Guest Country Finland

With its changing focus, VIENNA DESIGN WEEK aims to grant detailed insights into the creative
work of a different European country year after year. Finnish design is inextricably linked to such
characteristic and renowned brands as Artek, Iittala or Marimekko. Leading Finnish designers like
Alvar Aalto are considered modern classics, Nokia wrote design history with the first generations of
mobile phones, and the Finnish sauna is the mother of all spas. Shedding a light on this multifaceted
history of design will be part of this year’s festival.

Curated and developed by designer Tero Kuitunen, the exhibition Wild at Heart on contemporary
Finnish design will form the centrepiece of the presentation of Finland as this year’s guest country.
Eleven Finnish designers and brands will showcase cutting-edge aspects of Finnish design through
works including textile and wood design, artworks and design objects: Eero Aarnio, Klaus
Haapaniemi, Antrei Hartikainen, Tuuli-Tytti Koivula, Tero Kuitunen, Ragmate, Sofia Okkonen,
Teemu Salonen, Aamu Song and Johan Olin as well as Milla Vaahtera.

The title of the exhibition Wild at Heart draws attention to a less noted aspect of the Finnish
mentality: the reserved surface often masks lots of humour, exuberance and passion. Alongside
“wild humour“, Kuitunen’s show is also inspired by “rough beauty” and design as a social factor.
Moreover, Finnish design will also be highlighted in many of the festival’s other programme formats,
including a Finland Lounge, a Design Diplomacy Talk and much more.
The presentation of Finland as this year’s guest country is made possible by the Finnish Institute in
Germany together with the Embassy of Finland in Vienna as well as Business Finland and Visit
Finland.

We are particularly looking forward to the inauguration night, which will be celebrated with more
than 1,000 invited guests and will feature a performance by Jimi Tenor together with the orchestra
of Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (VBW). For decades, the Finnish musician has been crossing
boundaries far beyond insider scenes, delighting audiences with his rhythms and unique mix of
different genres ranging from house, easy listening and – as indicated by his name inspired by the
tenor sax – jazz. Take us, baby!