Contemporary Design

Professor Pirjo Kääriäinen

Professor in Design driven fibre innovation, CHEMARTS
Pirjo Kääriäinen

Pirjo Kääriäinen works as professor between two Aalto University Schools, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (ARTS) and the School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM).
Since 2011 she has been facilitating interdisciplinary CHEMARTS collaboration together with professor Tapani Vuorinen. CHEMARTS is aiming to inspire students and researchers to explore bio-based materials together, and to create new material concepts for the future. Before her career in academia, Pirjo Kääriäinen worked eighteen years for Scandinavian textile industry and commerce, and gained experience also as an entrepreneur and consultant for creative industries. Her background is originally in textile design. Her professional interests are: Bio-based materials, interdisciplinary collaboration, design for sustainable materials, experimental design, future textiles.

Webpages related to her work:


bio materiality

Bio Materiality

As biomaterial is a broad and currently widely used term, the students learn to explore and discover new perspectives to biomaterials and understand how to create their own creative approach towards these materials.

Contemporary Design



Bacterial bandages and recycled fibres: Aalto brings a materials revolution to Slush

New materials play an important role in sustainable development and combatting climate change. New uses for old materials can also be a major industrial opportunity: for example, the value of biomass from forests in Finland can be doubled if used for manufacturing products of higher added value.

Emma Saarnio ja Helmi Liikanen

Jenni Haukio’s Independence Day gown sets the stage for Finland’s next 100 years

Designed by Aalto students Emma Saarnio and Helmi Liikanen, the dress evokes nature with exquisite materiality and minimalist lines

Tekla Tammelin, Orlando Rojas, Kristiina Kruus, Indistry meets FinnCERES event 5.11./ Kuva: Paula Bergqvist, VTT

Companies want to develop innovations from biomaterials together with FinnCERES

A large group of representatives of industry took part in the Industry Meets FinnCERES event on 5 November 2018 at Paasitorni in Helsinki.

Aalto-Helsinki iGEM team

Aalto-Helsinki awarded gold medal in iGEM 2018

Multidisciplinary student team from Aalto University and the University of Helsinki made it to the top category out of three in iGEM Giant Jamboree 24–28 October in Boston.

Aikaisempi Ioncell-lankoja

Jenni Haukio to wear gown made of sustainable Ioncell material at December’s Independence Day reception

Ioncell is a new technology that creates high-quality textile fibres from wood or recycled materials.

A green leaf. Photographer: Aleksi Poutanen.

The next material revolution will start in the forest

Plastic straws and utensils will soon be history but they will not be missed, as something much better will replace them.

Ioncell fibers

Fibre technologies revolutionising the textile industry win the European Commission's Regiostars Awards

VTT and Aalto University’s TeKiDe project won the category Achieving sustainability through low carbon emissions.

Talisa Dwiyani ja Miki Todo hyödynsivät selluloosan lisäksi materiaalina riisinkortta, joka yleensä heitetään hukkaan.

What happens when you mix cellulose with wool or rice straw? CHEMARTS students spent the summer finding out

Students in this year’s CHEMARTS summer school have spent three months in the lab learning how to use biomaterials in fresh ways.

Evol by Sushant Passi. Evol is a series of artistic explorations with two natural materials from trees: cellulose and natural rubber latex. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti.

Aalto students’ eco-art exhibition opens at Helsinki Airport

The exhibition From Nature to Future combines material experimentation and art with surprising results.


Seed funding led to a multimillion strategic collaboration between designers and chemists

ChemArts, which brings together students of biomaterials and design, is already looking into business opportunities and preparing for world domination.


Latest publications

Behind bioinnovations / Dutch Design Week (curator)

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Anna van der Lei 2023

Applying DATEMATS Methods and Tools to Experimental Wood-Based Materials: Materiality in an Ideation Process

Tarja-Kaarina Laamanen, Pirjo Kääriäinen 2023 Materialising the Future: A Learning Path to Understand, Develop and Apply Emerging Materials and Technologies

Integration of Carboxymethyl Cellulose Waveguides for Smart Textile Optical Sensors

Sofia Guridi Sotomayor, Ari Hokkanen, Aayush Kumar Jaiswal, Nonappa Nonappa, Pirjo Kääriäinen 2022 Proceedings of IEEE SENSORS 2022

CHEMARTS at Design Festival Bern

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Tatja Jakovlev, Tapani Vuorinen, Janika Lehtonen 2022

CHEMARTS at Dutch Design Week 2022

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Liisa Tervinen, Tapani Vuorinen, Nina Riutta 2022

CHEMARTS at Dutch Design Week 2022 (curator)

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Anna van der Lei 2022

Designers – the agents of change

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Kirsi Niinimäki 2022 Designing Change : New Opportunities for Organisations

Facilitating the future of sustainable textiles and packaging: Aalto University Bioinnovation Center

Pirjo Kääriäinen, Michael Hummel, Susanna Ahola, Greta Salonen 2022
More information on our research in the Aalto research portal.
Research portal
  • Published:
  • Updated: