Straightforward – New Finnish Design continues a series of Finnish design programmes in New York City, now in the third edition. On exhibit from May 14-17, the exhibit showcases new design from Finland and seeks to find new ways to export Finnish design. Curators Paula Bello and Teemu Oksanen have approached their challenge from the philosophy of Finnish designer Kaj Franck, exploring the quintessential qualities of Finnish design. Starting from Frank’s quote, “Is it not the ultimate meaning of beautiful to be essential, functional, justified, truthful?” they have asked themselves to define the spirit of Finnish design today. According to the curators, the qualities include meaningful, respectful, simple, easy and durable. Good design should look forward to the future.
Bello and Oksanen have selected 25 designers or design teams from among 188 applicants for an exhibition, which will be on display in New York City’s trendy Meatpacking District coinciding with the 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF, May 15-18) and numerous design shows and events organized in the city at the same time.
The items in the Straightforward exhibition cover a wide spectrum, ranging from furnishings and tableware to fashion and electronics, even architecture. All represent innovative thinking on the lines of Frank’s and the curatorial vision. They represent some of the ways in which old values of Finnish design blend with new R&D and means to visualize concepts.
The exhibition will be complemented by multi-media displays that illustrate the essence of Finnish design. The exhibition space will incorporate a lounge featuring products from corporate partners and present Aalto University. A Pop-Up Store will offer products from approximately 30 contemporary Finnish designers, many of whom are featured in the exhibition. Many side events for both professionals and the general public will reinforce the messages of the programme.
The organizers of Straightforward are the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and the Consulate General of Finland in New York, in cooperation with Huippu Design Management. Local partners are the Meatpacking District Initiative and ABE NYC. The programme will be complemented by academic exchange between Aalto University and New York-based Parsons the New School of Design.
The previous New Finnish Design programmes of the series have been Hardcore (2008) and Playful (2009).
One of the goals of the programme is to promote Finnish design export on the long run. To that effect, boot camp training has been organized for the participants in Helsinki. The momentum created in May 2010 will be utilized later with “lessons learned”, follow-up communications efforts and, as planned, continued cooperation between the two universities.