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Finland opts for people-first experimentation at Milan Triennale

Celebrating inventiveness, curiosity and a willingness to fail, Finland will present its exhibition Everyday Experiments at the 22nd Milan Triennale from 1 March to 1 September this year.
Triennaali Hiilipörssi
One of the projects in the exhibition presents a carbon market Hiilipörssi. Photo: Aalto University / scene from a film by Miika Ullakko

Finland's exhibition is featuring twelve experimental projects people are already doing to make their lives more sustainable and equitable. The projects fit with this year’s Triennale theme – Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival – and interpret it in a uniquely Finnish context.

“Design is not just about aesthetics anymore. In order to achieve societal change, it must join forces with the natural sciences, technology, craft, policy-making and activism”, says Guy Julier, commissioner of the Finnish exhibition and Professor of Design Leadership at Aalto University. Kaisu Savola, Chief curator of the exhibition, continues: “This is already happening in many areas: the experiments presented in this exhibition challenge the boundaries between design and other disciplines.”

The exhibition will showcase the experimental nature of the Finnish mentality, with both small local projects and government initiatives, from the planning of an entire low carbon impact, ‘smart’ city neighbourhood (Smart Kalasatama) to an initiative by elderly women to teach migrants about Finnish forests (Place to Experiment, Kokeilun paikka). In many ways, this exhibition is a radical break from earlier participations in the Triennale: by presenting ongoing and unfinished projects as the ‘products’ of design, it shows how broad and inclusive design has become (not just chairs and glasses, but also systems and services, designed as shared activities in communities and organisations). It also chooses to include experiments from different realms of human activity, from working relationships, to education and research, governance, citizen science, art and activism. Most of the projects are being designed and carried out by non-designers.

Ioncell-kuitua
Ioncell fiber. Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

Finland has a long and successful history with the Milan Triennale, dating back to the first-ever international exhibition held in Milan in 1933, where Finnish designers won prizes ranging from the Grand Prize to the bronze. For over 30 years, Finland garnered awards and international attention at the Triennale, including the 1951 ‘miracle of Milan’ when the esteemed Italian design and architecture magazine Domus dedicated 14 pages to the Finnish pavilion. Through these exhibitions the clean lines of Finnish glassware and furniture achieved international renown. Everyday Experiments refreshes the story of Finnish design, revealing many new ways through which contemporary challenges of environment and society are being explored.

Triennale di Milano

Everyday Experiments exhibition

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

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For more information:

Chief curator Kaisu Savola
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
te. +358 50 5434 794
[email protected]

Everyday Experiments -näyttelyn logo
Exhibition logo. Aalto University / Adina Renner and Qin Yang.
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