Creative Finland – Finnish architecture, design and industry – has been a strong presence in American culture, since at least the mid-twentieth century. The contemporary design relationships between the two nations are equally notable and worthy of illustration in the Embassy of Finland, Washington, DC, on the occasion of the centenary celebration of Finland’s independence.
THE ICONIC AND THE EVERYDAY exhibition proposes an explicit condensed assertion of the contemporary presence and influence of Finnish design, industry and identity in the United States. Two exhibition displays are interwoven, each of which can be seen simultaneously as both “iconic” and “everyday” in character.
The most clearly “iconic” is the distilled exhibition of the primary architectural works Finnish architects have contributed to American life, either in built form or in projected form; the built works by Eliel Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen and Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen have also become part of the “everyday” life of those who inhabit them. The most clearly “everyday” is the exhibition of the objects, tools, furniture, and implements of Finnish design and industrial production that populate and activate the daily lives of American citizens – a density of Finnish identity often without any acknowledgement. But these objects, too, possess an “iconic” character in the clarity and purposefulness of their design.
The exhibition ambition is to produce a composite understanding of the presence and strength of Finnish architecture, design and industry in the lives of everyday Americans – and to benefit both nations’ mutual appreciation and understanding.
The exhibition’s installation components are lightweight, simply assembled, made primarily of wood, and suggestive of a landscape: a forested shoreline, perhaps. The iconic images of architecture are organized and incorporated into four panels punctuating the sinuous rhythm of the installation cabinets and shelves. The everyday objects of Finnish design and manufacture are composed into both singular and serial displays of the actual things – available for both the eye and the hand.
The exhibition has the endorsement of the Suomi/Finland 100 Program of the President of Finland, and is partially funded by the Program.
Koskisen Plywood of Finland is the significant corporate sponsor of the exhibition and has provided the plywood material for the installation.
Open on Wednesdays from 3pm to 7pm.
Open on the following weekend dates from 11am to 4pm
June 3-4, 11
July 2, 9, 16, 30
August 6, 12-13
This event is part of the European Month of Culture (EUMC). Now in its fifth year, EUMC is a month-long festival of innovative and creative events for the American public highlighting the diverse cultures of all 28 European Union Member countries. Enjoy film, dance, music, theatre, exhibits, language classes, workshops and more in great venues throughout Washington DC. Most events are free! To see all EUMC events, click here.