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Helsinki launches new Design District

New York, NY – Helsinki's new Design District, a shopper's Mecca for things cool, contemporary and uniquely Finnish, was introduced on June 12. The downtown district, which reflects Finland's high profile image in international design, offers visitors the opportunity to browse an incredible cache of world-class quality design in a concentrated area. It is part of Finland's Design Year 2005 program.

Featured in the newly designated district are designer shops such as Artek, iittala, Marimekko and Kalevala jewelry, art galleries, studios, interior-decorating shops, clothing boutiques, restaurants and attractions. Design District identifies the highest concentration of active players in Finnish design and spans from the Esplanade, Helsinki's updated version of the Champs d'Elysee, and extends westward in a sweeping arc.

Design Forum Finland, Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture form the core of the Helsinki Design District. These institutions are the leading places to see and learn about Finnish architecture and design, from the older masters in Finnish design (Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Kaj Frank and others) to Generation X. The Design Forum Shop sells design distinctive items that are in limited distribution.

A large number of design stores and showrooms are part of the district. The leading Finnish design brands iittala (glass, kitchen and tableware), Marimekko (fashion and soft goods), and Artek (famous Alvar Aalto furniture) have their stores on the Esplanade. Numerous clothing stores include youthful IVANAhelsinki.

Trendy cafes and fine restaurants that emphasize good design in their interiors are found throughout the district. Demo's stylish minimalist decor makes it one of the hottest restaurants in town. The simple elegance of Chez Dominique compliments its two-star Michelin status. And Mecca bursts with youthful enthusiasm.

A guided walking tour of Helsinki's Design District is a great way to learn about Finnish design. It's offered in English on Thursdays June 30-August 25, 2005. The tour departs at 3 PM from the Artek shop, Eteläesplanadi 18. The duration is about 1.5 hours and the price is 10 Euros.

Design Year 2005, which concludes a five-year period of evaluating Finland's design culture as a tool for competitive economic advancement underscores Finland's formidable position in international design and advocates good design in every day life and business. The program comprises events, activities and exhibitions in Finland and abroad and includes Design Week Helsinki, September 19-26. The program is open to everyone. It provides exposure to some of the world's best design, creates opportunities to meet interesting professionals and learn the inner workings and applications of good design.

The Helsinki Design Weekend Package gives access to many and free Design Year Finland 2005 events. The package includes three nights hotel in Helsinki, visits to the Design Forum, the Design Museum, the Arabia Porcelain Factory and an artist's studio. One can browse trendy stores on the Esplanade and shop for quality goods throughout the city.

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