Materialising the Future – CHEMARTS 10 years

This  exhibition is  inspired by  often asked questions  related to bio-based materials like: Why recycle bio-based materials? Can bio-based materials replace plastics? Does it make sense to use trees as materials?  These questions are addressed by ten displays consisting of some fascinating examples of ongoing or previous student projects.
Lahjoitus Kemian tekniikan korkeakoululle on sijoitus kestävään tulevaisuuteen
Photo by Eeva Suorlahti, Aalto University

CHEMARTS is the long-term collaboration project between two Aalto University schools, initiated in 2011. The School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM) and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (ARTS) combined forces with the aim of researching bio-based materials in an innovative way and creating new concepts for their advanced use. The core values are the sustainable use of natural resources, experimental working methods, and the respectful cross-pollination of design and material research. Over 500 students have taken part in the CHEMARTS courses over the past ten years. Tiny seeds of inspiration have grown into a versatile and international community of material enthusiasts.


Join CHEMARTS virtually at Milan and Helsinki Design Week

Materialising the Future across Europe: Datemats@Design Week Helsinki & Milano 
Thursday 09.09.2021, 16:00-17:30 EEST (Helsinki time)

During this year’s edition of Milan and Helsinki Design Week, the Datemats project hosts an online event where experts in designing for and with Emerging Materials and Technologies illustrate their methodologies and offer an insights into their material world. The event is open to practitioners and students in the fields of architecture, engineering and design.

More information and registration

Examples of student projects

Colour photo with beige background showing two artificial white hands, on left with mushrooms growing on surface of palm, on right with a bandage made of mushrooms on the back of the hand
Photo by Esa Kapila

Nature is a constant source of inspiration for material research. 
Betulina - Ancient remedies rediscovered by Sonja Dallyn & Linh Tong 2020  

Birch polypore has been used in traditional medicine all around the Northern Hemisphere for thousands of years. Inspired by history and Finnish nature, Betulina is a minimally designed bandage that is activated by water. The notable properties of Fomitopsis Betulina in medical applications include anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral and antiseptic agents. 

CHEMARTS student projects

Colour photo showing a dark brown/aubergine coloured clutch purse held in two hands with Roses coming out of the zippered top
Photo by Irene Purasachit

Why recycle bio-based materials, for example, flower waste 
Flower Matter: innovative materials from flower waste by Irene Purasachit 2021 

When moving towards a circular economy, we must consider all waste and side streams as raw materials for something new. For example, there is a massive amount of flower waste in landfills all around the world, often mixed with plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. Flower Matter aims to provide a solution to the floral waste problem by converting the waste into various kinds of materials, such as paper, bio-leather and bio-foam.

Flower Matter exhibition

Closeup of person in a white labcoat with blue gloves holding a cucumber covered in clear bio-based protective wrap
Photo by Ena Naito

Can bio-based materials replace plastics?  
DipWrap by Ena Naito, Louise Kallai, Emilia Ikävalko & Sari Kupiainen 2021

DipWrap is an experimental material project to find a sustainable alternative to plastic shrink wrap used to protect grocery store products. The interdisciplinary student team developed the idea and concept for DipWrap during the Design Meets Biomaterials CHEMARTS course in Spring 2021. The project was selected to represent Aalto University at the Biodesign Challenge competition and was nominated for "Outstanding Science Prize."

2021 Biodesign Challenge

Exhibition team: Pirjo Kääriäinen, Saara Kantele, Irene Purasachit, Liisa Tervinen, Iines Jakovlev, Nina Riutta, Aarni Tujula, Tapani Vuorinen

Exhibition design: Saara Kantele

Designs for a Cooler Planet 2021

Cooler planet
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.

Loving environments visual theme

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.

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.



CHEMARTS - Inspiration for Material Enthusiasts (external link)

Biomaterials are the best options as we seek more sustainable ways for our current world of materials.

kuvassa kahdet kädet levittävät läpinäkyvää limaa punaista taustaa vasten

Nordic Biomaterials with CHEMARTS – Small steps for change are valuable

In the coming years, our material world will change dramatically. The overuse of existing raw materials cannot continue, and global consumption must decrease.

Project by Yu Chen & Chia-wen Hsu. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti

The CHEMARTS Cookbook

Inspiration for Material Enthusiasts

CHEMARTS Cookbook for material enthusiasts. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti

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

  • Published:
  • Updated: