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Love and poetry - the artists were inspired by the passion conveyed by the university's research

The K1, K2, and K3 buildings' art collection Engineering Materials was published as part of the university's public art seminar on 30 May 2023. The theme of the collection is a tribute to engineering
Outi Turpeinen standing on stage talking about Unfolding public art book to a seated audience facing her.
Unfolding public art book launched at Role of Public Art in Aalto University seminar on 30 May 2023. Photo: Aalto University/Mikko Raskinen

Engineering Materials, the art collection of the three buildings located at Aalto University's campus in Otaniemi, was published as part of the university's public art seminar on 30 May 2023. The K1, K2 and K3 buildings (Otakaari 4, Puumiehenkuja 3 and Puumiehenkuja 5) have new commissioned works from a total of eight artists.

The collection was compiled through direct purchases and two art competitions organised by Aalto University. Helena Sederholm, professor at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and Outi Turpeinen, manager of art and exhibitions at the university, curated the works of artists in the K1 building, presenting a wide range of materials and used techniques.

In January 2022, Aalto University announced two public art competitions, which sought exceptional and feasible work proposals for the premises of the block under construction at the time. Both competitions focused on the university community's desire to bring more light art to the Otaniemi campus area.

Pekka and Teija Isorättyä's artwork Lovegear on the façade of K2 building at night. The artwork is a cinetic sculpture that creates the illusion of continuing inside through the wall.
Pekka and Teija Isorättyä's Lovegear (2023) on the façade of the K2 building. Photo: Aalto University/Mikko Raskinen

A wide range of materials utilised in the art collection

For the first time, an art competition open to all artists requested proposals for works for the façade of the K2 building. Pekka and Teija Isorättyä's kinetic light sculpture Lovegear's light and glass surfaces create the illusion of a continuum into the K2 building for the moving cogwheels, was the winning proposal of the art competition open to all artists.

Lovegear is at its best in the dark, because the lights and glass surfaces of the sculpture bring out the illusion effect of the work. With their work, the artists wanted to highlight love as a part of human life as a guideline. The work, which mainly runs on solar energy, has, among other things, glass bottles from the chemistry class of the artists' old high school. There is also a button under the work. You can press it to start the kinetic movement of the work.

Indoor staircase at K1 building on the left, Anssi Kasitonni's artwork Polaris (2023) on the upstairs on a white wall. On the right side of the image is Anssi Laitinen's artwork Willow Wiew (2023).
The K1 building has works by five artists. In the picture, at the top of the stairs, Anssi Kasitonn's work Polaris (2023) and lower on the right wall, Antti Laitinen's circular work Willow Wiew. Photo: Aalto University/Mikko Raskinen

The ribbonlike light artwork spreads like a mycelium in the building

The artists participating in the invitational competition were asked for proposals for permanent works of art to be placed in four spaces in the K3 building. The invitational competition was won by Pasi Rauhala's data-visualising light work Mycelium of the Future that meanders through different parts of the building. In the LED panels of the work, sentences edited by artificial intelligence run in the form of poems, which are based on summaries of theses from all six schools of Aalto University. 

The K1 building has works of art by direct order from five artists who are inspired by the research of the School of Engineering:

  • Antti Laitisen's material is everyday willow, which he has transformed into a 2-dimensional sculpture.
  • Anssi Kasitonni amuses you with his photos, where an icebreaker transforms into a fish-eating robot.
  • Kaisaleena Halinen's fire extinguisher sculptures made of different materials are located in the old fire extinguisher holes in the staircase.
  • Anna Rikkinen's jewel-like works create a love story about the study of ice.
  • The movement in Kristiina Uusitalo's paintings is created by elements rising into the air, which change with the light.
Kaisaleena Halinen's artworks show fire extinguishers in four different materials, here in rusty metal, in a casing in an indoor staircase in the K1 building.
Kaisaleena Halinen's Layers of memory work, consisting of five parts, is located in different places in the staircase of the K1 building. Photo: Aalto Universit/Mikko Raskinen

The theme is a tribute to engineering

The art theme Engineering Materials honours and respects the Otaniemi areas long history with educating engineers. Aalto Works block connects different fields, disciplines and beyond, for example mechanical engineers with fresh startups. 

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 project, which combines the renovation and additional construction of the block located in Otaniemi, will be completed by 2025. After completion, the block will be home for the departments of the School of Engineering, Department Machine Hall of the School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto Design Factory, Startup Sauna, Aalto Ventures Program 

The collection of public art will be completed after the construction projects are completed

The photographic works of Elina Brotherus and Kalle Kataila were placed in the meeting and office rooms of the university's staff area in Dipoli (Otakaari 24).

The selected artists and their work proposals for the next buildings to be completed, Marsio (Otakaari 2A) and Otakaari 2B, will also be announced soon.

More information 
Outi Turpeinen, Manager, art and exhibitions
[email protected], tel. +358 50 431 4194  
 

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. 

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

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

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

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Unfolding public art book is based on the university's art collection

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