Helsinki Kawaii Guide by Edition Paumes

The Helsinki Kawaii Guide is all about design, cafés and other lovely finds – in other words your guide to the best Helsinki has to offer! We love these curated, independent city guides off the beaten track that allow visitors and locals alike dive deep into the local gems and all kinds of lovely things. Design being rooted in the Helsinki DNA the creatives are truly sizzling as we speak. So many projects, networks, events, publications, talks and meetings later of the major year as World Design Capital Helsinki is now maybe more alive than ever.

Kawaii Guide is soon for sale at Akateeminen bookstore. We cannot wait.

One of the lovely Helsinki finds! Winter ties from the playful Secret Shop in front of Kiasma by designerduo Johan Olin and Aamu Song.

Winterties by Johan Olin and Aamu Song

helsinki:now is seeking guest bloggers

‘Too much work not enough time.’

We love this city and have so much to write about – but as it is can be with projects of passion – they often get sidetracked by the regular ‘full-time’ job.

Anyhow, you may have noticed that we’ve been a bit absent with our posts (a major tragedy especially with so much cool stuff happening during the World Design Capital year).  So, we’re now seeking guest bloggers to help keep helsinki:now active.

Love the city?  Love to write?  Want to help spread the word?   Let us know by posting a comment or dropping a note to

Kiitti, thanks, tack!

The helsinki:now gang

Welcome to the Helsinki Documentary Film Festival (24-29.1)

Next week kicks off the annual Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, otherwise known as DocPoint.

Established in 2001, DocPoint is the largest documentary film festival in the Nordic countries and in Finland it’s the only festival solely dedicated to documentary films.  Each year the festival offers both a national and an international selection of the best new films and celebrated classics, along with a special selection just for children.  And the good news for the English speaking crowd is that the majority of films are either in English or are subtitled in English.

Last year’s festival drew attendance of over 30,000 and we anticipate that with this year’s great program it will garner as much, if not more, attention.

My personal ‘must see’ is Finnsurf.   A film from the folks at Pablo that brings new meaning to the idea of extreme sport and the words ‘surf’s up’.

See you there!

Information is available online or at the DocPoint information center at the Lasipalatsi Gallery, Mannerheimintie 22–24.  Map here.  Opening hours: On Monday from 12am–6pm and on Tue – Sun from 11am–9pm.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Helsinki’s ‘Pop-up’ Restaurant Day

photo by Jonna Tammisto

On February 4th 2012 we’ll celebrate Finland’s 4th pop-up restaurant day – a trend we think is crazy fun and über cool.

The idea is really simple…for a day anyone can fulfill their dream of being a restauranteur. No permits needed. And no rules.  Pop-up restaurants may appear just about anywhere and last year we indulged in everything from an organic juice bar, tastes of Tokyo, a late night raw food kiosk, a soup kitchen, and at least one of my faves was a sandwich bar that lowered our goodies down in baskets from a quaint little apartment window. YUM!

If the upcoming Restaurant Day is anything like last year’s experience, then we’re in for an extraordinary treat.

photo by Roy Bäckstrom

photo by Kimmo Lind

photo by Roy Bäckman

photo by Anssi Kumpula

For more information visit the Restaurant Day (Ravintolapäivä) website or Ravintolapäiva on facebook (in Finnish).


NY Times names Helsinki as #2 in its ’45 Places to Go in 2012′

Today the NY Times ran a great editorial on where to go in 2012.  We were thrilled to see Helsinki in the #2 spot.  Enjoy.

For more info on World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 and all the happenings click here.

For happenings at the Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo) click here.

For opening hours, reservations and reviews of Helsinki restaurants including Chez Dominque and Olo visit

Recycled never looked so good

Brilliant thinking + Beautiful, functional design + Ecological = Globe Hope.

Globe Hope is the brainchild of Finnish textile designer, Seija Lukkala who simply got frustrated with the mad consumption pace going on within the textile industry and decided to put her expertise to action in creating a more ecological and sustainable future.

Globe Hope’s clothing and accessories save and reuse nature’s resources and respect ethical production. We love that they’re aesthetic, functional and idea-rich. And the use of ‘recycled materials’ is an absolute bonus. We’re sold!

In Helsinki you can find Globe Hope products at the Design Forum Finland, Pore Helsinki, Design Museum Shop plus at Globe Hope’s own stores:

Globe Hope Kiseleff (near Senate Square), Aleksanterinkatu 28  Map here.

Opening hours: 10-19 weekdays, 10-17 Saturdays, 12-17 Sundays

Globe Hope LasipalatsiMannerheimintie 22-24  Map here.

Opening hours: 9-18 weekdays, 10-17 Saturdays

An urban oasis

I’m surrounded by soft hues of magenta, tangerine, ochre, lavender and teal. Pillows are piled high. There are candles on every table. And my favorite magazines are within arm’s reach.

The late morning sun is creating a magnificent aura that is only enhanced by the sounds of reggae in the background and a giant latte in hand. Ahhh….  The place is as laid back as my own living room. And in true Helsinki style, I’m surfing the net at super high speed (gratis).

Welcome to Moko. An oasis in Helsinki. Part cafe. Part lifestyle boutique. An all around interior showpiece, that today is serving as my home away from home, and my office away from the office.

I’m happy.

Moko Market and Cafe opened its doors in September of 2006 and from day one has drawn a steady crowd from the production companies, ad agencies and creative studios that have cropped up in the neighborhood in recent years. As with most eclectic gems in Helsinki, it’s a bit off the beaten path for mainstream tourists which is part of its magic. It’s truly a neighborhood find.

Lunch time sets the place a buzz. Well clad (in a boho chic kind of way) Finns, Brits, Sweds and a few Americans make up the crowd today. The communal tables add to the suddenly bustling and super friendly atmosphere. The lunch fare is a healthy mix of salads, yummy sandwiches, fruit smoothies and the speciality pasta and ‘soup du jour’ – all reasonably priced and made daily with the freshest, organic ingredients.

A full-sized, hand-crafted playhouse for little ones co-exists alongside vintage furniture, travel books, gourmet food products and home accessories, and attracts the fashionable mom/baby crowd for a bit of coffee, conversation and playtime that keeps the place lively and kind of homey all afternoon.

But, for me the piece de résistance is tucked in a nook in the center of the space. A charming meeting room that I can only describe as ‘rustic cottage meets grandma’s dining room’.  You can reserve it at a moment’s notice. And like the WIFI, it’s gratis. Just order in goodies from the cafe and you’re all set.

As the music shifts from reggae to jazz, and the sunlight’s warmth starts to fade, I realize that I’ve hardly noticed the hours passing by. I’ve cracked through 100 emails, got the majority of a presentation written, bought some needed candles for the home, and got to share with you my experience. What a lovely way to spend a day out of the office.

I think I’ll be back tomorrow.

Moko Market and Cafe, Perhemiehenkatu 10, Helsinki
Map here.
Opening hours: 9-18 weekdays, 10-17 Saturdays

And while you’re in the Moko neighborhood…here are some other favorites.

Cafe Carusel – a great place right on the sea to catch some rays with a beer (or coffee) in hand.  And on those less than perfect days you can cozy around inside by the fireplace.  Free WIFI to boot.  Map here.

Neighborhood of Eira – beautiful old homes, some spectacular sea views and en route by foot to Cafe Carusel.  Map here.