01 July 2005
Lisa Sounio has launched Kukko, a design boutique in Fiskars that's open for the summer only. It features Finnish fashion-design-art-craft, including my favourites, Nanso and IVANA Helsinki. Lisa's also uncovered some less well-known Finnish products, like these crafty wristbands for e-workers, and the recycled works of SECCO.
30 May 2005
Game Producer, Helsinki
I'm moving back to London in the summer so I need someone to take my job here in Helsinki. For the last year I've been working at Sulake, an interactive entertainment company specialising in games that are community-driven, readily accessible and easy to play. Their main product is Habbo Hotel but they're extending to mobile games, an animation series, and new titles.
Here's the official description...
Game Producer/Project Manager
You will be responsible for leading a game development team in Helsinki, reporting to Sulake’s Vice President of New Products.
You should have:
My team rocks, so I want to make sure they get the producer they deserve. If you're interested, get in touch and I'll give you the lowdown. (You could also just apply now.).
12 April 2005
Used in India, now in Helsinki
I was very disappointed to have missed Doors 8 in New Delhi, so was especially pleased to see Aditya dev Sood's Used in India talk for Aula tonight. Aditya spoke about "the devices and cultures of Indian street innovation (jugaad)", where the making and remaking of things is more of a dialogue between home, workshop and marketplace, than a formal or individual design process.
Aditya also treated us to a small selection of such remade objects: from radios with screen printed face plates and decorative LED lights, to a modded TV, and a sound box that plays mantras. More about the objects after I see the exhibition at Kiasma this weekend...
When questioned about the causes of such handiwork, Aditya pointed to "informationalisation without industrialisation", a culture of recycling and a more synaesthetic appreciation of electronic goods.
04 July 2004
The return of the housedress
I have always been, perhaps excessively, interested in comfort, frequently drawn to the guilty pleasures of the 'tracky dack'. I generally don't own tracksuit pants; that would be too definite, too undeniable. Instead, I've always borrowed them - in an offhand, almost absent-minded way - and teamed them with small singlets. At university, I practically lived in my 'worker pants'. Again, I didn't actively seek them out but would instead take on my younger brother's worn-in hand-me-downs: navy blue Hard Yakka trousers that were standard issue at the kitchen he worked in. I justified this as good economy, and also felt it asserted my left-wing feminist credentials. Somehow. And when it was cold there was also that brown yak wool jumper I'd brought back from Nepal.
I was dressing for comfort and very far from looking my best. In the last few months I've been spending a lot more time at home and so my comfort dressing... problem... had become more acute. I'd reverted to mostly wearing a black shift dress that I'd picked up from The Laden Showroom on Brick Lane for £14. It originally had a silver outline of a woman holding a gun but that had faded so really it was just a worn-in shapeless black dress with a large front pocket.
And that was when I started thinking about the pleasures of the housedress. When I was a child I had lived in sixties-style shift dresses, tearing around our property in bare feet. I was comfortable but also wearing dresses that I liked. There was something in this. Fortunately I now live in Helsinki, home of Nanso:
Comfortable, High-Quality and Personal Clothing
Comfortable nightwear for men and women has been accompanied by a homewear collection and daywear products for women. The homewear collection is undergoing constant development in the lounge/leisurewear area, in combination with night and daywear. Functional materials have made it possible to conquer an entirely new area: beachwear, which makes full use of Nanso's colours and bold prints. The collections function in a range of situations associated with a leisurely lifestyle - at home and when travelling, whenever there is a chance to relax and enjoy the moment.
Today's Nanso wants to create a name for itself also among new, young consumers. The consumer of the future is an adult, young at heart, for whom clothes are merely something casual to wear from morning till night.
Nanso makes everyday clothes to be worn by everyday women. But beautiful clothes - wrap dresses, shirt dresses, shift dresses, pull-on skirts, small tops... - made from delightful materials like velour and terry towelling. Nanso has rehabilitated the housedress and other comfort-dressing staples and I have spent liberally there.
The Nanso shop can be found at Mikonkatu 2, Helsinki.
My other Helsinki clothing favourites are:
30 June 2004
So, I've been living in Helsinki for six months now. For the first four I was teleworking for the BBC and commuting back to London twice a month. Most often the trip from Helsinki to London was easier than making my way from one end of London to the other.
For the last two months I've mostly been enjoying summer idleness: reading (the definite highlights were The Phantom Museum: Henry Wellcome's Medical Mysteries and Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy) and setting myself the occasional project, e.g. installing and configuring a wiki on my iBook. I have also been properly immersing myself in my local surrounds (enjoying Juhannus, kayaking on the Baltic, cycling Helsinki) and guiding visiting friends.
It has been good but somewhat spoiling. So, in a couple of weeks I start the next phase of my Helsinki life by joining Sulake, the games development company behind Habbo (a virtual hotel where teenagers hang out and collect 'furni' to decorate their rooms). I can't wait!
(All pictures pilfered from Matt)
01 November 2003
We're in Helsinki. It is as dark as expected but less cold, despite what the the leafy snowballs around the place suggest. Matt has a nameplate on his oversized door ('5 Jones'); I know the word for organic ('luomu'); there is a canoe shed on the water just near the apartment; abundant wireless connectivity in Café Kiasma; and I've found a map of the allotments in Central Park.
So we're very much settled.
Except for the fact that I return to London on Tuesday...