World Design Capital Helsinki: Remote Control Café Kauko

My old home town Helsinki is the World Design Capital of 2012, and I am so excited that I am able to cover the events and happenings in the city this year. I had in hopes to visit Helsinki at least once during 2012, but now with our move to Sweden, I know I will be visiting Helsinki all the time!

Café Kauko

Here is one of the first quirky cool things that popped in Helsinki for the WDC 2012: Café Kauko. Café Kauko is a popup café that moves from one place to another during 2012 (currently at the shopping center Forum in the central Helsinki). The coffee shop is sleek with modern furniture, the walls are white, so are the furniture. But the entire purpose of this café isn’t to show case well designed furniture for a coffee shop – quite the opposite. The purpose of Kauko is to showcase WHY good design is important. “Kauko” is a Finnish nickname for kaukosäädin, the remote control, and yes – the entire café is remote controllable. Anyone can virtually visit Kauko online and see live video from the coffee shop and remote control the furniture, music and lighting. You can make the chairs or the tables to go up and down, dim the lights or add some music. Unfortunately for those in the US the time difference makes it a bit difficult to play with real life situations. Kauko closes already at 7:30PM Finnish time, which is only 12:30PM EST. Kauko truly demonstrates the importance of great everyday design for its visitors – it’s not comfortable to even sit down to have a cup of espresso when the table is way too low or way too high – or having a conversation with your friend is impossible when the music is too loud or when it’s too dark to even see her. Kauko shows that the significance of design is often noticed only when it is lacking.

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