Cities & Design 2015 Third Edition

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On November 26th Azkuna Zentroa will host the third Edition of the Cities & Design conference that aims to share the experiences of cities that consider design as a driving force. This year Helsinki is the guest.

The different Finnish speakers will talk about their current and future projects from the Design Driven City programme, which promotes the use of design in urban environments and the public sector in order to contribute to simple, habitable and human cities, to the Helsinki Design Week or the interesting experience of the users of the Central Library of Helsinki.

Date:  26 November 2015  ·  Location:  Azkuna Zentroa’s Auditorium


9:00 – 13:15: Cities&Design – Design Stories from Helsinki
9:00 – 9:30: Accreditation
9:30 – 9:45: Opening
9:45 – 10:05: Helsinki – A Design Driven City – Laura Aalto, Communications Director – International Design Foundation, Anu Mänttäri, Senior Specialist, Unesco City of Design coordinator – City of Helsinki
10:05 – 10:45: Design in the city of Helsinki – Pablo Riquelme, City Designer – International Design Foundation
10:45 – 11:15: Building the Future – Architecture and Design Education to Children – Pihla Meskanen, Director – Arkki School of Architecture for Children and Youth
11:15 – 11:45: Coffee Break
11:45 – 12:15: Helsinki Design Week – Demonstrating the Change – Kari Korkman, CEO, Founder – Helsinki Design Week (2005)
12:15 – 12:45: Designing the New Central Library of Helsinki – Pirjo Lipasti, City of Helsinki
12:45 – 13:00: Questions
13:00 – 13:15: Closing



Introduction to Helsinki. A Design Driven City

In Finland, design has always belonged to everyone. There is a very strong tradition that designers and architects take part in building a better society and work towards meeting the everyday needs of ordinary citizens. Right now those needs call for better solutions, not just beautiful and functional things. Facing a major renewal era, the City of Helsinki has systematically, since 10 years now, build up the competence to use design as a tool for transformation and openness. This process is conscious of the needs of users, environmental notions and a boldness to develop the city through experimentation and together with the citizens.

Laura Aalto is Communications Director at Design Driven City, a legacy project of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. Laura has 20 years of professional experience in international marketing, communications, branding and corporate partnerships in culture and design.

Anu Mänttäri works for the Business Development or the City of Helsinki. Design is chosen to be one of the key fields of business in Helsinki’s strategy. The city is committed to use design to improve the services of the city. Anu is a MBA with applied sciences studies also in Design Management.

The task of design in the city of Helsinki

Design Driven City promotes the use of design in urban environments. We believe that design can help make cities better, more easygoing and more functional.

Design Driven City carries on the legacy of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 and develops design thinking and know-how within the planning of public services. It offers expert advice to cities on better solutions through design, and helps the design field to address the needs of the public sector.

Pablo Riquelme works in the Design Driven City project of the City of Helsinki. His expertise as a City Designer is based over 15 years of experience in design, branding and interior architecture. Previously he has been working developing retail and service concepts for the Finnish and European market at the same time he has been cooperating over 10 years with the Helsinki Public Library network developing and researching user-centred solutions.

Born in Chile, Pablo has made Helsinki his home and a place where he has develop his professional profile and passion for collaborating with the public sector. “As designers we try to add aesthetic values and balance on anything we do, to work for communities on the attempt on creating a better tomorrow is indeed an exercise of creativity and love”.

Building the Future – Architecture and Design Education to Children

Arkki, School of Architecture for Children and Youth is a nonprofit organization. Arkki is the first school in Finland specializing in providing architectural and environmental education to children as an after school activity.

Pihla Meskanen is an architect and pedagogue. She is one of the founding members of the Arkki School of Architecture for Children and Youth and the school’s headmaster since 23 years.

Pihla has written several books about architecture education. She has taken part in writing the National Curriculum for Visual Arts and Architecture under the National Board of Education. Pihla is a founding member of PLAYCE, an international association of architecture education, and is currently the head of the board.

Helsinki Design Week – Demonstrating the Change

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. Helsinki Design Week promotes design internationally and offers a forum to participate in developing and discussing the city and its culture.

Kari Korkman, M.Sc. (Econ.), is the founder and director of Helsinki Design Week. He has been involved in a large number of product development projects and launches since the beginning of the 90s and has produced and curated a number of design exhibitions and events.

Designing the New Central Library of Helsinki

Already dubbed the new cradle of citizen engagement, the Central Library will rise in the centre of Helsinki in 2017 with the power of its citizens’ ideas. The project for citizen participation brainstorming for setting up the Central Library will continue to be applied to the whole network of libraries of Helsinki.

Pirjo Lipasti has worked for seven years on the planning operations of the new Central Library in Helsinki to be opened in 2017.  As Lead Planner her main responsibilities are designing spaces and library services.