Role of public art at Aalto University

Join us for an afternoon seminar on public art, visit a new collection of art, and hear about a new book, 'Unfolding public art', on the role of public art on Aalto University’s campus.

The seminar discusses the role of public art at the university, highlighting the different possibilities and various functions art offers. Sign up latest 12 May 2023!
Artwork outside Väre building
Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

Join us for an afternoon on public art! 

Aalto University is committed to the Percent for Art Principle and is the first Finnish university to do so. Aalto launched its commitment six years ago when Dipoli acquired its own collection of art under the theme Radical Nature. 

Two seminars, five art catalogues, and eight art competitions later, we are delighted to reveal the book, Unfolding public art and a new art collection for three buildings at Aalto’s campus in Otaniemi.    

Unfolding public art presents the main frameworks of over 100 artworks acquired from nearly 60 artists since 2017. 

Artwork inside Väre building
Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisunen's (Grönlund & Nisunen) piece "Insight". Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

The book consists of nine thematic articles on public art from the perspectives of wellbeing, business, design, aesthetics and curating. Many of the authors have been involved in the procurement processes of the artworks as jury members or curators.   

The artists will present their own works at the unveiling of the art collection of K1, K2 and K3 buildings. 


Host: Outi Turpeinen, Manager, art & exhibitions at Aalto University 

10.30 - 12.00 Campus tour, focus on public art Aalto University (locations: Väre, School of Business, Undergraduate Centre, Harald Herlin Learning Centre & Dipoli). Tour is guided by an Aalto University student or alum, and is held in English.

13.00 Tuomas Auvinen, Dean, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University: Radical Creativity

13.25 Susanna Pettersson, CEO of the Finnish Cultural Foundation (beginning June 2023): Art as a human need - Where buildings and art works meet 

13.45 Pekka Mattila, Associate Professor, School of Business: Connecting executives and fine arts – Creating spaces for learning and growing

14.05 Maria Rehbinder, Senior Legal Counsel, Aalto University: Public art and copyright  

14.20 Coffee break and opportunity to purchase the Unfolding public art book 

15.00 Bassam el Baroni, Associate Professor, School of Arts, Design and Architecture: On curating (title TBA) 

15.25 IC-98: Mare Tranquillitatis 

15.45 Gloria Lauterbach, postdoctoral researcher, School of Arts, Design and Architecture:  Re-visiting Kreutzstrasse: Atmosphere, Habitation & Public Art 

16.10 Outi Turpeinen: Unfolding public art  

16.30 New public artwork presented by the artists at the Aalto Works project K1, K2 and K3 buildings (Engineering Materials). Speeches by Vice President Ossi Naukkarinen, and Dean of the School of Engineering (beginning 1 July 2023) Kari Tammi.  

18.30 Art reveal ceremony for Quantum Moss, presented by artists Noora Archer & Laura Piispanen. Outdoor campus art located near the metro entrance by A Bloc (Otaniementie 12).

19.00 Event closes  

Refreshments are available during the event. The program is subject to changes. 

Aalto is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which include reducing food waste and thus we ask you kindly to cancel your registration if you cannot attend the event. Cancellations can be made either by following the link in your registration confirmation message or by sending an email to [email protected] latest 26 May 2023.

What is the Percent for Art Principle? (


Bassam El Baroni
Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskila

Bassam el Baroni is Associate Professor in curating and mediating art in the Department of Art and Media at Aalto University. His recent research lies at the intersection of curatorial practice/studies, theory, technology, and economics. El Baroni is an internationally recognised curator who has curated and co-curated biennials of contemporary art in Spain, Norway, Ireland, and Lebanon. Most recently, he curated the exhibition exhibition Infrahauntologies  at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art (Oldenburg, Germany) in 2021 and La Box (ENSA Bourges, France) in 2022.

Photo: Noora Isoeskeli

With backgrounds in visual arts and cultural studies, IC-98 (Patrik Söderlund & Visa Suonpää, founded in 1998) has produced artist publications, site- and context- specific projects and interventions, animated moving image installations and short films. Their work addresses the environmental crisis and artistic-political methods of finding solutions to it. The projects seek to replace an anthropocentric worldview with modes better suited to take into consideration the interrelationships, dependencies and myriad temporal rhythms of all animate and inanimate nature. While the moving image works are allegorical descriptions of time, climate, and how environmental and cultural histories merge in different eras, the site-specific projects have, instead of mere artistic depiction sought to create tools – free zones, novel languages, new founding myths – to help the community of all organisms emerge from the crisis. 

Gloria Lauterbach

Gloria Lauterbach specialises in artistic research and works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Design at Aalto University as part of the NorDark project, where the  aim is to mediate the needs of people and wildlife wildlife in Nordic after-dark environments. Lauterbach holds a diploma in design & sustainability (ecosign / Akademie für Gestaltung, Cologne,  Germany) and a PhD in Arts & Design (Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture). Her passion is to better understand and to make better understandable topics around  material cooperation, dialogical post-humanism, more-than-human-centric methodologies, modes of habitation, post-disaster futures and urban wilderness.

Pekka Mattila

Pekka Mattila serves as an Associate Professor at the Aalto University School of Business. In addition to his academic activities, he has conducted an extensive business career. He holds a doctoral and Master’s degrees in sociology from the University of Helsinki and an Executive MBA from the London Business School. He is a Member of the Board of the Finnish National Gallery and is also known as an avid collector of contemporary and modern art. 

Ossi Naukkarinen
Kuva: Aalto-yliopisto / Mikko Raskinen

Ossi Naukkarinen is Aalto University’s Vice President for Research and Professor of Aesthetics. He has also worked as Vice Dean of both Education and Research in the university’s School of Art, Design and Architecture. He has published monographs and articles on, for example, environmental and everyday aesthetics, the nature of aesthetics as an academic discipline and new digital research approaches to aesthetics. 

Susanna Petterson
Kuva: Emmi Korhonen

Susanna Pettersson is CEO of the Finnish Cultural Foundation (beginning June 2023), and Adjunct Professor in museology at the University of Jyväskylä. She has worked for more than three decades at art museums in Finland and Sweden. Her curatorial practice includes exhibitions that explore 19th century Finnish art, women artists, and the relation between the classical works and contemporary art. She was a Member of the Board of Aalto University during 2014-2020. 

Maria Rehbinder

Maria Elisabeth Rehbinder (LL.M, University of Helsinki) works as Senior Legal Counsel for Aalto University. Before joining the university, she previously worked as a lawyer for a copyright collecting society. Rehbinder advises students and staff on legal questions related to copyright, trademarks, design right and personal data. She has been involved in the agreements and agreement processes of art acquisition, exhibitions and communications of Aalto University. She is a member of the Copyright Council of the Ministry of Education and a member of International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). She was responsible for the project of translating the Creative Commons 4.0 copyright licenses into Finnish.  

Outi Turpeinen
Kuva: Sara Urbanski

Outi Turpeinen works as a Manager responsible for the Strategic Exhibitions entities and Public Art Collections at Aalto University. She loves to work with multi-disciplinary projects, which all give an opportunity to learn more about the world. She has been actively participating in impacting the art and design field as a board member for several organisations. She is also an awarded artist and Doctor of Arts.

More information on the event, art and Unfolding public art (book)  
Outi Turpeinen, Manager, art and exhibitions 
[email protected], tel. 050 431 4194  

Media and interviews  
Noora Stapleton, Senior Communications Specialist 
[email protected], tel. 050 353 1525

The vision of public art at Aalto University   

In 2017, Aalto University decided to comply with a one per cent art principle in its building projects. The one per cent art principle was first applied to the Radical Nature art concept in Aalto University’s main building, Dipoli.     

The vision of public art at Aalto University is to address and raise questions about what it is to be a university, what we do together in society, and what constitutes the public. Public art is site-specific and connects with the diversity of the university and its post-disciplinary communities. Public artworks reflect this diversity through different art forms, materials, techniques and traditions. 

Public art collections at Aalto University

The aim of public art across Aalto is to create a vibrant environment for experiencing the world through various perspectives and for embracing imagination, intuition, and exploration.

Learn more about public art at Aalto University
Renata Jakowleff «Blue» 2017, 190 x 160 x 40 cm, glass and steel, assembled Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Learn more

The Human Approach – art collection at the School of Business

The theme of the art concept that the one per cent art principle was applied to is Human Approach.

School of Business - Image by Mikko Raskinen

Global Equality Art Collection at Väre

Artworks in Väre remind us of the power of art in its ability to explore and expose diverse sociocultural and natural phenomena.


Radical Creativity art works at Töölö

Impressive art works by Sakari Kannosto and Kristina Riska are placed in the staircase and lobby areas. Aalto University Töölö is the fourth construction project at Aalto University in which approximately one per cent of the project budget was allocated to art.

Artist Kristina Riska’s impressive ceramic artworks ’inevitableprogress I & II’

Art from a Venetian Lagoon to Otaniemi

The artworks, placed in the building of the School of Chemical Engineering, focus on the ecological consequences of human activities

Two ceramic pots in shot, one in the back and the second seen partially at the very front

Data mycelium and a sculptural illusion - winning proposals of Aalto University's public art competition celebrate engineering

The artworks will be located in the K2 and K3 buildings in the Aalto University Works block

Illustration image of public art competition winning proposal Mycelium of the Future by Pasi Rauhala

Embodying quantum phenomenon, outdoor artwork Quantum Moss invites to take a break

The work visualises quantum physics through art and is next to the shopping centre A Bloc

A view through a plywood outdoor art, a person walking in the distance.

Gradually decomposing bioart challenges permanent design

Campus art competition winner bio.modules.way will be installed next to Dipoli

Two young people are looking upwards and smiling with mouths closed, behind an installation they designed. Art is made of wood and biopolymer flowers.

Upcoming book discusses the role of public art at Aalto University

To be published in May, Unfolding public art book is based on the university's art collection

Front and back covers of book called Unfolding Public Art. Text in red, book covers in sand colour.


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