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In the background, a man climbing a white curved staircase; in the front a close-up of a red furry tecture.
JKMM Architects, Seinäjoki Main Library Apila, 2012. photo: Mika Huisman

The first week of February is a celebration of Finnish architecture and design

Finnish Architecture and Design Days aim to open our eyes to the architecture and design that surround us in our daily lives. Building knowledge of our built environment reinforces ownership and inclusion.

Since 2012, Finnish architecture has been celebrated on February 3rd, the birthday of architect and designer Alvar Aalto (1898–1976). Last February, the event was piloted as a shared celebration of architecture and design, when eleven organisations of the fields put forward a motion to establish the day as a national flag-flying day. The motion has now been approved by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior.

Finland is known for its architecture and design, but unlike literature, poetry and music, these art forms have not previously had their own flag-flying day. The motion points out that architecture and design have played an essential role in developing the Finnish welfare state and its identity – our core values democracy, education, peace and nature, are manifested in them. And what would be a more suitable day for celebrating these than the birthday of our most renowned architect and designer, Alvar Aalto.

This year on February 3rd, for the fist time ever, all Finnish government agencies and institutions will hoist the nation’s flag for Alvar and Aino Aalto and for Finnish architecture and design. Everyone who wants to celebrate is invited to hoist the Finnish flag, too, or to participate in the virtual flag-flying on social media by adding a theme frame to their profile picture.

From February 3rd to 6th, a series of events – on site and online – are organised under the theme ‘Everlasting design’ by numerous actors of the fields. The events aim to bring awareness to how architecture and design can create ecologically, socially, economically and aesthetically sustainable environments and objects that last from generation to generation. By investing in good design we can fight against throw-away culture.

The events are accompanied by a social media campaign focusing on long-lasting and sustainable buildings and design objects that are dear to us. The wide audience are invited to post photos on Instagram and other social media channels with a description and the tags #arkmuoto and #kestokulttuuri. A selection of the photos will be shared on the event’s Instagram account @arkmuoto, and also the organisations behind the campaign will share them in their feed.

Finnish Architecture and Design Days are organised by Archinfo Finland, Alvar Aalto Foundation, Museum of Finnish Architecture, Designmuseum, Ornamo, EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Association of Finnish Architects’ Offices ATL, Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), The Building Information Foundation RTS, Finnish Association of Landscape Architects MARK and Finnish Association of Interior Architects SIO.

More information (in Finnish) and the event programme can be found at arkmuoto.fi.


Edit on 24.1.2022: The motion for the national flag-flying day was approved and is no longer being processed in the Finnish Ministry of the Interior. The Ministry has demanded the government agencies and institutions to hoist the Finnish flag.