29.01.11 – This is not the first time I have ridden the Helsinki 6 tram  to the end of the line in Arabianranta, a fast growing residential area and home to the Arabia ceramics and glassware factory. Last time I went to the area, I spent my time outdoors walking along the waterline and taking in the frozen beauty of the Viikki natural reserve. My goal on this visit was to focus on the Arabia factory and what it held inside.
The Arabia ceramics factory has a long history in Finland, originally founded in 1873, and their tableware products and ttimeless design are highly appreciated at home as well as abroad. Although the factory is still an active production center for the Iittala Group, the current owner, the main building is also home to the Aalto University of Art and Design and the Arabia Museum as well as outlets and shops for some of Finland’s most popular and highly regarded brands; Iittala, Marimekko, Friskars, Finlayson, Pentik and Opa.
I spent some time walking through the Marimekko and Iittala shops taking in the all the patterns and color before heading to the Aralis Library, a branch of the Helsinki City Library, located on the same floor. Where the shops were busy with shoppers and bursting with color, the library was a quiet retreat with comfortable art deco chairs and the area was awash in soft light because the library is housed in a big glass roofed internal courtyard. I sat down for a while and checked out the other people in the library which was a nice mix of everything from university students working away at computers and notebooks to small children sprawling out on the floor with picture books. Everyone was coexisting in peace.
It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to get going. I was starting to fall asleep in my chair ;) I headed out and took a long walk along the waterline to freshen up and head home.
- European Commission’s design secretariat to locate in Helsinki (core77.com)
- Arabia’s Canvas (tbeidler.wordpress.com)
- Helsinki in BlacKeys B+W and John S (tbeidler.wordpress.com)