Helsinki is known internationally as a city of design and at its heart is the Design District.
Design District Helsinki is a large cluster of stores, restaurants and more, with creativity as the common factor aside from their location, spreading out from the hub of the Diana Park in Erottaja, at the south end of Mannerheimintie, extending in all directions from the park.
The DDH blocks embrace some 25 streets and 170 stores, from jewellery workshops to tapas bars, from galleries to clothing shops and design agencies and interior architects, and even a couple of boutique hotels.
There is no precise boundary to the area, and DDH is a kind of work in progress, living all the while. The places are easy to spot by the circular black “Design District” logo on the street doors.
For the fashionistas
Samuji (Erottajankatu 9 B) is one of Finland’s most successful fashion brands.
Samuji’s high-quality garments represent a simple practicality.
Shoe designer Minna Parikka at Aleksanterinkatu 36 is a wonderland for women who love super-feminine, high-heeled shoes. Parikka’s shoes are often playful and seductive and have a retro feel.
Fredrikinkatu, familiarly known as ”Freda”, is one of the Design District Helsinki shopping streets, and along both sides of its impressive length there are dozens of small boutiques selling fashionwear and home decoration items.
Check out Casuarina (Fredrikinkatu 30) for timeless east-meets-west furniture, Pino (Fredrikinkatu 22) for the most charming small things or Peroba (Fredrikinkatu 33) for industrial style with a twist.
Art Galleries and Antique Shops
It is also worth exploring the streets that branch off Fredrikinkatu. Bulevardi, for instance, is a great location for art galleries and antique shops, and where Bulevardi meets the sea at Hietalahti there is a large and bustling flea-market in the summer months.
Or walking a bit further still off the beaten track, step inside Factory St. Gallery (Tehtaankatu 19) in Eira, and have a slice of their delicious pie with a good espresso, enjoying the view looking out over Huvilakatu.
The art exhibitions here change regularly and it’s always a surprise to see what’s hanging on it’s walls. The have a mini pop-up store with products from up and coming local designers.