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International Friend of Habitare

Each year, Habitare invites one internationally acclaimed design expert or an influential business figure to visit the event and to acquaint themselves with the fair offering and the Finnish design and interior decoration field. The International Friend of Habitare enters into dialogue with Habitare, exploring design directions, industry trends, and market situations. The International Friend of Habitare 2021 is Joseph Grima.

Previous International Friends of Habitare have been president of the Italian design company Alessi, Alberto Alessi; the curatorial director at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Cara McCarty; the chairman and representative director of MUJI, Masaaki Kanai; and the influential design figure and critic, and author, Alice Rawsthorn.

Our International Friends

International Friend 2021: Joseph Grima

Joseph Grima is a British architect, who has a versatile career and background in exhibition curating, research and writing. He has worked with many design and architecture biennals around the world. Currently Grima works in both Milan and Eindhoven, as he is the creative director at Design Academy Eindhoven, and the chief curator of design at Triennale di Milano. He has previously also been the editor-in-chief of Domus design magazine.

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International Friend 2019: Alberto Alessi

Alberto Alessi is the president of Alessi. Alberto Alessi, who first started working for the Alessi family company in 1970, is the oldest son of Carlo Alessi and a third-generation representative of the family at Alessi. Under Alberto Alessi’s management, the Alessi company has worked closely with foreign architects and designers, and has increased the company’s recognition around the world. Alessi is the author of several books and articles and the curator of the Dream Factories exhibition at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan in 2011. He has worked as a visiting professor at a number of design schools.

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International Friend 2018: Cara McCarty

Cara McCarty is the curatorial director at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where she oversees the museum’s curatorial vision and leads exhibition planning. She played a lead role in the 2014 renovation and transformation of Cooper Hewitt into a 21st-century museum, from the overall master plan to the creation of immersive museum spaces and participatory visitor experiences.

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International Friend 2017: Masaaki Kanai

Since 1993, Masaaki Kanai has worked as an executive with Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. which owns MUJI. The official name of the company in Japanese, Mujirushi Ryōhin, means no-brand quality goods. MUJI is known around the world for its affordable, aesthetically minimalist and beautiful everyday objects, clothes, and home appliances, all of which are user-driven, and use high-quality materials and a streamlined manufacturing process.

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International Friend 2016: Alice Rawsthorn

The first International Friend of Habitare was the design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn. Alice writes about design in the International New York Times and the magazine Frieze.

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