Bright Baana

Helsinki celebrates the UN International Year of Light with the Bright Baana event. In September, the bridges of Baana will transform into lighting installations for four days.

The year 2015 was nominated by UN as the international year of light and technology. Year of Light highlights the benefits to humanity offered by the fields of science that utilise light and their applications.

The beautiful experiences of light that Baana offers its users between 24 and 27 September 2015 are the result of cooperation between the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of Finland, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and City of Helsinki Public Works Department.

The purpose of the project is to gather experiences on the use of new, energy-efficient lighting solutions and their effect on the sense of comfort and safety.

The installations create visual rhythm, colour and interaction to the urban space – experiences that are more common under the theatre lights. The installations tell stories, highlight the details of architecture and comment on the history of the location.

Around ten lighting installations will be implemented on the just short of 1.5 kilometre route from Mannerheimintie to the Länsilinkki on Mechelininkatu.

Alinen, the underworld of spirits in Finnish folklore, has been the inspiration for the installations. Underworld was reached through a tunnel or a small cave, and during the journey, one could face the spirits of the departed, healing forces or spirit animals. The design groups have interpreted the theme freely, from an urban point of view. The theme emphasises the characteristics of Baana as a space for the citizens, which is separate from the city above, dominated by cars and commercial activities.

The international Year of Light declared by the UN aims to increase the awareness of the possibilities of lighting technology as the promoter of sustainable development. In accordance with the theme of the Year of Light, the lighting installations of Baana utilise energy-efficient light sources and smart control technology, which reacts to the pedestrians and cyclists on the route.

The event is implemented in cooperation with the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of Finland, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and City of Helsinki Public Works Department. Thirty lighting designers and designers have designed the installations as group works and the corporate members of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Finland have been a valuable help to the event by lending the devices used in the installations.

The installations will be built as the student works of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences students of Electronics and Stage technology.

Baana, completed in 2012, opened up a cycling and pedestrian route from the West Harbour to the city centre, when the railway traffic was stopped on the old port tracks, built a hundred years earlier. In some places, Baana is a dramatic canyon, lined by steep cliff walls, and in other places it is a lively “living room” for the youth or a park-like embankment. The pedestrian and cycling corridor, which was built into a former railway canyon, was awarded as a commercial-free public space in the European Prize for Urban Public Space competition in 2014, from among nearly 200 European cities.

Artistic Director Lighting Designer, Master of Theatre Arts Tarja Ervasti
[email protected] tel. 050 529 2874

Producer: Architect Pia Rantanen, the City of Helsinki Public Works Department
[email protected] tel. 09 3103 8812

More information on the installations:


Explore Helsinki Design Week by touch

Interactive wayfinding service, running on the digital screens of central Helsinki, offers event tips and help for tourists and others in need of guidance. On the 3rd of September, aligned with the opening day of the Helsinki Design Week, the service is updated with new features, allowing people to browse information about the festival’s events.

Helsinki Design Week is the biggest design festival in Nordics, taking now place between 3rd and 13th of September. For people interested in the event, the outdoor touch screens in Helsinki city center share information about the events nearby, and routes to the location. With the help of Eventmore application, the events and routes can be explored with a smart phone. On the screens, animations allure people to touch and find their pick on Helsinki Design Week.

“During Helsinki Design Week there are 200 different events in the city. The wayfinding service on the city screens helps to find the most interesting ones. This supports our campaigning. It is also a great example of urban design,” says Hanna Harris, Program director of Helsinki Design Week.

Find your way with touch screens

All the outdoor screens are interactive touch screens that have a map-based wayfinding service. By tapping the map, users can find out more about attractions, events, public transportation and other important services. The map shows routes and walking distance within a five minute radius. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

“Helsinki is the most popular and international place to visit in Finland. That is why wayfinding is really needed. The wayfinding service on the city screens helps to find central locations, attractions and events in the city,” says Tuulikki Becker from Visit Helsinki.

Making the most of digital screens

For the content, the service utilizes City of Helsinki’s open data sources available for anyone. In addition to the wayfinding, the screens offer a chance to test out new interactive services with Helsinki residents. The goal is to get people to participate and take action, via different campaigns for example.The City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki have together piloted digital wayfinding, signage as well as interactive services for several years now.

You’re welcome to test the re-launched wayfinding service on the screens around Helsinki city centre! The city screens are marked with a recognizable info sign.

More information:
Jenni Niemiaho, Producer
[email protected]
tel. 040 167 6680
Forum Virium Helsinki

The original article was published in the Forum Virium Helsinki`s website.