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Metro station's facade tells about communal campus

The work of art, Skill Shapes, was designed by Aalto University's alumna Emilia Ahonen.
Emilia Ahonen is an illustrator and graphic designer from Helsinki. She graduated as a Master of Arts from Aalto University's Degree Programme in Graphic Design in 2015. Regeneration, transformation, surprise and play are highlighted as the subjects in Ahonen's works.

The colourful figures at the main entrance of Aalto University's metro station in Otaniemi seem almost dancing. Behind them, three different forms of a pastel tone combine with each other. Graphic Designer Emilia Ahonen explains that she wanted to emphasise the main role that the university's students and multidisciplinarity play in the work decorating the metro station's facade.

–  The theme of Skill Shapes is the merging together of students' skills on the Otaniemi campus. The colourful figures represent students and the forms at the background symbolise Aalto University's fields: technology, business and arts. The combination of the forms reflects the university's multidisciplinary approach, Ahonen says.

Ahonen, who graduated with the Master of Arts degree from Aalto University, wanted to use a communal approach for the work of art at the campus's metro station.  

–  The work communicates about collaboration and the university's communal values.  The most gratifying aspect for me, while studying at Aalto, was how students encounter each other in various multidisciplinary and international cooperation projects. However, the design is open to other interpretations also, she says.

It was rewarding for Ahonen to design a non-commercial work of art impacting a city space.

– I like it that there are also other than commercial messages on city surfaces. I spent some time as an exchange student in Argentina, where wall murals coloured the city. They were a fascinating example of the joint impact of aesthetics and communication in a city space.

Ahonen's design draft won the competition which was organised for graphic design students at Aalto University in 2015. The participants in the working group included Art Coordinator Tuula Isohanni and Professor of Practice, Graphic Design and Visual Communication Saku Heinänen, both from Aalto University, as well as Specialist Ilona Törmikoski who acted as the facilitator. The work was realised in close cooperation with Verstas Architects.

Photo: Aalto University, Mikko Raskinen

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