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Finnish Architecture and Design Days dive into good spaces

Girl sitting and reading on a window sill.

Mika Huisman / Verstas Arkkitehdit

The ArcDesign festival will again offer architecture and design lovers a variety of events across the country. The main event, at Cultural Centre Vuotalo in Helsinki, will highlight themes of localism, learning environments, happiness and good spaces – and the aspirations associated with them.

On the 3rd of February, Finnish flags are hoisted in celebration of Alvar and Aino Aalto and Finnish architecture and design. The festival organised around the flag-flying day highlights the significance of architecture and design in our daily lives.

This year, the Finnish Architecture and Design Days are celebrated under the theme ‘In good spaces’. ArcDesign opens up new perspectives on our built and designed environment: What does good space mean to us? Does it bring comfort, safety, sustainability, smoothness of everyday life or something else entirely?

This year’s festival programme has 50 registered events across Finland, including presentations, seminars, guided tours, launches, workshops and many other activities for participants of all ages. There will also be documentaries, as the annual DocPoint festival in Helsinki will screen four recent films on urban planning and communities.

Vuotalo is a cultural centre in Vuosaari, Helsinki, designed by Heikkinen-Komonen Architects and opened in 2001. photo: Jussi Tiainen

The main event will take place at the Vuotalo Cultural Centre in Eastern Helsinki

The event will feature presentations and talks that will explore the different perspectives on what spaces for well-being look like – from indoor spaces to buildings and cities, and up to the global scale. With a special focus on localism, the event will also give a voice to children, young people and other urban citizens.

The programme will include insights about Vuosaari from an urban planner and local young people, as well as greetings from youth and children from Tampere and Oulu. Flexible learning environments, which have been the subject of considerable debate, are discussed from the perspectives of the designer, the commissioner and the researcher.

Samuli Miettinen, an architect from JKMM, will introduce us to the infrastructure of happiness and tell us about the firm's recent work on creating holistic wellbeing. The mechanisms of happiness are also explored in a new American TV documentary highlighting Finland, which will be previewed at Vuotalo.

The day will culminate in a debate where professionals in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design will try to respond to the challenges thrown at them.

On 3 February the Finnish flags are hoisted for architecture and design

The national flag-flying day celebrates the key role architecture and design have played in developing the Finnish welfare state and its identity. Since 2022, the Finnish Ministry of the Interior has recommended to hoist the Finnish flag on Alvar Aalto's birthday, 3 February, in celebration of Alvar and Aino Aalto and Finnish architecture and design.

Finnish Architecture and Design Days are organised by the eleven organisations who put forward the motion to establish the flag-flying day: Archinfo, Finnish Design Info, Alvar Aalto Foundation, Museum of Finnish Architecture, Designmuseum, Ornamo, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Association of Finnish Architects’ Offices ATL, Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, The Building Information Foundation RTS, Finnish Association of Landscape Architects MARK and Finnish Association of Interior Architects SIO.