Finnish Design

I´m studying product design so in which place could it be more interesting to study than in a Scandinavian country?

Finland is very rich in the design field, whether it is product, textile or architecture. Finnish designers are known worldwide, for me it is so nice to see “for real” the products that I have studied and analyzed the past two year.Emma5

I think design has a big part in Finnish culture, and Finnish people seem very proud of it: you notice it when you visit a Finnish apartment or when you see people dressed with Finnish brands clothes. Well, at least, I guess it is even more obvious when you have designer eyes.

I think there are two sides in Finnish design. One is the perfect Scandinavian style. Very simple, clean lines, with the wood as main material and neutral colors. For example, the style of one of the most famous designer in Finland, Alvar Aalto. He has done architectures, kitchenware, and furniture.

His furniture designs were well thought and are still popular today. He has founded the Artek company in 1935, to sell his products, but also other imported products.

For the other side of Finnish design, it is Emma6very colorful, with big patterns or illustrations.

The example we can give is Marimekko, a famous brand of textile and fashion design. It is known all over the world for it’s bright colored patterns, sold on textile, on very simple shaped clothes or on household items.  There is a lot of different design, everyone can find something of it’s taste.

In Turku there are a lot of shops where you can find Finnish designs. I really like go there and admire all the objects, it’s almost like a museum. And yes, of course, it is way too expensive for a student budget, but we can dream 🙂

Text & photos: Emma Lameley

Three Finnish towns to visit

During my stay here I have visited a lot of Finnish cities. I will present you three of my favorites, in a perfect Finnish style, easily reachable by bus.

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  1. Naantali

If you live in Turku you probably know Naantali already. It is a small city 15 kilometers away, where all the houses are in wood, with a lot of different colors. It is one of the oldest towns in Finland, walking around is very nice, you can look at all the houses (and all the windows because there is a lot of objects displayed in front of it !), at the small harbour, go to see the church and climb to a nice point of view as well. The Moomin World theme park is reachable from there through a bridge.

There is also some beaches, probably very nice for summer. And it’s quick to go there just for an afternoon.

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  1. Rauma

Rauma is a town situated on the west coast or Finland, with very colorful wooden houses and paved street in the old city. The site is Unesco listed. It’s very quiet, the time seems to have been stopped, you almost expect to see people traditionally dressed  coming out of the houses.

This city is  alsowell known for the traditional lace. You can visit the city history museum to see some works of lace and even try to do it yourself. Which is very, very, complicated

There is also a lot of artisanal shops and a small market. So you can have a really nice day here.

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  1. Porvoo

Porvoo is probably one of the cutest towns I have visited in Finland. It’s 45 minutes of bus from Helsinki to the east, and it is pretty small so you can visit it in a morning and then spend the afternoon in Helsinki for example.

A river flows through the city, and all the houses are built on a hill. It is so nice to walk in the narrow streets away from the center which is more recent.

I went there during winter, so the contrast between the colors of the houses and the snow was really beautiful. I am sure that it is also very nice in summer but unfortunally I will not have the occasion to go back.

Now I hope you want to visit all these pretty towns and feel how the spirit of Finnish architecture really is. Enjoy !

Text & photos: Emma Lameley

A day in a Finnish elementary school

A few weeks ago I went to an Elementary School in Eura for the day, thanks to the program “Erasmus in schools”. This program allows exchange students to go to visit a Finnish school and talk to the pupils about their country, studies or experiences.

I applied to participate and then received an email with the contact of a teacher who had registered to host an exchange student. It was an English teacher who wanted to make discover French culture to her pupils.

We discussed and agreed about a day of visit.

I went there on a Thursday. Eura is a small city, 1.30 hours away from Turku by bus. The teacher came to pick me up at the bus station and brought me to the school.Emma1

As it´s English lesson, there was a different group of kids each hour, so I could meet kids from age 8 to 12.

I had prepared a slideshow about French culture and a small French lesson at the end. Then they had prepared some questions by group for me about my life, my family and my tastes.

Some girls make me have a visit of their school during the break, they have a very good English for their age!

I also had lunch with them, and I was surprised to learn that it´s free for them. Another curious thing for me was the “school meeting” where all the kids are reunited in the sports hall and the headmistress talk to them for 45 minutes.

It was very interesting because I could compare and tell them about French kids in France. For example, in France kids start school at 3 years old while in Finland they start at age 6, also Finnish kid are very quiets and disciplined compared to French pupils!

I really liked this experience, the teacher and all the kids were so nice and interested. It was a real exchange because they could learn about another country and practice their English, and I could discover Finnish school system and Finnish people a bit more.

Text & photo: Emma Lameley