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Public artworks at Aalto University Töölö reflect the building’s materials and details

Impressive works by Sakari Kannosto and Kristina Riska are placed in the staircase and lobby areas.
Riskan patsaat Aalto-yliopisto Töölön ala-aulassa.
Kristina Riska's artworks take centre stage at the entrance to the building.
Kannoston Kiertää-teos Aalto-yliopisto Töölön portaikossa.
Sakari Kannosto's artwork 'Kiertää-Circle' is made of glass and brass.

Two new public artworks have been installed in the Aalto University Töölö building in Helsinki. A major renovation of the building was completed in January, and it was the fourth construction project at Aalto University in which approximately one per cent of the project budget was allocated to art.

Artist Sakari Kannosto’s delicate artwork 'Kiertää-Circle' won the invitational competition seeking artworks for the building. Hanging in the staircase area, 'Kiertää-Circle' symbolises communality, growth, ambition, courage, winning, responsibility, and waiting for the future and all things new. Constructed of polished brass tubing and recycled glass, the piece serves as a spatial artwork in the staircase, depicting the seed-bearing branch of a Norway maple.

Artist Kristina Riska’s impressive ceramic artworks ’inevitableprogress I & II’ consist of two human-sized figures and take centre stage at the entrance to the building. With their rough black surfaces and the brass pedestal, the artworks stand in strong contrast to the interior of the main lobby. The ceramic figures are equal in size to the people passing by.

Both artists’ works react to the many details and materials of the renovated spaces. They respect the past and propose diverse angles for the future. With its public art concept for the building, ‘Radical creativity’, Aalto University seeks to create a sense of contrast in the historical building and its visually impressive interior.

Designed by architects Woldemar Baeckman and Hugo Harmia, the building was completed in 1950. The main occupant of the building is Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE), which provides executive education and leadership development services globally.

In addition to these public artworks, the art collection on display at Aalto University Executive Education comprises some 300 works, representing modern and contemporary art.

Aalto University's vision for public art is to raise questions about what the university is, what we are doing as part of society, and what is meant by the concept ‘public’. Public art is site-specific and linked to the diversity of the university and its disciplines. Public artworks reflect this diversity through different art forms, materials, techniques and traditions. 

Photos: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen.

Further information: 

Outi Turpeinen, art coordinator
Aalto University  
[email protected], +358 50 4314194

Read more:

Aalto University Töölö’s art competition seeks radical creativity (Aalto.fi)

The radical percent (Aalto University Magazine)

Public art at Aalto University

Sakari Kannosto’s website

Kristina Riska’s website

Aalto University Executive Education

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