Archive for September, 2007

September 23rd, 2007

Visited Design Market

Helsinki Design Week is once again going on together with Habitare (home furnishing expo). Our family is sick, except me, so we have been staying mostly put in home. I’ve been able to finish a lot of stuff, as nothing has lured me away from the computer.

Of course, there was an exception. I visited Cable Factory on Saturday morning to visit Design Market — a unique place to meet the makers and buy stuff directly from them.

Design Market at Cable Factory in Helsinki, Finland

The place was packed, as you can see from the photo. We’ve visited the event once before, so we already have some of the stuff on sale. There are great prices, especially on textiles and small items. This year I bought a set of towels with about 30% of their retail price and an Iittala pitcher. The pitcher fits perfectly to our fridge, and there are only about thousand made — all will be sold in Design Market.

The only minus in the event is that you usually cannot pay with anything except hard cash. My wallet had €2, so I couldn’t shop that much. The towels could be bought with a bank card, so I queued about ten minutes in the line, just to notice that my card didn’t work with their terminal, as there’s no chip in it. Fortunately, people do trust strangers in Finland and they will send me a bill later. I got the towels with me.

Then I asked the local café to give me €20 for the pitcher from my card. I had to buy a sweet, as you just can’t hand out the money… So the final price of the pitcher was €20,20.

If you are visiting Helsinki in fall, check out this place. You may make real finds on contemporary Finnish design.

Good sushi

Restaurant Maruseki is an odd deviation from the norm in the line Finnish shopping mall restaurants; it serves sushi and it tastes good. I know only one other good / decent sushi restaurant in Finnish malls, Ichiban in Kamppi.

Maruseki at Ideapark in Lempäälä, Finland

Anyhow, the restaurant is located in the “old town district” of Lempäälä’s Ideapark. The small restaurant was empty when we arrived, but filled later. The sushi was good and some of the portions were a bit more adventurous than the normal sets found in most of the restaurants.

The prices were quite right, too. Two adults and one child ate their bellies full with about 40 euros. Most of the sushi was nigiris, so the pricing is good — at least in Finnish standards.

www.maruseki.net, Ideaparkinkatu 4 (in old town), Lempäälä, Finland
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Colourful clothing for children

Brums is a midsized children clothing store on busy Corso Buenos Aires. The clothes are very colourful and attend to the details. The sizes range from babies to teens (0-16 years) and both girls and boys have a good selection of clothes.

Brums store in Milan, Italy

The service is very friendly and there were enough clerks to handle all customers — this might be because of low number of customers or higher amount of clerks. The prices are in the midrange, so don’t expect finding any bargains here.

www.brums.com, Corso Buenos Aires, 30, Milan, Italy, +39 02 2940 3122

September 18th, 2007

No dice

Let’s keep this short and (bitter)sweet. Due to some issues outside of our control, we are not going to the States as I was planning a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe we go somewhere else. In any case, we’ll go to Tampere, Finland, in two weeks.

Simplicity from Japan

I knew that Muji is expanding, but I was a bit surprised to see their shop in Milan — the design is so strong in the northern Italy and people seem to be so loyal to the local traditions. Nevertheless, the shop was enjoying a good amount of customers already on early Saturday morning.

Muji store in Milan, Italy

Brief introduction to Muji for the non-initiated: Muji is a Japanese design brand that is based on simplicity and no-labels approach. They sell quality stuff, everything from office supplies to clothes, furniture and tableware — of course, depending on the size of the shop. Nowadays they seem to be found in every big market.

Muji’s competitive advantage is not pricing, but the form follows function design that pleases the eye.

www.muji.net, Corso Buenos Aires, 36, Milan, Italy, +39 02 7428 1169

Fully stocked children shop

There are surprisingly few children stores in Milan, compared to the overall number of clothing stores in the city. Your best bet is to walk on Corso Buenos Aires, as there are several shops for babies and children.

Du Pareil Au Même in Milan, Italy

Du Pareil Au Même is one of the biggest, the selection catering for all aspects of having small children. The prices are quite okay, too, but the service is non-existent. We browsed through the shop for quarter of an hour, but got no service what-so-ever. Unbelievable!

www.dpam.fr, Corso Buenos Aires, 49, Milan, Italy, +39 02 29411607

September 5th, 2007

Planning a new trip

Probably you all know the exciting feeling when you are thinking and planning a new trip to some distant places. I’ve been going through that for a few weeks now, and finally the dust seems to settle.

The potential trip is to the States, and now everything is in place — except the decision. I’ll need to run through a set of calculations to figure whether travelling and meeting a number of people makes sense or not. This sounds like doing it with your head, but at the end it is always the heart that decides. It is really worth going? How do you feel?

These decisions are big ones, as travelling is not cheap anymore — it used to be that when the airlines were fighting fiercely, but now they’ve stopped competing that much and focus on profitability.

Hopefully I can disclose more. If you don’t hear about this topic anymore, then my head and heart decided not to go.

Value for your money

Nannini is one of the mid-level Italian fashion brands that has been expanding steadily all over the world. We visited their Milan shop on Corso Buenos Aires to spend some time and money for fashion accessories.

Nannini store in Milan, Italy
The store is for ladies only, and it focuses on bags and shoes. The store is not the very big, but fortunately there were several items worth purchasing with reasonable prices — you don’t pay for the name, but for the design and the quality of the items.

The service was very helpful, despite having a smallish English vocabulary. Fortunately, the ladies had enough persistence and willpower to carry us through the buying process using both English, Italy and hands.

www.nannini.it, 60 Corso Buenos Aires, Milan, Italy