Wednesday, 17 October 2012


HEL/LO – Let’s Talk hosted Helsinki and London speakers throughout 2012 at four design and architecture discussions, and showed that speaking really is gold. To celebrate the rich life of the HEL/LO series, we have gathered some of the highlights from the months gone by:

In April, we said “HELLO HELSINKI, HELLO LONDON!” and launched our website, while our partner Blueprint magazine offers a teaser preview in their May issue. 

Designers Emmi Salonen and Chrissie Macdonald sent us the preliminary plans for the customised HEL/LO stage. We instantly love the ideas – and the eye candy.


"The conversation was bubbling away and, like so many conversations that occur at that ungodly hour, the topics covered meandered from architecture, to design, to film, to family, to the price of houses, to the price of beer, to who will buy the next drink, back to architecture, to art, to whether we should all go home…"

– Owen Pritchard, the series’ co-curator, shares memories from how HEL/LO was born in Helsinki.

Photo by Aleksi Niemelä.

The HEL/LO series launched on a beautiful May evening in the steaming hot Gopher Hole basement in Shoreditch, London. HEL/LO – Let’s Talk About Dreams demonstrated that it can be important to think the impossible in order to start something new – and to actively share your dreams with the people around you.

"HEL/LO is a great example of a proactive Helsinki that greets the world with a new sense of self-confidence."

After the first HEL/LO talk, one of the Finnish newspapers Hufvudstadsbladet commented on our event.


While London prepared for the biggest sporting event of the year, we launched the theme for our second HEL/LO talk – games – and asked Martti Kalliala to elaborate on the relationship of games and cities:

Photo: Katja Hagelstam-Tanttu
“Games and the processes that constitute the building and existence of a city are not only analogous but in fact share similar structures and organizing principles.” 

In preparation of the second talk, we were treated to a glimpse behind the scenes of the HEL/LO designers.  We were absolutely thrilled to learn that the interview meant we would also capture what might be London’s most colourful workspace. 


Photo by Aleksi Niemelä

Our second discussion HEL/LO – Let’s Talk About Games, held at the fantastic new arts venue White Building in Hackney Wick, discussed the relationship between cities, public space and games. It touched on the politics and economics of design, while discussing what it means to be serious about being silly... 

Photo by Aleksi Niemelä


In August, we released the details for the last two HEL/LO talks, the first of which is to travel to Helsinki during Helsinki Design Week in September. The Finnish magazine Gloria greets our Helsinki event with open arms and calls our choice of theme and venue “a perfect mix”. Our HEL/LO 3 venue, the Pavilion, also attracted the attention of the British press. 


With two talks at two major design events in Helsinki and London, HEL/LO – Let's Talk really did have an exciting September. 
Photo by Veikko Kähkönen
HEL/LO – Let’s Talk About Alternatives brought the discussion to Helsinki 12 September, during Helsinki Design Week. We talked about alternative ways of thinking and doing in design, and drank hot autumn toddies.

A week later our designers set up the custom-made HEL/LO stage for the last time at designjunction, one of London Design Festival’s main venues. The fourth and final discussion HEL/LO – Let’s Talk About Tomorrow turned out to be a feisty exchange of ideas. 

Blueprint magazine’s editor Johnny Tucker, who moderated the talk, sums up the night aptly:
Photo by Aleksi Niemelä
“Tuomas Toivonen burst into song and Rachel Armstrong treated us to a discussion of a metaphysical chicken. And that was just for starters – the discussion that followed and was forthright and extremely entertaining. Who would have predicted that the two Finnish panel members would eventually plump for a vision of the future as envisaged by Nicole Kidman!”

The HEL/LO team wishes to thank all speakers who took part in the HEL/LO –Let’s Talk series: Alex Warnock-Smith, Andreas Lang, Annamari Vänskä, Asif Khan, Chee-Kit Lai, Dick Powell, Hella Hernberg, Je Ahn, Krista Kosonen, Maria Smith, Martti Kalliala, Max Dewdney, Olli Sirén, Rachel Armstrong, Sean Griffiths, Timo Salli, Tomas Träskman, Torange Khonsari, Tuomas Toivonen.