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.
Data mycelium and a sculptural illusion - winning proposals of Aalto University's public art competition celebrate engineering
In January 2022, Aalto University announced two competitions to find exceptional and feasible proposals for works of art to be placed in different spaces in the Aalto University Works block. Arranged for the first time, the art competition open to all artists sought work on the facade of the K2 building in the Aalto Works block (Puumiehenkuja 3). The artists participating in the invitation to the competition were invited to submit proposals for permanent works of art to be placed in four spaces in the K3 building (Puumiehenkuja 5).
'Public art plays an important role in the diverse palette of Aalto University's artistic activities. The selection of winners was difficult this time because the level of candidates was so high. We believe that the selected works will be of interest to those working in Otaniemi and visitors for a very long time,' says chair of art competition juries, Vice President for Research at Aalto University Ossi Naukkarinen.
The winner of the open art competition was Teija and Pekka Isorättyä's kinetic light sculpture proposal Love Gear, whose moving cogwheels create the illusion of the continuation of the K2 building's façade. The jury was particularly pleased with the combination of the materials used and its way of discussing the history of engineering. The second place in the open competition went to the art collective SWart's proposal Ratio and the third place to Antti Ahlava's proposal Graffiti. 12 works were submitted to the competition.
The invitational competition was won by Pasi Rauhala's light work Mycelium of the Future, which visualises data and meanders around the building. According to the jury, the work takes good account of the space and its content is in smooth cooperation with the community. Four works were submitted to the competition.
Art collection develops over time
The level of both competitions was high, and the jury felt the elements sought in the competitions were found. The schedule for the installation of the works will be specified closer to the completion of the construction work. Additional direct art acquisitions for the other buildings of Aalto Works are under planning, and these pieces will be curated by professor Helena Sederholm and senior specialist Outi Turpeinen.
The Konemies block in Otaniemi will be transform into the Aalto Works block by 2025, in a development project where renovating the existing buildings and adding new buildings to the block. After completion, Aalto Works will house the departments of the School of Engineering, Department Machine Hall of the School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto Design Factory, Startup Sauna, Aalto Ventures Program and partners of Aalto University.
Art concept celebrates engineering
The art theme 'Engineering Materials' honours and respects the Otaniemi areas long history with educating engineers. Simultaneously the core idea is also to focus on engineering as a verb. Aalto Works block connects different fields, disciplines and beyond, for example mechanical engineers with fresh start-ups.
The 'Engineering Materials' collection of artworks aims to create both critical questions, but also inspiring aesthetics in the environment of work and study. Art works are there to challenge our minds and to enhance environment where the sense of community is highly valued. The art theme builds expectation for engineering the future.
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 campus art competition is the university’s fifth project, where approximately one per cent of a building project's allocation is allocated to art purchases. 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.
Outi Turpeinen, Senior Specialist, art and exhibitions
tel. 050 431 4194
Pasi Rauhala: Mycelium of the Future
Winning proposal of the invited competition, to be located in K3 building.
Teija and Pekka Isorättyä: Love Gear
Competition open to all, the completed piece to be located on K2 building's facade.
Second place in the competition open to all.
Art collective SWartiin:
Suvi Saastamoinen, landscape architect, MA
Santeri Nuotio, architect
Sini Mäkinen, industrial designer
Anssi Mäkinen, lighting designer, MA
Antti Ahlava: Graffiti
Third place in the competition open to all.