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Your invitation to Life 1.5

Save the date/planet: Welcome to our fourth Designs for a Cooler Planet festival, 7.9–12.10.2022 in Otaniemi, Espoo.
Shimmering Wood sneaker designed by by Noora Yau & Konrad Klockars. Photo: Kalle Kataila
A shimmering wood shoe designed by Noora Yau and Konrad Klockars. Structural Color Studio was shortlisted in Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards. Photo: Kalle Kataila

Imagine a life where everything we use is recycled, upcycled and wisely produced. Imagine a life where global warming doesn't exceed 1.5 degrees. Imagine a better life – for you, for future generations and for the planet.

It will take bold, systemic changes to make that world real. Aalto researchers, designers and entrepreneurs are working to discover, develop and create alternatives to put us on that path. We invite you to Otaniemi to experience and explore what Life 1.5 could be. It’s a five-week long festival open to everyone, celebrating experiments in planet-friendly materials, fashion and food.

This year, our exhibitions and events will be grouped into three sub-themes:

  • What’s the future made of? The globe can’t handle our wasteful use of materials. In Life 1.5, we leave no trace. We can design systems where items and materials can be reused almost endlessly.
  • Wear the future: Your future wardrobe could be an impressive collection of upcycled garments and high-tech clothes, using materials and colours made from excess materials. Life 1.5 favours slow style over fast fashion.
  • What’s on the menu? Our food production system accelerates biodiversity loss and is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. We need to use less to produce more. In Life 1.5, our food systems are healthier.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you'll see in September:

Water-hyacinth turned into textiles. Photo: Pentti Pällijeff
Water hyacinth is turned into textiles through an advanced chemical process. Photo: Pentti Pällijeff

Norratex – from tropical plant waste into sustainable raw material

There's a lot of demand for sustainable, commercially viable recycled or alternative textile fibres. Several innovations in Finland have birthed spin-off companies, such as Ioncell fibre, Spinnova and Infinited Fibre Company. A new member of this ecosystem is Norratex, a fibre manufactured without any toxic chemicals or expensive solvents.

Norratex will showcase a plant-based textile fibre made from water hyacinth. The Norratex fibre process also generates a sugar sidestream which can be fed to microbes to produce a colourful biological dye.

Water hyacinths are invasive, forming mats that cause flooding and decrease dissolved oxygen concentration, harming tropical fish populations in Asia. Norratex offers a way to turn these harmful plants into high value textiles and textile dyes, reducing the need of virgin raw-material and fossil-based pigments.

Megan McGlynn's Sample Wall comprises hundreds of different geometric tests. Photo Megan McGlynn
Megan McGlynn's Sample Wall comprises hundreds of different geometric tests. Photo Megan McGlynn

Second Nature: biomaterial experiments

Nature consumes only what it provides, producing no waste. Finland is a world leader in bio-based products and technologies, and ChemArts' exhibition titled Second Nature will once again showcase the fascinating biomaterial experiments that might be the seeds of new solutions.

This year, one of Second Nature's most fascinating exhibits is designer Megan McGlynn's Intension - Sample Wall, which comprises hundreds of different geometric tests made with nanocellulose. The curled, organic shapes are reminiscent of animals, plants and bacteria cataloged as scientific samples. 

Megan McGlynn's interview at Helsinki Design Weekly

Blue Ioncell shirt
100% Ioncell top made from birch pulp and spun in the pilot production line, dyed with natural indigo (woad), Natural Indigo Finland. Designers: Elina Onkinen and Kasia Gorniak. Photo: Diana Luganski

Wardrobe of the Future

Do you want to take a look at the the future of sustainable fashion? One of our main exhibitions this year is called Wardrobe of the Future, a curated collection of state of the art textiles, clothing and fashion innovations.

In addition to a few pieces from Aalto’s famous Näytös, there's also the Shimmering Wood sneaker and Irene Puraschit’s Flower Matter, which was nominated for the New European Bauhaus Prize shortlist in 2022, and plenty more to see!

Wardrobe of the Future page

Vertical Farming: An insurance against the changing climate photo: Mikko Raskinen
Vertical farming minimises transport needs and food waste by lengthening the shelf life of edible plants. Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Vertical Farming: An insurance against the changing climate

The global agricultural sector faces numerous challenges, such as a shortage of arable land and water, and is also involved in many aspects of the climate crisis. Vertical farming is an alternative approach that enables steady food production in all environments and climates, as well as bringing production closer to the consumers.

Top researchers from different scientific fields and the team behind the wood-based greenhouse, will discuss the rapidly growing industry of vertical farming in an open seminar on October 5 at 13:00-15:00.

Anything but an ordinary greenhouse

Fluff Stuff utilises plant-based textile filling. Photo: Fluff Stuff
Fluff Stuff uses a plant-based textile filling made of cattails, marsh plants that are mainly found in temperate and cold regions. Photo: Tea Auramo

Fluff Stuff: Climate-positive textile fillings from Finnish peatlands

Today, most textile products are filled with unsustainable materials, such as down feathers or fossil-based polyester fibres. Four Aalto students established a company that provides climate-positive textile products and fillings for fashion apparell and home textiles. 

Industrial use of the down feather resembling seed of the cattail plant could reduce agricultural emissions, regenerate peatland ecosystems, offer climate-friendly income sources for landowners and replace unsustainable fillings in textile products.

Fluff Stuff's website

The festival includes a science & design exhibition that consists of over 20 projects. You can also join the tours and open seminars.

Designs for a Cooler Planet is part of Helsinki Design Week’s official festival programme. Everyone is welcome to visit the Designs for a Cooler Planet event September 7– October 12, 2022 in Otaniemi, Espoo. The complete programme will be published in August.

Helsinki Design Week is the largest design festival in the Nordic countries. Aalto University is one of Helsinki Design Week’s main partners.

More information: 

  • Enni Äijälä, Specialist, exhibitions with partners and outreach, [email protected], +358 50 359 4810
  • Tiina Toivola, communications, Radical Creativity, [email protected], +358 50 326 0300

Have a look at last year's virtual exhibitions

Loving Environments virtual exhibition. Design: Heljä Nieminen

Loving Environments | Virtual Exhibition (external link)

More sustainable and liveable living environments.

Designs for a Cooler Planet

Annual exhibition series envisioning sustainable futures through creative concepts

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