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Finland’s Art Scene is Booming — Here’s What to See

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To take in the best of the Nordic art scene, head out of Helsinki and into the countryside.

It’s been a big year in Helsinki’s art world. The Finnish capital is wrapping up its second Biennial and celebrating the 150th anniversary of its Design Museum. But even frequent visitors may not know that some of the country’s most inspiring cultural attractions lie just outside the city.

In April, Chappe opened in the bayside town of Ekenäs, about an hour’s drive west of Helsinki. Billed as “an art house by the sea,” it was conceived and funded by the prominent Finnish geneticist Albert de la Chapelle, who died in 2020. The architecture firm JKMM — the same team behind Helsinki’s popular Amos Rex museum — created a bright space with high, timber-lined ceilings. It’s perfect for large-scale contemporary exhibitions like “Climate & Art — Alternative Approaches,” one of the opening shows, which includes mixed-media photography and sound installations.

Thirty minutes’ drive north of Ekenäs is Fiskars, a former ironworks village that’s known for its namesake orange-handled scissors. Now home to more than a hundred artisans, many of whom belong to the cooperative Onoma, the town draws 200,000 visitors every year. To meet demand, boutique hotel the Torby opened in a former paper factory in June, with lighting and furniture provided by Finnish designers.

Since 2019, Fiskars creators have organized the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale, bringing together both local and international artists in pop-up exhibitions. The next one takes place in May 2024, but the designers operate their shops year-round. At Jalo, goldsmith Timo Mustajärvi recycles old jewelry into custom pieces. You’ll find imaginative leather jewelry and bags by Leanika Korn at Leanika, while at Bianco Blu, glass artist Tarmo Maaronen sells quirky figurines and holds glassblowing workshops. One of the best places to pick up a souvenir for home is the Fiskars Shop, which also features Finnish manufacturers like the pottery house Arabia, the cutlery maker Hackman, and the glassware brand Iittala.

Source: Travel Leisure

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