Sleds, 1967. Photo by Museokeskus Vapriikki

From February 16 to April 8, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design will present the exhibition «100 Objects from Finland». The project is dedicated to the centenary of Finnish independence and offers a great opportunity to discover in an intriguing and creative manner what Finns themselves think about Finland and Finnishness.

Stories Editorial February 12, 2018

In the exhibition «100 Objects from Finland» at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (MDAD), each year of independence is represented by one object with an everyday, innovative or humorous mood. As a result, a unique collection of 100 objects has been made, showing a dynamic, successful and creative path of national development on which the Finns have travelled up to the present. Without a doubt, Finnish design is famous all over the world. Therefore, the exhibition brings to mind such notions as Made in Finland and Designed in Finland. Yet above all the exhibition shows Life in Finland.

Each object represents a story that is surprising in its own way, fostering a convincing image of the present, a powerful and strong Finland and the quality of life of the Finnish people made possible by the objects created by designers and their quality. For some, Finland may bring to mind the Aino Aalto glass which was made in 1932 but whose popularity is so enormous that it is still being manufactured. For others, the name of Finland is connected with Nokia, the manufacturer of mobile phones, which is represented in the exhibition by its first model of 1987, Mobira Cityman 900, which earned the nickname «Gorba phone», because in 1989 it was used by the president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev.

During the exhibition, the visitors will have the opportunity to purchase the snowflake–shaped safety reflectors whose contemporary–looking design was created in 1953. The Finns take pride in the fact that this popular and necessary object was invented not by a professional, but by farmer Arvi Lehti from the municipality of Pertteli at the turn of the 1940s and 50s.

The Finns think about the future of their nation and country. It is highly symbolical that the hundredth object, the object representing 2017 in the exhibition is a maternity package made by Kela, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Each year, the organisation presents this set of baby clothes and necessary items to 40 000 young mothers.

With the selection of the 100 objects and their presentation, the curators of the exhibition — writer, art historian Anna Kortelainen and designer Pekka Toivanen — want not only to tell about Finland but also to find the visitors’ answer to the question, which object from the hundred is most associated with Finnishness. Another opportunity of getting to know the exhibition and Finland is to take a closer look at the object which has been made in Finland on every visitor’s year of birth.

The exhibition has achieved huge success and before coming to Riga was shown in Helsinki, Tallinn, Oslo and Madrid. The MDAD has prepared a broad programme of accompanying events including creative workshops, meetings, excursions and other activities.

The exhibition «100 Objects from Finland» will be on show at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Skārņu iela 10/20, Riga, from February 16 to April 8. More information on the exposition and its satellite events can be found on the MDAD homepage.