Pattern Pulp

Marimekko around Helsinki

This photo pretty much sums up my travels in Helsinki. Justin would explore (or wait) while I browsed with my iphone or Canon in hand, asking shop owners about their tchotchkes and the history behind their trinkets. Every once in a while I’d leave with a necklace, light bulb or keychain (or instagram a longing for something like this).

Like I mentioned in the Johanna Gullichsen feature, fabric is often sold on the premises and it’s no different at Marimekko, where the options are graphic and plentiful.

Here are a bunch of photos I took from inside the main store that houses clothing, artwork, books, toys, homewear and playful decor. Coming from America, where the uptown store feels like Marimekko-light, the hometown store is truly special.

From a retail and merchandising perspective, the flow and lighting compliment each other to tell a bright and whimsical story. Various patterns are assigned to different corners, capturing you in a textured atmosphere. I of course gravitated to the black and white sections first, then moved along to the polka dots and flowers.

Who remembers the delightful girls from Gone to Lunch? Doesn’t this wall speak to their dressing room jaunts?

Much like J.Crew and Kate Spade have filled their walls with art and literature, Marimekko’s wall and floor display tell a timeline of Finnish design history, including the company’s own.

As you can see, the brand’s patterns are woven throughout the city- they’re a part of everyday life, no matter where you turn. Here are tablecloths at an outdoor eating area.

I sometimes felt like a madwoman briskly following people with a camera (read: 1 in 5) were dressed in Marimekko patterns. It’s fascinating and exhilarating to see a brand so entirely embraced by the society that’s produced it.

A few more examples: a vintage bookstore incorporates the iconic black and white  print as a backdrop for it’s books.

And upon my exit at the Helsinki Airport, the dishes and trays are covered in Marimekko patterns. There’s a true appreciation for design within the fabric of the culture- and aside from the obvious label, it was easy to see why this city was named the Design Capital of the year.


Tracking Repetitive + Awesome.
On Instagram.