Helsinki Design Week travelled to Dubai with top Finnish design brands

JG Doris sohva

Helsinki Design Week was one of the five design festivals invited to Dubai, as a part of Destination programme at the Downtown Design fair.

Helsinki Design Week got to choose three Finnish design brands to present and we had an opportunity to see Saas Instruments, Nikari and Johanna Gullichsen.

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Helsinki Design Week exhibition stand at Downtown Design in Dubai


1. Nikari

Exhibiting for the first time in this region, Jenni Roininen, creative director of Nikari, Finnish furniture brand, said she really liked the concept of presenting different countries under one unifying theme and that she was curious to see how Nikari’s collection would rank among the other global brands.



Roininen said: “It was an honour for all of us to come here and represent our Nordic design aesthetic and craftsmanship through furniture, lighting products and textiles. The Middle East hasn’t been our target market since we’ve been primarily working with US, Japan and Europe but we were all excited and anxious to come here and present our work that is very different from what people are used to here.”

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Founded in 1967, Nikari produces wooden furniture and custom-made furnishings reflecting high-quality Finnish materials. The skilled cabinet makers share the philosophy of uncompromised craftsmanship, paired with sustainability, beauty and a sincere love for the material.

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2. Johanna Gullichsen

Textile designer Johanna Gullichsen was also for the first time in Dubai and she presented fabric collections Loom, Normandie and Contract – a new woollen quality, suitable for contract market.

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Johanna Gullichsen

Gullichsen described her approach to design: “Hand weaving with the loom is my inspiration for exploring techniques and patterns. That’s how most of my designs are born. Craft is a living design tool for me, always included in the narrative of my textiles. I am especially interested in the construction of fabrics and I am drawn to technically challenging designs, even though the final product might seem simple. The ready-made products that I design are defined by the fabric itself; by its material or by its pattern.”


Textile design by Johanna Gullichsen


Textile design by Johanna Gullichsen

3. Saas Instruments 

Saas, the third brand presented at this year’s Downtown Design, offers tailor-made lighting solutions to customers’ specific needs. Building everything from scratch right down to the light sources.

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Hakan Langstedt, CEO of Saas instruments explains: “Dubai has been an extremely positive experience and the number of visitors during the first day of the fair was a pleasant surprise. Of course, the Scandinavian trend is not everyone’s cup of tea here – but in an environment like this it seems that all the exhibitors invest in a stylish, made-with-quality and well-finished product line.”

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Founded in 2005, Helsinki Design Week is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries. Held annually in September, the multidisciplinary festival presents design from a number of fields as well as fashion, architecture and urban culture. The next Helsinki Design Week will be held 1 – 11 September 2016.

photo: Helsinki Design Week

Kari Korkman from Helsinki Design Week (left), Jenni Roininen and Johanna Vuorio from Nikari, Johanna Gullichsen and Håkan Långstedt from Saas Instruments.


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