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The Finnish Capital Celebrates the Darkest Days of the Year with the Season of Light City Festival
Mercy, Mikki Kunttu. Photo Ralph Larmann.
FINLAND.- The Season of Light city festival turned the Helsinki city center into an inspiring journey of light from New Year’s eve through January 9, 2011. A series of installations transformed familiar city neighborhoods with the help of light art into mystical environments and stimulating experiences, presenting Helsinki’s historic city center in new perspectives.

The journey started from Village of Light by Jouko Kärkkäinen in the Esplanade Park, consisting of glowing minimalistic miniature houses.

A tall cross in front of the iconic Helsinki Cathedral displayed Mercy, a media artwork by Finnish light artist Mikki Kunttu featuring powerful images of the Christian faith created by LED technology. The work was accompanied by music that filled the square, and it was supported by light effects projected onto surrounding buildings.

Starting from Senate Square, the Unioninkatu street displayed 100 years by German artist Martin Kuhn. The street, closed to traffic, was illuminated by special light columns utilizing LED technology to produce a performance of rhythmically changing colors and combinations of light accentuated by sound. Along the route of 100 years, the fire circus group Walkea gave performances that celebrated the beauty of fire.

The journey of light continued through the Kaivopuisto Park. Here Finnish lighting designer Tülay Schakir’s Good Light – Bad Light highlighted the park’s natural features with illuminated trees and changing lights of various colors.

The Sanoma media corporation’s headquarters building hosted Stage Emotions, a photo exhibition by German photographer Ralph Larmann featuring light design for stage including rock concerts, opera and shows.

The journey ended at Parliament House with Soul of Suomi (“soul of Finland”) by Swedish light artist Per Sundin, who bathed the front of the building with Finnish national symbols and colors.

The Season of Light city festival is an annual event produced by the City of Helsinki with the city’s energy company Helsingin Energia as a founding partner.

Helsinki is World Design Capital 2012, so designated by the Industrial Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid). The biennial designation recognizes one city at a time for achievements and commitment to design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic progress.

Helsinki’s theme for the year 2012 is Open Helsinki – Embedding Design in Life, which reflects how Finnish society has been shaped and continues to move forward on principles where design plays crucial and inherent roles.



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