Loving Environments

Construction gobbles up half of the world’s natural resources. Collaboration between scientists, designers, architects, the public sector and companies generates ideas that can make living environments and the construction industry more sustainable.
Loving environments visual theme
Graphic design: Aino Salonen & Oona Raadelma

This exhibition showcases diverse holistic approaches to community planning. What kind of architecture best suits the delicate Arctic areas? What amazing designs can we build out of wood?

What does culturally sensitive and planet-centric architecture and design mean? What new design tools have we developed to take these perspectives into account?

Check out these exhibited projects:

Raisa Mäkinen | Nature House

Interplay of Cultures Studio: Sámi

The year 2021 Interplay of Culture Studio shares a set of works from a collaboration with the Siida museum and representatives of the Sámi communities in Finnish Lapland / Sápmi. Along with a great appreciation of the rich Sámi culture, the exhibition also gives insight into the complex political and future challenges of the Arctic landscape.

Interior garden: Helja Nieminen

Travel Architecture on the Arctic Circle

By showcasing architectural concepts of buildings that save emissions and energy through material and land use, we are encouraged to live slowly in a sustainable way. Here, we present design projects by Master's students of architecture in Building Design Studio, Autumn 2020.

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Putretti: the sustainable fertilizer exhibited at Designs for a Cooler Planet 2021

Putretti® is a new organic NPK-fertilizer produced from local material flows: compost and wood ash. It can be used for forest fertilization, in agriculture, soil improvement or landscaping.

Wood Wonders exhibition at Helsinki airport. Photo: Anne Kinnunen

Wood Wonders exhibition showcases climate-friendly building concepts

If all the buildings constructed in Finland each year were made of wood, the amount of wood needed for their construction would grow back in ten hours.


Mind Meets Machine: Immersive Data Interaction

The exhibited projects showcase novel computational design methods to creatively interact with global and local data. Whereas the on-going general discussions in relation to data-handling stresses efficiency, productivity and often de-humanization, the exhibited projects set their focus on the exploration of immersive data-interaction design tools to enhance climate-smart solutions in the urban context. The projects aim for showcasing possibilities to make abstract data visible and tangible, to enter a new level of data-informed responsive design, that has public benefit.
Augmented data-interaction is merged with the tangible sandbox environment, in order to formulate sustainable design speculations for Ainonauki, an urban plaza located between Väre and Aalto Studios. The understanding of available technology to be composed and rearranged in order to support the field specific discourse led to innovative design speculations, based upon human-robotic interaction. The developed design methodology emphasizes the importance of design iterations through computationally informed feedback loops.

Image that illustrates Nubia disappearing under water

Nubia:No More

This research project takes place in Egyptian Nubia. Today, the Nubian region is mainly under the water of a human-made lake caused by the construction of High Dam in Aswan, Egypt. The exhibition's main goal is to create awareness on the sustainability of Nubian traditional architecture, which makes use of natural resources, to better understand social and cultural aspects of Nubian construction practices, and to disclose the impacts caused by the acts of humankind.

Co-Act and Klong concepts


Experience two concepts that were created during a BA course on social communication design and design activism Experiment: Change (Koe: Muutos) in Visual Communication Design in spring 2021. The audiovisual work is part of the Designs for a Cooler Planet exhibition.


Online events

Peach background with black text "NODUS TALKS Multispecies Sustainability" white text "Emilija Veselova & Elisa Vainio"

NODUSTalks Multispecies Sustainability

Emilija Veselova and EIisa Vainio discuss the theory behind and reality of recognising nature as a vital and diverse stakeholder in and co-creator of design solutions and practical activities.

LASER Talk cover

LASER Talk: Adaptation and Interconnected Agencies

Join us for presentations and an interactive discussion about the transformation of the Arctic imposed by climate change on geopolitical and environmental levels with the artist Kaisu Koivisto, researcher in Arctic identities and politics Ingrid A.Medby, designer and doctoral researcher Emilia Tikka, and Jukka Tuhkuri, professor of ice mechanics at Aalto University.

NPHarvest pilot

NPHarvest: join our Q&A session about converting wastewater into eco-friendly fertiliser

Several methods for nitrogen and phosphorous removal are utilized but none harvests the nutrients. NPHarvest is the Aalto project suggesting a feasible solution.

Illustration of citizens participating in policy writting

Design for government: Two cases of designing sustainability policy in Finland

Climate change challenges welfare states to change their practices. How do we steer that transition?

In 2020 and 2021 Aalto Design for Government course and ORSI Research project partnered-up to tackle sustainable change in the Finnish government. In this seminar, students will present proposals on how to use the design approach in two projects commisioned by the Finnish Ministries: "Reducing the carbon footprint of public procurement, using the Kela Maternity package example" and "Just transition to post-oil heating homes". The presentation will be followed by a moderated discussion on the role of design in government with the project representatives from the Finnish minitstries and public services.

We invite government key decision makers, civil servants, citizens and businesses around the same table to get inspired with us.

Shipping containers

Towards Net-Zero Shipping and Aviation

Panel and workshop - Designs for a Cooler Planet – Resource-wise communities


The event is a part of Helsinki Design Week’s official festival programme and Year of Research-Based Knowledge. Aalto University is one of the EU's New European Bauhaus partners. 

#ACoolerPlanet #HelsinkiDesignWeek #NewEuropeanBauhaus #tttv21

Designs for a Cooler Planet 2021

Resource Wisdom - Designs for a Cooler Planet 2021

Helsinki Design Week 2021 has landed in Otaniemi, showcasing three paths to resource wisdom

Radical ideas and prototypes contributing to a resource-wise future. The exhibitions and online lectures are open to everyone, and they belong to the official Helsinki Design Week programme.

Better to Wear exhibition visual

Better to Wear

We get dressed each and every day: clothes protect us and help us express ourselves. We can dress better when we re-design the whole textile process from manufacturing to use to recycling.

Infinite materials theme visual

Infinite Materials

We need to radically cut our consumption of materials and energy by creating materials that are not just renewable but forever reusable.

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