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

The winning proposals of the competitions are Pasi Rauhala's Mycelium of the Future and Teija and Pekka Isorättyä's Love Gear. The artworks will be located in the K2 and K3 buildings in the Aalto University Works block. The university organised two public art competitions, one of which was an art competition open to all for the first time
Illustration image of public art competition winning proposal Mycelium of the Future by Pasi Rauhala
Pasi Rauhala's proposal Mycelium of the Future meanders throughout the K3 building. Illustration: Pasi Rauhala

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.

Illustration image of Love Gear by Teija and Pekka Isorättyä on the facade of Aalto Works K2 building
Teija and Pekka Isorättyä's proposal Love Gear on the facade of K2 building. Illustration: Teija and Pekka Isorättyä

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.
More information
Outi Turpeinen, Senior Specialist, art and exhibitions 
[email protected]     
tel. 050 431 4194  

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