Design Knowledge Intermediary
Habitare Ahead 2011

Opening: Closed
Closing: Closed

Habitare, the largest furniture, interior decoration and design fair in Finland, will once again gather together professionals and the public at the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre from 14 to 18 September 2011.

Habitare's international Ahead! design area will introduce exciting new designs, familiar design classics, the latest materials and innovative solutions in interior decoration. Ahead! is a commercial showcase for Finnish and foreign design brands, designers, institutions and other actors in the field.

As previously, the Ahead! themes are in touch with current phenomena. The 2011 theme is ‘transformation’. The annual theme is primarily a statement that acts as a guideline for Ahead! content design, related events, architecture, communications and marketing.

A time of transformation

The economic slumps, even depressions, of recent years, as well as the natural phenomena and people’s response to them, are yet another reminder of the frailty of society. The changes happening around us force us to think and act differently, be flexible and evolve. Eventually, when we can no longer control everything ourselves, we must change. Changes can be big or small. What is certain is that we are currently living in constant change. The economy, climate, society and technology will continue to change, and with it, we the people and the way we go about our lives. The flow of changes can easily wash you away and uproot you if you refuse to confront it. Change can be a threat but also an opportunity; without change, there is no evolution. Mankind is in many ways approaching its limits. We increasingly have to make choices and abandon things that we have taken for granted or grown accustomed to. Our survival hinges on our ability to evolve.

The changes also pose new challenges to design. Competition is intensifying, the ways of the trade are changing, and customer behaviour is becoming increasingly unpredictable. In many sectors of design, the recession has necessitated change and a new mindset. The companies who have acknowledged the changes in their operating environment and have been able to react to them are the ones to survive in the future. A company’s sensitivity to detect customer needs and its ability to differentiate itself from others in the field are the prerequisites for its survival. Design has become an increasingly important competitive factor also for businesses other than traditional design companies, who in turn will have to consider new types of business models. With the ‘transformation’ theme, Ahead! wants to get a debate going and take a stand on current phenomena in design.

Ahead! design area to be housed in a new hall
The new modern hall 7 will make its debut in conjunction with the Habitare fair. The tall and impressive hall is located east of hall 6. Ahead! will be housed in hall 7 together with the Interiore public space area and the Light event.

In 2011, the exhibition architecture of the Ahead! design area will be the responsibility of Sotamaa Design.

Ahead! and exciting related events
Serving as a meeting place for interior decoration and design professionals and enthusiasts, Ahead! features high-quality exhibitors, and to make things even more attractive, many exciting related events.

The EcoDesign special exhibition is a review of ecological design, with a new theme and curator every year. The international special exhibition focuses on current issues and innovations in design from the point of view of ecology. The exhibition is produced by the advertising agency Valo in collaboration with the Finnish Fair Corporation.

The year 2011 will see the Habitare Design Competition take place for the tenth time. The competition is open to all designers, architects and design students aged 35 or younger based in Finland, or teams whose members meet these criteria. The aim of the competition is to promote Finnish design and provide opportunities for young designers and architects. The designs to reach the finals will be presented in the Ahead! design area. The Habitare Design Competition is organised by the Finnish Fair Corporation in collaboration with the Aalto University School of Art and Design.

Protoshop is an event that highlights bold new design and seeks business partners and manufacturer contacts for designers. Protoshop is produced by the designer group Imu Design and the Finnish Fair Corporation.

The Habitare Collection is a joint project of the Finnish Fair Corporation and the Design Museum, and it will now be on display in the Ahead! area for the second time. After the show, the collection will be added as part of the Design Museum’s permanent collection.

The Reading Corner, with its high-quality design and architecture publications, will offer visitors a tranquil oasis for reading and relaxation, while at the same time giving the audience information about the publishing and exhibition activities of Finnish museums. The Reading Corner is produced by the Alvar Aalto Museum, Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The implementing organisation in 2011 is the Design Museum.

The year 2011 is a jubilee year for the designer Professor Kaj Franck, as one hundred years will have passed since his birth. Habitare’s Ahead!, together with Design Forum Finland and design institutions, will celebrate Franck’s special year. Design Forum Finland will present the exhibition of the recipient of the Kaj Franck Design Prize in the Ahead! area and produce a special panel discussion at the Forum to honour the jubilee. For the year 2011, Ahead! has given all institutions the task of discussing Franck’s design philosophy and its relationship to today's design.

Habitare, the largest furniture, interior decoration and design fair in Finland, covers everything from interior decoration to functional design, from private homes to public spaces. It will be organised at the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre from 14 to 18 September 2011. Habitare will include the Ahead! design area, the Interiore public space area, and the Light, ArtHelsinki and Salon events, all accessible with the same ticket.