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Pekka Timonen

The year-long title of World Design Capital was confirmed for Helsinki back in the last months of 2009. How did the last two years of organizing go?

It's been hard work, with a noticeable shortage of time. For such a large project, two years is not enough. But here we are!

Are there any provisions for organizing an event like this, something like a handbook?

The charm in the work of organizing the World Design Capital lies in the fact that there are no provisions – every city can do as it pleases.

Our approach, for example, is very different from that of Seoul's (South Korea, World Design Capital of 2010), whereas Capetown's will be very much like ours.

As Executive Director of the World Design Capital, what is your motto?

“Plan less!” You have to plan a lot anyway, but don't overdo it. You have to give way to events and people that inspire, so that at the end, you can see how some very successful – but unforeseen – aspects worked themselves into the program.

In your opinion, what will be the highlights of the events program, and how should people interested in the World Design Capital phenomenon plan their visit to Helsinki?

The months of May and September will be very active and event-filled periods during WDC Helsinki 2012.

In May, we will unveil the pavilion that will be operating the whole of the summer season, and which will be the main hub of WDC Helsinki 2012. The pavilion will be located in a spot that has been undeveloped until now – between the Finnish Museum of Architecture and the Design Museum. Students from Aalto University have come up with the pavilion's architecture and interior design, and the innovative Finnish forest production company, UPM, will build the unique wooden structure. The pavilion's program has also been created in cooperation with the Finnish Museum of Architecture, the Design Museum and Aalto University.

Several exhibitions will also be opening in May, the most notable being the open-air INDEX: Award 2011 Exhibition, which will be open for viewing from May 1 through June 30. In monetary terms, the INDEX Award is one of the world's largest design prizes. The works of the 60 finalists from 2011 will be put on view in Helsinki's urban environment – displayed in specially-made black, futuristic stands. The philosophy of INDEX is not to award just quality design, but to award works that are socially active and truly improve the lives of people all around the world. The competition gives out five awards in the categories of “Body”, “Home”, “Work”, “Play” and “Community”.

The Masters of Arts (MoA) festival will take place May 12 – 29, which is organized by Aalto University's School of Art, Design and Architecture. MoA will include presentations of graduate dissertations, the Aalto University Showcase, as well as exhibitions that will reveal the world outlook of the newest design-generation .

Helsinki Design Week will take place in September. From September 6 through 16, the event will bring together both local and international designers, with the main goal of keeping the creation of a fertile environment at eye-level, so that designers can gain recognition and establish new international contacts.

A “mini expo” of sorts will take place in Helsinki September 6-16, in which the rough and industrial Suvilahti territory will be given over to Everyday Discoveries – an exhibition of the latest achievements in design. The organizer of the exhibition is the Finnish Design Forum. Leading design organizations from 20 countries will present their latest design concepts that all have the goal of improving the quality of life. The WDC Helsinki 2012 program is made up of several hundred exhibitions and events; to choose the best time and events that match your interests, we recommend that you take a look at the complete program of events on our homepage,