In 2005, one of the more stylish areas of Helsinki, centred around Diana Park (named after the sculpture of Diana by Yrjö Liipola which was unveiled in 1929), was officially designated as the Design District. The Design District Helsinki Association was established in order to coordinate activities within this area.
The Design District comprises some 200 stores, restaurants, and galleries, situated across 25 streets where the prevalent architectural style is National Romantic, a uniquely Finnish interpretation of the Art Nouveau movement where turrets and torches play a significant role.
Design District Helsinki is a treat for shoppers who like to stroll from store to store, rather than find themselves confined by the limitations of modern shopping malls. The area is packed with design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants and showrooms. All of Finland's big names can be found here, but it is also home to many new designers who have yet to gain international recognition, making it the ideal place to explore Finnish design and to buy top-class Finnish design products.
The stated aims of the Design District Helsinki Association are to make the area better known and to enhance the areas attractiveness to visitors and residents alike. They hope to actively contribute to an increase of cultural tourism in Helsinki, and also to improve business opportunities for small entrepeneurs in the city. Future plans include contributing to the design of the physical environment, through planning the implementation of new street lights and signage, and to adapt Diana Park into a more active and lively design park. Since the onset, Design District Helsinki Association have coordinated their efforts with local tourist organisations, such as the Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau, The Finnish Tourist Board, and Helsinki Expert, who have arranged guided walking tours of the Design District since the summer of 2005.