Design District Helsinki marks a decade with renewed enthusiasm

Design District Helsinki has surpassed its district limits into an active association of over 200 members. The 10 year old Design District has been enthralled with celebration this year. The association has chosen Minna Särelä as its new Executive Director, and published a completely new website.
The year of celebration rings in the new and revitalizes the old

Design District Helsinki published a completely new website In addition to helping tourists find Helsinki’s design hot spots, the new site also aims at serving residents who are interested in design and local services. With the new site, Design District’s online presence becomes more diverse and member-driven. The website renovation was created by a Design District Helsinki member company, booncon PIXELS.

In its tenth year, Design District Helsinki will host new public events: a design treasure hunt and a detailed seminar combined with a city festival. In addition to the reforms, the already known event concepts, Late Night Shopping and Design District Market will continue. A printed map of the Design District Helsinki area and its members also continues as an important marketing tool.

Design District Helsinki’s new Executive Director Minna Särelä has formerly ran her own design store, Paloni, in the area, and is a long-term active member of the organization. Design District’s office can now be found in the heart of Punavuori on Fredrikintori. The office space is home to a collective of anthropological research called Allegra Lab Helsinki.

”We have in Helsinki an exceptionally versatile and high-quality design selection, behind which are hundreds of interesting and creative professionals. On our year of celebration, I would wish to encourage not only tourists, but also, locals to get to know Helsinki through the eyes of an explorer. Our new website and the design treasure hunt on Helsinki day invite you for urban design adventures”, Särelä depicts.

Events for the year of celebration

24.3.2015 the new website is open
23.4.2015 Late Night Shopping
Planning on your Late Night Shopping route is now even easier than before at, where the map of Design District members can be filtered by clicking on the ”Late Night Shopping” to only show participating boutiques and galleries.
21.5.2015 Late Night Shopping
23.5.2015 Design District Market at the Diana park
12.6.2015 Design treasure hunt (Helsinki Day)
Helsinki celebrates its birthday and is filled up with design hideouts. The finder gets to keep design gems hidden by the Design District entrepreneurs! More information on the gems will be published at and on social media with the hashtags #ddhelsinki and #ddsuunnistus – hidden gems vary from a night in a design hotel to classic Finnish design objects. Hints of the hideouts will be published on the day of the event.
20.8.2015 Late Night Shopping
27.8.2015 Design District Helsinki’s festival seminar (Rööperifest)
Design District’s open Ten Year Seminar combines city culture, design and open societal discussion. We welcome all to participate in a colorful panel discussion (in Finnish) about the essence of design, brick and mortar entrepreneurship and a lively city! The seminar is organized in the midst of a city festival called Rööperifest at Design District Helsinki’s office, Punavuorenkatu 1, at 3:30pm – 5:30pm.
10.9.2015 Late Night Shopping
5.11.2015 Late Night Shopping
22.11.2015 Design District Market, Vanha ylioppilastalo
10.12.2015 Late Night Shopping

An independent pioneer

Design District Helsinki is the Nordic Countries’ first and widely denominated concentration of design that stretches all the way to the Arab Emirates.

“The significance of Design District Helsinki isn’t only depicted by its most renowned members such as Artek, Marimekko and Design Museum, but also by the multifacetedness of its members”, tells Sirpa Linnanmäki, the President of the Board of Design District Helsinki.

In addition to boutiques and galleries, a cluster of restaurants, cafes, hotels and a growing amount of creative service providers stand out as active members of this ecclectic organization. In response to changes in business models, the association has adapted by creating a new membership category, Designer Studios for online store showrooms. During its ten year span, Design District Helsinki has been affiliated with numerous associations to facilitate the marketing cooperation of its members. For many brick and mortar stores it has enabled more visible marketing than what would be possible for a small company alone.

”We have been a member since the beginning. In ten years, people have learned to recognize and find Design District Helsinki – especially tourists have been reached with cooperative marketing”, tells textile designer Johanna Gullichsen, who also runs her own store on Fredrikinkatu.

Design District Helsinki’s history

Design District Helsinki was founded with the name Designkortteli ry in 2005 by the iniative of Design Forum Finland’s CEO Ilpo Santala and a group of active design entrepreneurs. The founding meeting of the association was held on April 13th 2005, and the organization was officially registered as an association on June 22nd 2005. From the very beginning, the association’s aim has been to gather the creative cluster of its members around a designated design area and strengthen Helsinki’s role as a design city. Starting from the beginning of 2015, the association detached itself from Design Forum Finland, and its activities are now run by a board in cooperation with the Executive Director Minna Särelä.

”It has been a privilege to follow and to be a part of leading the developments of this cooperation for the eight years I worked as the CEO of Design Forum Finland. However, now the time was right and favourable for self-guidance of an association that represents a local design community – after all, Design Forum Finland is firstly and foremostly a national centre of design promotion”, explains Design Forum Finland’s previous CEO on the backgrounds of the recent changes.

Further information:
Minna Särelä, Executive Director,, +358 (0)50 589 4131
Sirpa Linnanmäki, President of the Board,, +358 (0)400 929 473

Design District Helsinki is a neighbourhood and a state of mind. It includes 25 streets and 200 spots of interest on a map, from shops to galleries and from design studios to design hotels. It is creativity, uniqueness, experiences, design and Finnish urban culture.

Design District Illustration

More Information

Design District Helsinki

Minna Särelä
Project Manager