Helsinki (Finland) – The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 year had a positive impact on visitor numbers for Virka Gallery, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum.

A double jubilee for Helsinki, which in addition to holding the World Design Capital title celebrated its bicentennial as the Finnish capital, created unprecedented interest in what the city has to offer among residents and visitors alike. Visitor numbers for Virka Gallery, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum were up on the previous year.

Exhibition Flush! stirred emotions

The number of visitors to Helsinki City Hall’s Virka Gallery and information point, Virka Info, rose to 162,699 in 2012, up 31 per cent compared to the previous year.

A special WDC Helsinki 2012 exhibition entitled “Flush!”, housed in the City Hall’s restrooms, attracted 125,510 visitors in six months.
The exhibition, built mainly around media art and photography, created a lot of interest and stirred up emotions both for and against.

For the most part, visitors reacted positively to the unusual exhibition space, commending the city for its unconventional approach and excellent public services.

The Pavilion brought new life to its surroundings

The positive effects of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 on visitor numbers were also felt at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, where the number of visits almost doubled on the previous year. During the Pavilion’s months of opening, the museum had up to four times the normal number of visitors.

The Museum of Finnish Architecture used the Pavilion as a venue for a number of different public events ranging from film screenings to debates. The museum also struck up many new collaborations and successfully reached out to new audiences. The Pavilion and the WDC Helsinki 2012 activities gave the museum a perfect platform for highlighting the many different aspects of architecture as well as opening up discussion on the role and significance of architecture in the city.

The number of visitors to the Design Museum’s various exhibition spaces and premises during WDC Helsinki 2012 amounted to some 130,500, which is up by around 13,000–15,000 on 2011.

About World Design Capital® (WDC)

While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens. The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to feature their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight their successes in urban revitalisation strategies.

The World Design Capital is an initiative established and managed by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Past cities to hold the title include Torino (Italy) in 2008 and Seoul (South Korea) in 2010. The City of Helsinki (Finland) is currently implementing its programme for 2012 under the theme of Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life, whilst preparations for Cape Town (South Africa) are underway for 2014.