are woven in Lapua, Finland. The skillful jacquard weaving skills are the result of generations of learning.

Developing the best textiles in the world is the studio’s passion. Using linen and wool, the studio controls where the materials come from and all the stages from thread to readymade product in order to produce results they are proud of.

Leena Kouhia

Designer-artist Leena Kouhia´s untraditional way of designing tableware with her informal style has drawn a lot of attention in Finland. Food stylists, interior designers, chef du cuisines, bloggers, retailers and art lovers have all been blown away by the style.

Raaka Rå items are handmade by the artist herself. Her artworks have been featured in the Finnish States Art Collection.


Lokal is an award-winning concept store and gallery in the heart of Helsinki. Their philosophy is living with art and objects that matter. With that philosophy in mind, they present themed group exhibitions in their gallery space and provide beautiful and timeless pieces in their shop.

Lokal is run by photographer Katja Hagelstam. Inspired to create a space to showcase the works of Finnish artists and designers, she opened Lokal in April 2012. Lokal was recently awarded the Finnish State Design Award 2017 and the Finnish Design Deed Award 2015.


Matri was founded in 1986 in Finland. Matri beds are produced in their own production centre, exclusively from certified European materials. Their Lempi headboard and bedside tables are designed by KOKO3 and manufactured in Finland.

Nikari Oy

Nikari carries on the traditions of the finest Nordic craftsmanship to bring out the best of wood in contemporary design.

Poiat Studio 

Poiat Studio is focused on creating concepts and products in the fields of architecture and design. Their goal is to find a humane and elegant character in all of their work. They believe that the best ideas are based on a resolute vision – being thorough, detail orientated and faithful to their principles.

Reeta Ek

Reeta Ek is a textile and surface designer from Helsinki. She has created textile designs for Marimekko, Nanso, Lapuan Kankurit and Samuji. Typical of her designs are repetition and rhythm, born along with the creative working process that she also expresses through a series of art prints. Reeta Ek was awarded as Young Designer of The Year 2017.

Saana ja Olli

Saana ja Olli is an award-winning design company from Turku, Finland. The company produces their own 100% hemp textile collection manufactured transparently in Finland. Saana ja Olli has released several collections, done design work for various international clients and been involved in various design projects in different continents.

Secto Design

Secto Design is a Finnish company specialized in designing hand-crafted lights from top-quality local PEFC-certified birch wood. The demanding work is carried out by their highly talented local craftsmen in the town of Heinola in central Finland. The entire lighting collection is designed by the award-winning Finnish architect Seppo Koho.

The very first Secto Design lamp, the conical Secto 4200, came out in 1999. Nowadays, the collection consists of 24 different models that together form a clear and unique representation of the brand.


Marianne Huotari works as an artist for ceramic wall rugs and as a designer of home décor in her own creative studio STUDIO smoo based in Helsinki. Known for an immense attention to detail and an exquisite sense of colour, her works radiate down-to-earth attitude with delicate touch. Marianne values traditions and often draws inspiration from her roots and apply them into the modern world.

Tuula Pöyhönen

Fashion & concept designer Tuula Pöyhönen explores the space between design and fashion with an in-depth understanding of the manufacturing processes in the textile and clothing industry. She enjoys the challenge of merging cutting-edge design and brave branding with commercial reality.

Ragamuf is a stretchy chair rug that fits to different shapes and sizes of chairs. Each rug is a unique work of design by its maker, making it meaningful to the maker, too. The products are made of knitted rag – surplus from the textile industry. Ragamuf gives old, worn-out chair a new life.


Valoe is a technology company specializing in the efficient utilization of solar energy. Valoe’s mission is to enable the use of solar energy in the form of electricity everywhere, at any time 24/7/365.

Valoe sells automated solar module manufacturing plants and provides its manufacturing partners with turnkey plants, enabling its partners to produce solar energy modules for local and nearby markets.


In Scandinavia, the old wood industry meets research and new innovations. Woodio is built on this heritage and the constant curiosity of doing more with what they already have.

Woodio created an innovative ecological material – wood that is 100% water resistant. This material is ecological solid wood composite – a mix of wood and sustainable polymers.


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The Interior Design Show is part of the Global Exhibitions Division of Informa PLC

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