Architecture in Helsinki

…is something Nurri and I will be seeing a whole lot more of: I’ve accepted a role as Head of Design Direction with Nokia’s design staff, with a remit for the service and user interface domain, and will be moving there in August.

It’s kind of a plum gig, as it would have had to be to lure me away from the life and the city I love. I’ll be working on some terribly exciting and important problems, with people for whom I have a tremendous amount of admiration (and in many cases personal fondness of long standing), in a context where our efforts together might actually make a difference.

Needless to say, this is not the kind of move one contemplates lightly. As it happens, though, we both fell in love with Helsinki when we spoke at Aula two summers ago, and have often discussed spending more time there. So when this incredible opportunity came along, I can fairly say I jumped at it. It just felt like the stars were aligning, you know?

I have many people to thank – you know who you are – without whose efforts none of this would be possible, or would be nearly as enticing. And, of course, a big stack of obligations and commitments to discharge before moving, including finishing this book I’m writing. It’s obviously going to be a hectic couple of months.

Something tells me, though, that for most of that time I’m going to be sporting a big, stupid grin. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

48 responses to “Architecture in Helsinki”

  1. John says :

    Whoa! Onnittelu!

  2. padawan says :

    Ouaouh ! Félicitations my friend.

    (Coincidence, I’m about to move to the other side of the world, New Caledonia, looks like we have to move before we run out of oil ;-).)


  3. kathryn says :

    Congratulations and good luck!

  4. Dan Saffer says :

    Congrats and good luck! Take a sweater or four!

  5. Lauren says :

    Congratulations Adam. They need you!

  6. Julie Hamwood says :

    Fantastic news! Congratulations and all the best for your start in Helsinki and I guess, Nokia London as well.

  7. Steve Silberman says :

    Excellent! Remember: reindeer with morels. :)

  8. David says :

    Congrats! Does this mean i should put off buying an iphone for another year? ;)

    looking forward to reading lots of new insights from your new city. hope you don’t work too hard so you can enjoy it!

  9. Steph says :

    Congratulations! Damn.

  10. marrije says :

    COngratulations! As far as I know, Helsinki is a good city for biking, too.

  11. Danny Wolpert says :

    Oh wow. That is good news for us Euros.
    Expect some visits ;)


  12. AG says :

    Heh. *Is abashed. Thanks, everyone!

    (And yes, we’re bringing the Africabike.)

  13. Boris Anthony says :

    big congrats. :)

  14. Michael Sharon says :

    Well done! Looking forward to getting the Greenfield/Kim architectural tour of Helsinki. :)

  15. igj says :

    I said WHOA before, but reading it in print makes it seem even more, well, WHOA-like.

    And, yeah, maybe this means putting off that iPhone purchase for a while.

  16. dr.hypercube says :

    Congrats! I recently (very recently) sidestepped the whole iPhone thing and bought a Nokia N810 – your thoughts on ubiquity were part of my motivation.

  17. charlie says :


    Wow. Heard so much about you over the years. Looking forward to meet you when you get here. Oh, and maybe I need to finally read Everywhere.

  18. zeldman says :


    We will miss you here.

  19. Arabella says :

    OH WOOHOO! Can’t wait for you and Nurri to come out here :) You’re coming out at a fantastic time too, summer will be in full swing!

  20. Alex Gilbert says :

    All sorts of congratulations to you. Can’t wait to see what comes out of that relationship.

    I will say that I’m disappointed I missed my opportunity to catch you at the ITP program, but I remain optimistic about other ones to follow.

  21. Jamais Cascio says :

    Congratulations, Adam — this sounds like a wonderful opportunity, both professionally and personally!

  22. Ville says :


  23. Stan Wiechers says :

    Good move by Nokia

  24. Abe Burmeister says :

    Congrats man! Can’t wait to see what comes down the pipe.

  25. Laurent says :

    Great to hear you’ll be in Europe :) Congrats on that move and see you in Helsinki in June!

  26. Jamie says :

    A thousand congratulations to you and Nurri! New York City’s sad loss (you will be missed!) is Helsinki’s gain.

  27. Joe McCarthy says :

    “Head of Design Direction” – sounds like an interesting and appropriate title for you. Unfortunately, with respect to missed opportunities for closer collaboration, I recently left Nokia to startup a new lab with MyStrands in Seattle. I still think Nokia is a great company, with great people, who will continue to do great things, and I can see many ways that you can contribute significantly to them. I hope you enjoy your time at Nokia, and that you’ll let us know more about your new role (and goals) there!

  28. Vidiot says :

    Wow, serious congratulations to you and Nurri.

    I still want to buy you that beer I’ve owed you for forever!

  29. nako says :

    welcome to the (SUID) club, looking forward to get to know you. ta ta

  30. jean louis Frechin says :

    you woudn’t be at the middle of europe and california. Welcome (back) in Europe and congratulations

    jean louis Frechin

  31. Lynn Marentette says :

    This is great news!

    “The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing”, was the main text for a class I took last year.

    Adam, your reflections were a strong influence on my thinking as a mid-life, non-traditional student.

    I later bought a Nokia n800 internet tablet, which I’ve grown fond of.

    I can’t wait to see what Nokia will have to offer when I’m ready for my next one!


  32. AG says :

    That’s so very kind of you to say, Lynn. I only hope to measure up to your (properly) high expectations!

  33. Fred Oliveira says :

    Adam, good luck. You’re an inspiration to many, and Nokia has 1up’ed everyone by getting you on board. Congratulations!

  34. remy says :

    warm welcome!

  35. Donna says :

    Wow, congratulations!!

    I have stayed with Nokia for as long as I’ve had a cell phone because I love their simple, intuitive (to me) interface. (I’m a late adopter and don’t like bells and whistles, so that may or may not say something good about their product…) I’m due for an upgrade in July and was seriously considering trying another phone – but now that I know you’ll be there, making an already good product better, I’ll stick with Nokia.

    What a great opportunity for you guys! Congratulations and have fun!!

  36. Hervé says :

    Excellent! Sure the 2cv will appreciate getting closer to its birth place. Funny how that great piece of news also managed to put a stupid, albeit galic, grin on our Ci’Num faces. Expect visiting frogs, soon. Hervé

  37. AG says :

    And what could be happier than visiting frogs? : . )

  38. Eric Olson says :

    OMG Adam – fantastic. The design world needs the leadership of those who can articulate a vision while remaining rooted in practicality and decency, whose sense of future is informed by a solid footing in what has gone before. I can’t think of anyone more perfectly suited for a job more needed in the realm of design, nor could there be a better moment for it to happen. My confidence in the judgment of Nokia is much enhanced by this news. Well done – and godspeed.

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