Evocative U

(ee-vok'-uh-tiv) Bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind

Glenn Murray

Written by Glenn Murray. I design and build cool software. CV

Here's my latest think piece.


Arriving in Finland at Helsinki's Klaus K Hotel, you can imagine my surprise when I saw a sign with an image by Tom of Finland (see below) at the entrance to the hotel. Tom of Finland practically defined gay male sexual iconography during the birth of Gay Liberation in the 1970's. Apparently, he is enjoying a huge renaissance in mainstream Finnish culture right now. He's much more popular now here than during his heyday. Go figure. The sign was for The Experience, a walking tour - starting at the hotel - of all things Tom of Finland. I stopped at the venerable home textile retailer Finlayson and bought several Tom of Finland items from their entire section devoted to Tom of Finland linen, towels and housewares.

Klaus K is much more than Tom of Finland cross-marketing. It's one of the top design hotels in Finland. I stayed in the new Sky Lofts, which accessed a private rootop terrace with panoramic views of Helsinki.

For such a small country, Finland has had a huge impact on the design world.

At the Helsinki Design Museum, collecting Finnish design classics under one roof really emphasizes the country's influences. The Design Museum itself is a wonderfully designed museum. Take note, London!

Helsinki in many ways epitomizes the Nordic lifestyle - progressive social policies, thoughtful modern design, and a free easygoing philosophy. I would love to live here, but for the weather. It was a great privilege to experience this special place.

My visit to Helsinki was full of surprises. Walking by the harbor, I stumbled upon a Finnish Samba Carnaval, complete with competing crews and original songs. Not in the same league as their counterparts in Brazil and New Orleans, but the performers (all ages and body types) were just as joyous. The crowd absolutely loved it, and so did I.