See Helsinki and get lost in the city's inimitable literature of style
CGTN

Helsinki, the Finnish capital, is one of Europe's fastest-growing cities, and while the prospect of visiting a library may not seem a typical starting point for appreciation, you'd be wise to break the rules for the just-opened Helsinki Central Library Oodi, designed by Finnish studio ALA Architects.

"The serene atmosphere invites visitors to read, learn, think and enjoy themselves," explain the architects of this "book heaven." In fact, "learn, think and enjoy" might be the perfect tagline for Finland and buzzy Helsinki, which continues to host increasing numbers of Chinese visitors to the city,  – 221,000 in 2017 – making China the country's fifth-largest source of tourists.

The staircase of Helsinki Central Library Oodi, Helsinki, Finland, November 31, 2018. /VCG Photo

The staircase of Helsinki Central Library Oodi, Helsinki, Finland, November 31, 2018. /VCG Photo

Like any book, don't judge Library Oodi by its cover. Once inside, among its remarkable discoveries are 3D printers, sewing machines and gaming rooms, walls bedecked with Finnish words, a VR art exhibition space and a cinema. Barely four months since its opening, Library Oodi already has the feel of being every Finlandia's favorite new living room. You could even take a first date there.

Style and sophistication sit so effortlessly with social accessibility and simplicity in Helsinki that more than a lifestyle, they feel like a divine right. Design and Helsinki are natural bedfellows – and perhaps all those long, dark winters and short, almost night-less summers make nature the place's most appropriated inspiration. 

One of the rooms at Helsinki Central Library Oodi, November 30, 2018. /VCG Photo

One of the rooms at Helsinki Central Library Oodi, November 30, 2018. /VCG Photo

Punavuori, home to the city's design district, comprises 25 streets and more than 200 retail nirvana. The Littala and Arabia Design Centre, bringing together two of Finland's most famous labels, is the newest addition to the area. More than just a window into the past, present and future of ceramics and glassware, the center invites you to interact with working artists and explore your own creativity through guided tours, lectures and events.

Located inside is The Design Lab, an inspired space for new ideas and unexpected creativity that's open to designers, visitors, students and the eternally curious. With free Wi-Fi and coffee, color guides and inspirational books, it's a design shrine to the continuous process of experimentation, much like the city and its residents. You can spend days in this science-meets-medicine-meets-architecture-meets-art gallery space and never get bored. 

Helsinki Central Library Oodi opened to the public on December 5, 2018. /VCG Photo

Helsinki Central Library Oodi opened to the public on December 5, 2018. /VCG Photo

After, pop into Finnish furniture studio Nikari, which makes custom-built pieces for Icelandic singer Björk, among others, or the also life-enhancing concept store and gallery Lokal, home to independent Finnish art, design and craft.

(Cover: Helsinki Cathedral in Finland. /VCG Photo)

Source(s): China Daily