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Travel as a Tool: exhibition in Helsinki

Is it possible to take a holiday during the coronavirus pandemic? Few other topics are currently attracting such intense discussion. Rather than focussing on taking time off work for a break, the Travel as a Tool exhibition at Design Museum Helsinki is all about travel as a personal experience and source of inspiration. The exhibition runs from 1 June 2020 to 7 March 2021 and can also be viewed virtually on the museum’s website. It explores the importance of travel for the work of Nordic designers from the 1940s to the present day. Photographs, diaries, letters, films and objects are used to illustrate the travels of architects and designers such as Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck, Saara Hopea, Arne Jacobsen, Tina Ratzer, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Jørn Utzon, Hans J. Wegner and many more as a source of new ideas and opportunities for forging new contacts. Along the way, new materials and previously unfamiliar manufacturing methods are discovered, while exhibitions and events offer chances to form international ties. The exhibition features the travels of more than 40 designers, many of whom travelled for very different reasons and ventured to destinations near and far. For some, the journey was a simple necessity – due to the political situation, war or intolerable personal circumstances. The show curated by Anna Vihma (Design Museum Helsinki), Elna Svenle (Vandalorum) and Anne Blond (Tønder Art Museum) consequently shines a light on the highly varied motives, aspects and results of designers’ travels.

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