IDBM Industry Project –the classical course since 1995 came to Sino-Finnish Centre, China. This time, the theme was ‘Walk and Feel Helsinki’ for Helsinki-2012 World Design Capital. The cross-cultural and multidisciplinary team ‘Smart Urban Spaces’ consisting of Ms. Hannamari Finnish graphic designer, Mr. Tushar, Indian Geek with 5-year working experience in Microsoft, Ms. Anna, Russian Engineer of KONE and Ms. LU Zhou, the DD master from Tongji University was working on creating a more convenient life for urban citizens and establishing the international collaboration platform there, cooperated by the municipal of Helsinki and the non-profit organization Forum Virium Helsinki.


Marimekko Workshop City can be seen as a book written in a social-space language. Once the social space code is deciphered, the city can be read. For designer, reading has dual meanings of both epistemology and methodology. Through examining the perspectives of text – environment mutual translation, the image of the city, spatial narrative, and urban semiology, the workshop encourages the exploration of in-depth observation of the urban environment. Based on this, we held a cooperative workshop between Marimekko, the well-known Finnish textile company, and Tongji University. It was a two weeks’ workshop on the theme of “Small Changes, Big Difference”, and its main objective was to identify people’s needs, the relationship with the material and explore the role of color and emotions to better the integration and communication through setting the strategies for the community. The “sweet house” community on which the team focused is an example of an elderly community where people promote a well-being among each other by organizing different activities such as walking, dancing, and many others. Living in the cold concrete building, such activities help them stay connected with each other and bring some light to their daily life. Seeing the success of this model, the initial focus of the students was to make this community visible to outsiders, to inspire people to follow this community. Then the intervening tool would be the colorful textile of Marimekko. From this workshop, design is not to create a physical product but to build the ongoing process that the communities can share the skill and life experience together.