One thing the Finns do have is a strong connection with the natural world. It comes through in their design, art and architecture. In a country of rock, water and vast forests, it is natural to want to incorporate these elements in everything.
Helsinki’s Church of the Rock is certainly one strong representation of nature. Instead of clearing the granite to make way for the church, it has been built into it.
The builders have tried to use only local materials – even the copper dome that makes up the roof. It’s used for Lutheran services and also for concerts as the acoustics inside are very good.
In a nearby park is a sculpture dedicated to Finland’s most renowned composer, Jean Sibelius.
It is a bit abstract, but with a bit of imagination, you might be able to see that the ‘organ pipes’ represent a birch forest.
Design-wise, Helsinki must have one of the largest design districts anywhere, with plenty of clothing, homewear, furniture, and everything else in between, being offered by designers. The products weren’t exactly the cheapest (ie. Ikea) but they were very good looking and of great quality.