A few snapshots from Helsinki here, which I sailed into from Tallinn. I was given a ‘traditional’ Estonian send off which meant I was rolled onto the ferry at 7am, after no sleep and surrounded by a curious scent of vodka so proceeded to snore through the entire glorious morning cruise through the Baltic. When I stumbled off the boat at 10am with Scandinavian summertime rays already beating down, in a haze of trying to wake up and work out where I was I found scenes like this greeting me:
Yes moomins are actually everywhere in Finland, being created by phenomenal Finnish artist and illustrator Tove Jansson as early as the 1940’s. Sweet packets, napkins, tea towels, soft drinks…their little faces are on all of them, which I was generally fine with as one of my earliest memories is watching the beautiful 1980’s moomin animations at a proximity of about 10cm from the screen in a state of complete wonder. Hearing the old theme music now still instills a sense of real sense of safety and cosiness in me. I think it was absolutely magical animation for a toddler to watch:
I was lucky enough in my hungover stupour to have a safe place to seek respite. My old Finnish friend Milla who I knew from living in Brighton years ago was living back in Helsinki and running her own brilliant design business Kauniste. Dragging my suitcase across cobbles to locate her shop, I soaked up the Saturday markets en-route. I was intrigued by the range of berries on display (Finns are big foragers)
I was also quite thrilled to see some stunning vintage 1960’s Scandi ceramics winking in the sunlight, with quintessentially bold Finnish designs – the sort of thing beloved by stallholders at North London Vintage Market, the vintage homewares event I co-founded in London, I had to get some snaps for them:
Finally arriving at Milla’s shop in the stylish design district of Punavuori, she amazingly had a hot chocolate and croissant waiting for me and gave me a tour of her gorgeous wee shop.
Kauniste work with a range of up and coming illustrators and designers to create textiles and homewares and now have their products stocked all over the world as well as in their busy concept store. I absolutely loved the bold colour ways, Scandinavian imagery and vibrant patterns on their products.
For any fans of contemporary illustration and textile design, I highly recommend a visit to Kauniste if you’re in Helsinki and want to come across some striking local designers – they also sell some great unique fabrics by the metre. (Since I visited, Kauniste have now moved to: Fredrikinkatu 24, 00120 Helsinki)
I also spent some of my time in Helsinki taking street portraits for Elle magazine in the UK and found everyone so friendly (and super stylish). The lady below had a vintage 1960’s Marimekko dress – a classic vintage Finnish brand who still create arresting textile designs today.
I also loved the individuality of lots of girls I met – I really enjoyed this ladies’ kooky market style
I also did some work for Visit Finland capturing individuals at the market and thought this market trader was a complete vision
More Finnish posts to come soon anyway – Finnish design, vintage children’s book illustrators, architect Alvar Aalto’s house and getting lost in forests…
Address: Fredrikinkatu 24, 00120 Helsinki
Opening times: Tuesday-Friday 11-18 & Saturday 11-16