Rafaela Seppälä donates 500 000 euros to Aalto University's area of art and design

The substantial donation is part of the government matching funding campaign that will run until the end of June 2022.
Tuomas Auvinen, Rafaela Seppälä ja Marjo Miettinen_kuva Mikko Raskinen
Tuomas Auvinen, Rafaela Seppälä ja Marjo Miettinen. Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Rafaela Seppälä, a prominent art connoisseur and collector, is donating a total of 500 000 euros to Aalto University to support research and teaching at the area of art and design.

"Finland has always had a high level of creative talent and design. Today's generations are ambitious and they dare to reach high. There is also an international demand for Finnish expertise. Now is an excellent time to support the framework that will help us unlock the full creative potential," says Rafaela Seppälä.

"Creativity comes from combining ideas, materials and techniques. The university community offers its members excellent structures to support, search for and find their own creative tools.  At the same time, the university setting is a great place to learn to express one’s own views and create a social dialogue," she continues.

Rafaela Seppälä and Aalto University were brought together by Marjo Miettinen, one of the owners of the family business Ensto and chairman of its board. She has followed the development of Aalto University throughout its more than ten years of existence. She says: "Innovations don't just happen on their own. We need holistic competence, especially in a country as small as Finland. The private sector is used to supporting the economy and technology, but looking into the future we need to invest in creativity. New ideas are born and refined when creative thinking and skills such as design are extended to technology, and vice versa when the arts embrace new technologies. The whole idea of Aalto University starts from this multidisciplinarity."

Tuomas Auvinen, Dean of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, is delighted with the exceptionally large private donation. "We are very grateful for this donation, which will help to ensure that our school maintains its international level of excellence. High-quality work requires good facilities and free space to experiment with new things. It is in things like this that donations play a crucial role."

Marjo Miettinen (vas), Tuomas Auvinen ja Rafaela Seppälä. Kuva: Mikko Raskinen
Marjo Miettinen (left), Tuomas Auvinen ja Rafaela Seppälä. Photo: Mikko Raskinen

The impact of the donation will be further enhanced by the Finnish government's matching funding campaign, which will run until the end of June 2022. Donations collected by Aalto University during the campaign will capitalize the university for the benefit of future generations.

And what kind of messages do the influential patrons of the School send to young designers and artists?

Rafaela Seppälä says: "You have to dare to dream and then find a concrete way to make your dreams come true. The same applies to sustainable development: creative methods can be used to solve problems that now seem difficult. Give your passion space, go with it, you will find your own path and find what to dedicate your time and life to. Without passion there is no excellence!"

Marjo Miettinen wants to encourage young creators to actively seek out a support network along the way. "You can get help, even from remarkable people, as long as you have the courage to ask for it. And also: forget about out-of-the-box thinking, don't think about boxes at all!"

For more information:

Tuomas Auvinen
Dean, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
[email protected]
+358 50 648 48

Sinikka Heikkala
Head, Donor Engagement, Aalto University
[email protected]
+358 400 908899

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