"In the ancient literally-wise..." Finland Things to Do Tip by ubiq

Finland Things to Do: 359 reviews and 405 photos


In the ancient literally-wise times last century, well before of recent Nokia mobile phones, NHL star players and F1 drivers of Finland, the country was known by its architecture and design. And of course the Lapland and ubiquitous Santa Claus, who has quite busy times in every Christmas.
There are three notable era or distinctions in Finland in architecture and design, specially at Helsinki - here is the short term.
First era is Jugend from late 1800's to early 1900's; a passionate decade of the national ambitious expressions and emphasis trying to point out differences between the pressure of dominating Russian empire toward independent country. Spirit of designers of Jugend had much influence when Finland finally got independency at 1917.
Jugend buildings are still dominant in many older area of Helsinki, including Eira, Ullanlinna, old Katajanokka (image 2; a building from Katajanokka) and Kruunuhaka, all the southern section of Helsinki where original settlement of the city started at 1800's. Jugend adapted the ornamental style of Russia emperor houses and combined it to decoration from Paris with towers, arches, pastel-colors and soapstone found from Eastern Finland (image 1; Jugend decoration from Aleksanterinkatu of Helsinki).
Second era is Functionalism and some of the innovators of this style are Finnish, like Alvar Aalto and Eliel Saarinen. During 1920's and 1930's they made ambitious plans for whole Helsinki. Plans were not put into effect, but still there are many pure functionalism buildings i Helsinki.
The Third era after WW II: somehow Finns designers miss the gap with architecure. Maybe just too many individuals died in the Winter War (Talvisota in Finnish) or fled the country to USA. From 1950's to nowadays Finland has had nothing more to offer to architecture scene. Instead of original or distinctive architecture, at 1970's and 1980's Helsinki was used widely simulating tp Moscow or St. Petersburg in Hollywood spy and agent movies.
After WW II, somehow Finnish designers concentrated to smaller objects than buildings. In 1960's, Tapio Wirkkala (image 3) and Eeo Saarnio (Ball chair, image 4) started to inspire Finnish design with glass object and nowadays there are several design brands like Arabia, Fiskars, Hackman and Marimekko.
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  • Written Aug 26, 2002
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