Kivikko seating by Ilkka Suppanen for Marimekko. Photo by Samuli Rantanen

Identity by Kokoro&Moi

Builders of the Future workshop, hat made with toothpicks and candy. (c) Arkki. Photo Tarja Tuppurainen 

Dress by Mika Piirainen, Raide pattern by Annika Rimala. © Marimekko corporation

Ballroom_light installation by Järvi and Ruoho. Photo by Kalle Kataila 

PLAYFUL New Finnish Design exhibited Finnish design innovations with a focus on play and creativity as elementary forces in human life. Through a playful approach, creative solutions can be found even to the most difficult challenges. PLAYFUL event took place at the Meatpacking District in New York, on May 15–18, 2009.

Emphasizing quality of life, green solutions, and life-long learning, PLAYFUL presented a range of insightful solutions by forward-thinking designers and companies. The underlying themes – environment, innovation, creativity and education – were highlighted by a series of events, a seminar, and workshops for both adults and children.

PLAYFUL boasted an array of design items and concepts from furniture to fashion and video. The exhibition featured designers and companies such as Artek (Artek Studio, Shigeru Ban), Durat (Ulla Koskinen, Karim Rashid), Järvi & Ruoho, Jukka Korpihete (Korpi Design), Marimekko, Outi Martikainen, Molok, Outo Wear, Jesse Pietilä, Powerkiss (Terhi Tuominen), Saas Instruments (Harri Koskinen, Mikko Paakkanen), Paola Suhonen (IVANAhelsinki), Ilkka Suppanen, and Tuomo Tammenpää (YATTA).

New concepts of architecture and urban planning were illuminated through the work of Auer & Sandås Architects in building learning environments for children as well as through the Arabianranta: Art and Design in the Residential Neighborhood project which emphasizes the role of art in creating socially vibrant urban environments.

The exhibition was curated by interior architect Esa Vesmanen. Both the exhibition architecture and the visual image were bold: nearby streets were invaded by eight ocean containers equipped with low energy lighting fixtures and display structures manufactured from recycled plastic. These mini-showrooms created an exciting and fun setting to present the designs.

PLAYFUL was organized in collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, the Consulate General of Finland and Design Forum Finland. The event was presented in collaboration with Meatpacking District Initiative ABE NYC. 

Playful was supported by Cleantech Finland Helsinki City Tourist and Convention Bureau, Icelandair, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland Ministry of Education, Finland Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finland National Council for Design, The Finnish Architectural Review, Visit Finland and Y Water, Inc.