Kalasataman taidetalkoot2

This is an update on the park project in Kalasatama. Previous post is here.

After a vote, through facebook and paper form left in a Piggybaggy and City Library community area, the name of the park was decided on – Katiska, a fish trap.

Now for the new additions. The kids from local kindergarten really wanted to come and help with the park, but by the time that was arranged, autumn had arrived. We couldn’t take the 4 and 5 year-olds out on the lashing rain, so we brought the park to them instead. Annika picked up some smaller rocks  and we had a painting session (well, two – one with each age group) and the kids covered the rocks in safe and washable finger paint. As they were painting, we all talked about the park and the kids even taught me some Finnish. Once the rocks were dry, Annika and I varnished them with a weather-resistant paint and brought back to the park, for decoration and also for playing some kind of a Finnish game (I’ll tell you about it once I learn how to play it).

Photo by Annika Niskanen
Photo by Annika Niskanen
Photo by Annika Niskanen
Photo by Annika Niskanen

To get a donation of some used tyres, I contacted various car repair places, addresses of which I found on the official Nokia tyres web page. A lovely guy, who works for one of them, Rengaskeskus,  agreed to donate about 30 tyres for us and even dropped them off to us on his day off. We wanted to use the tyres for sitting, making flower beds and building forts.

Then we held another outdoor painting session. As the temperature was close to zero degrees, only the most hardcore mums and their well wrapped up toddlers took part in the Taidetalkoot (Taide being art, and talkoot – something along the lines of spring clean, a get together of the neighbours to beautify their common areas  and have a bbq afterwards). Nonetheless, this is what we had in the end:

IMGP5559 IMGP5595

Upcoming-The Last Lingonberry in Kivinokka in Helsinki

Kivinokka is a peninsula on the seaside in Helsinki. The nature reserve a place of summer cottages, gardening allotments, forest walks and an annual environmental art exhibition. This year I’m taking part in the show, that is in its 11th year running.

A group of former and current EA students of Aalto, we called the exhibition “The Last Lingonberry”, to reference the constant threat of building development in the area, as well as the recent decision to discontinue the Environmental Art program in the University.

More about the exhibition here.

Here’s a sneak peek of my work, six interventions located throughout the area, to be discovered accidently.

Circa 2014 (2014), Installation in a cultivated forest

Cirka 2014 Circa 2014


LUX Helsinki Light Festival 2014 Lantern Park


Lantern Park is a project located in Hesperia park, a popular city centre sea-side space. Curated by Kaisa Salmi, an environmental and community artist and a PhD researcher from Aalto University, this strand of LUX Helsinki presented over 150 lanterns created over the past years by Helsinki artists and designers.  I was very lucky to be a part of this event, developed in collaboration with the University. 

My work lamely titled  A Point of Veiw

Lux Helsinki is an annual festival taking place in the darkest time of the year in venues, sometimes indoor bot mostly outside, including the Senate square, Hesperia park, the Opera House, the Opera house and Cable factory to list a few. The festival features multiple artists from all over the world, this year including the renowned Spanish fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada with the design agency D-Facto with Corazón, a huge heart beating in countless colours on Senate Square. Urban Flipper, by the French company CT Light Concept, turned the façade of the New Student House into a giant pinball game, which can be played onsite by visitors. Fire circus and large scale installations were also part of the festival.

Making this a bit ridiculous and a bit pathetic lantern was the best fun. Watching kids and adults walking up to the sculpture, looking in, turning the handles was a rewarding experience, one that conceptual artists don’t often acquire. The melancholy and the homey kitsch of the Point of View seemed to balance out the beautifully designed hanging lanterns, and the smart light sculptures on the ground and overall I felt the Lantern Park in Hesperia felt like a place of dreams, and it was incredibly exciting to contribute to such a large project engaged with by many a thousand of people.

Below are examples of the stunning lanterns by other participants such as Charli Clark, Rik Van der Laan, Alise Brante and others. 

Rik IMGP3304 IMGP3297 Alise

PlaceMaking Workshop

Helsinki 2012

“It’s hard to design a space that will not attract people. What is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished.”

– William (Holly) Whyte

Today I attended a Placemaking workshop organized by Aalto University in collaboration with Helsinki Design week .  The workshop was lead by Elena Madison, vice president of Projects for Public Spaces, New York, “a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities”.

The idea of the workshop was to evaluate and suggest improvements to the waterfront site in Helsinki district of katajanokka, a proposed site for Helsinki Guggenheim museum. Currently it a barren space with the seafront sectioned off by a fence as it is a customs zone for the nearby Stockholm ferries. The workshop was held in the old The Old Customs Warehouse, or Tulli- ja Pakkahuone in Finnish, a stunning turn of the century building, which is now used as a design hub and an exhibition space.

Old Customs house Helsinki

In the morning the four participants including students from curatiorial studies, design management, interior design and myself attended a presentation by Elena Madison:

She spoke of a public space as a starting point rather than an afterthought. She mentioned William H. Whyte, the mentor of PPS, who is an author of books such as The Organization Man,  1956, where he critiques surbanisation, The Exploding Metropolis, The Last Landscape, and The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, a social study of public spaces. His research activities included behaviour mapping, time lapse, he promoted holistic view and observation.

 One of the best things about water is the look and feel of it. It’s not right to put water before them and then keep them away from it… Benches are artifacts, the purpose of which is to punctuate architectural photographs. They are not so good for sitting.

In the afternoon we went to evaluate the site using the same evaluation form that is normally given t the members of the community in question. On the first page of the form, called Place Game, was an evaluation table, where we had to rate the place in its existing format, to rank it on comfort and image, access & linkages, uses & activities as well as its sociability. On the second page were questions like “List at least ten activities you would like to be able to do in this place?” “who else should be attracted to use this space (teens, mothers, seniors, artists, etc)?” and others concerning what we would do with the space.  Then we made suggestions and drew a plan for the site.  Image by Santo Leung

The plan will probably  not be realised, but hopefully it will help the architects to create a better environment in the area sometime in the future.

Below is a beautiful visualisation by one of the participants, Sini Parikka. Please see armi website for a report by Sini.

Many thanks to Elena, all the organisers and participants, and Santo Leung for the photo.