The beauty of Scandinavian designs is all in the details—no-fuss furniture that celebrates materials and can be incorporated into any home. But in the sea of neutral tones, Finland is emerging as a leader in creating designs that color outside of the lines. Last month, Helsinki Design Week gave an in-depth view of what Finland’s design scene has been up to for the past two years.
In a moment where mass production and fast fashion cause brands to play catch up, Finnish creatives allow time to work its magic. Each design serves a purpose, but is strong enough to stand on its own or elevate existing styles. You’ll find artists and brands who celebrate circular economy and honor natural elements while giving innovative concepts room to grow. Helsinki Design Week was packed with enough inspiration to spark a shift in the way you engage with your interiors. From diving head first into color to embracing furniture that incorporate elements of play, here are the trends you’ll see everywhere— directly from the heart of Helsinki.
Design for Joy
“Instead of falling for fads, you should buy quality, only buy things you like, and think about whether you can mend the things that you own,” advises Susanna Björklund, the trend analyst and designer for Habitare, whose Signals exhibition showed us how important it is to listen to how our mind reacts when engaging with design and the world. She suggests incorporating items that fill you with joy (whether it’s quirky accents or colorful flowers) and pairing them with elements that feel grounding in an uncertain time in the world. The exhibit was sectioned into rooms paired with soft and hard finishes: dark-toned walls in either cranberry, deep teal, or graphite adorned with bright, lightweight decorative accents. Signals also showcased a workspace sharing a brick wall on one side of the room and a soft sage hue on the other, signaling a balance important for keeping us happy in a space.
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Commit to Color
Upon entering Durat’s showroom, you’ll understand how dopamine styling can encourage you to go big on color. Durat produces recyclable surface materials manufactured from post-industrial plastics. The endless color combinations (over 1,000) create a world of possibilities you can bring into the corner of any home. Say yes to a bathroom bursting with blue. Colorblock your kitchen with deep mustard yellow and a peachy orange! The color palette shows how limitless your color choices can be from room to room.
Ultimately, this array is all about creating a space that’s deeply personal: “The showroom underscores unconventional color combinations and textures, inviting and inspiring designers to discover their individual ways to use the materials,” says its designer, Linda Bergorth.
Embrace the Clash
Founded in 1985, Finarte reimagines traditional Nordic textiles into vibrant fabrics that come alive. The brand’s latest launch, “Blending,” is in collaboration with artist Minni Havas and does anything but blend in. All of Finarte’s rugs are made using scraps and raw materials that clash, and the result is a symphony of color woven by Finnish designers and Indian weavers. The colors and shapes arrayed on the tufted rugs mix exotic fruits in unlikely pairings. The colors are a fun introduction into the world of avant garde where there are no rules! When it comes to the brand’s sustainability mission, CEO Larissa Immonen shares, “It’s always questionable in today’s world to make any new product. Our products will become classics of tomorrow, lasting from one generation to the next.”
Björklund puts an emphasis on using decor to make genuine connections in your home. Go for a mix of handmade finds, handicrafts, and classics that’ll spark conversation. It might be time to rummage through your attic and find vintage photos of your family! “Right now, people are looking for insightful design, imperfection, rich surfaces, and folklore style,” Björklund explains. Whimsical and rustic, a folk aesthetic encourages expressing your personality and cultural heritage.
Invest in Craftsmanship
Poiat is a multidisciplinary design studio that highlights classic features of Finnish design in a refreshing way. Founded by Antti Rouhunkoski and Timo Mikko in Helsinki, the duo never misses a detail! Their new Bastone collection is inspired by nature, featuring a low sideboard that serves as a media console as well. The refinement of the designs proves the importance of choosing quality items that can grow with your home even as your style evolves.
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Medgina Saint-Elien is House Beautiful‘s associate shopping editor. She covers everything your home is missing. She writes about exciting new launches, hands-on product reviews, shopping guides for every corner of your space, and the “lightbulb” moments in every maker’s story. The writer and poet champions the work of BIPOC entrepreneurs in the design and beauty industry. When she isn’t categorizing memes, she can be found looking at sneakers. Her work has been published in Byrdie, Snapchat, and more.