In March 2020, Aalto University published an invited art competition to find exceptional and feasible proposals for artworks to be placed in the main entrance space and staircase area of Aalto Töölö. Five artists were invited to join the competition, and one of the submitted proposals was finally selected for the staircase space.
The winner of the invited art competition is Sakari Kannosto’s ‘Kiertää’, which describes communality, growth, ambition, courage, winning, responsibility, and waiting for the future and all things new. The piece, made of polished brass pipe, serves as a spatial artwork in the staircase, depicting the seed-bearing branch of a Norway maple.
‘My artwork proposals deal with the circle of life, achievements and the rewarding of expectations. The selected piece also depicts sustainable development and the connection between human and nature. The organic shape serves as a contrast to functionality’, Kannosto explains.
The artwork captures the eye of passers-by and mirrors the many details of the valuable building
The winner was chosen by a jury including Aalto University's Vice President for Research Ossi Naukkarinen, Aalto University Board Vice Chair and Director General at Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Susanna Pettersson, independent art critic, gallerist and curator Veikko Halmetoja and CEO of Aalto University Executive Education and Professor of Practice at the Aalto University School of Business Pekka Mattila. Aalto University's Art Coordinator Outi Turpeinen coordinated the selection process.
The draft proposal will be developed further in accordance with the jury’s wishes.
‘This artwork makes great use of vertical space and draws visitors’ attention to the staircase. It also reflects beautifully the motifs repeated in the many details of the important building, all the way down to the material choices. For the future main user of the property, Aalto University Executive Education, art is an essential part of both the customer and staff experience. Moreover, the versatile presence of art in each and every space highlights the multidisciplinary nature of Aalto University’, Pekka Mattila explains the jury’s decision.
‘Radical creativity’ art concept for Aalto Töölö
The selection of the art competition winner was based on a specific art concept. Public art at Aalto Töölö seeks to find a contrast to the historical building and its visually impressive interior. The proposed artworks were required to react to the space and make suggestions for the future. The main entrance lobby and staircase are both characterised by entering and leaving.
Aalto Töölö represents a functionalist style. Architects Woldemar Baeckman and Hugo Harmia were in charge of designing the facilities of the building completed in 1950. The building belongs to the international Docomomo register, which means that it is listed as a protected representative of modern architecture. The renovation and modernisation of the building began in May 2019, and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
Aalto University's vision for public art
In 2017, Aalto University decided to comply with the one per cent art principle in its building projects. Aalto Töölö is the fourth Aalto University construction project in which approximately one per cent of the building project’s funds are allocated to art procurements. The principle was first applied to the Radical Nature art concept in Aalto University’s main building Dipoli.
Aalto University's vision for public art is to raise and ask questions about what the university is, what we are doing as part of society and what the concept ‘public’ means. Public art is site-specific and linked to the diversity of the university and its disciplines. Public artworks reflect this diversity through different art forms, materials, techniques and traditions.
Outi Turpeinen, Art Coordinator, Aalto University
[email protected], tel. +358 50 431 4194