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Tuesday

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Thoughts On Helsinki

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by Brian Haven
@ 10:49 PM

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Fortunately, my visit to Espoo, Finland to visit Nokia allowed me a little time to explore Helsinki.  Wandering around the downtown area, I noticed a couple things. There are bars everywhere, and a lot of them look pretty swanky. Every casual furniture store (and they are plentiful) looks like Design Within Reach. Hair salons are the Starbucks of Helsinki--I couldn't believe how many there were.

The architecture was interesting. Most of the old buildings have a strong Russian influence, not surprising since Finland was under Russian rule until the early 20th Century
helsinki.jpg[Helsinki Train Station]
But most of the new buildings exhibited very modern design--very different from what you see in the U.S. Seeing all the great new architecture (a country clearly willing to take risks) reminded me how pathetic our architectural culture is here in the states.

I suppose it really goes to our design culture here. Overall, this country really doesn't appreciate design--which is evident when you travel to Europe and see how innovate the architecture is there. I always wonder what happens to all those aspiring young architects and their grand visions. They enter the work force only to be numbed by clients looking to save a buck. I find it hard to believe that there aren't some great U.S. based architects out there, but there work just doesn't get to shine through.

The few hours I spent in Helsinki were pretty gloomy from a weather perspective, so I look forward to visiting again in a warmer season.

 

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