In a press statement shared today, the organisers of Helsinki Design Week pushed the health and safety credentials of the event: “Helsinki Design Week is a series of responsibly organised events of varying sizes. It is not a festival at one single venue holding thousands of visitors.”
The statement continued: “The main venue of Helsinki Design Week will be the Olympic Stadium. With its large and airy spaces, it is a perfect spot for safe encounters.” It gives an indication of what is to come for a field that often measures success by getting as many people through the door as possible.
Another element of the event brings visitors outdoors instead. For two weeks, the festival will take over 20 advertising screens in downtown Helsinki featuring so-called “minigalleries”, allowing for design to take on another platform within the city's public spaces.
One aspect that stood out from the recent press announcement, however, is the slogan used on its graphic banner: “Commitment Matters”. Although Helsinki Design Week selected its theme in late 2019, the phrase now carries additional connotations given the postponement and cancellation of many other design events, as well as its similarity to messaging surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, in explanation of the theme, the organisers stood by the original intention of the message: “The phrase is a stimulus for thought, and the theme is meant to be used as a tool for everyone taking part in the festival.”
Helsinki Design Week will take place 3-13 September.