University of Helsinki participating in the World Design Capital 2012 project

The University of Helsinki is strongly represented on the foundation set up for the World Design Year.

University of Helsinki participating in the World Design Capital 2012 project

Mari Vaattovaara, Professor of Urban Geography, has been appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the International Design Foundation, which has been set up for the project, and Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson as Deputy Chair of the foundation’s governing body.

The foundation’s task is to plan and implement Helsinki’s World Design Year 2012.

Professor Vaattovaara says how enthusiastic she is about the special year.

- The size of the project alone is impressive. There are so many different bodies involved: the City, the government, two universities as well as the business world, she says enthusiastically.

- It’s great to be a participant in a project to which everyone is one hundred per cent committed.

Relations Manager Mika Tuuliainen from the Rector’s Office, who has been developing links between the foundation and the university, considers the design year to be an excellent showcase for the university.

- Being in the global spotlight is a rare treat. We have a great opportunity to showcase our university as being a modern and world-class institution.

The university’s aim is to view the concept of design from a broad perspective. This is also reflected in the new slogan: University of Helsinki – Designing The Future.

The most important preparations for the events in 2012 are just getting underway, although the university has held preliminary discussions with the Avaus library being built in Kaisaniemi, urban studies projects and the Fellman learning centre in Lahti.

This autumn, the university will establish a position as a coordinator for the celebratory year, and negotiations are underway with the foundation on using the title Word Design Capital.

Urban studies projects are especially important to Professor Vaattovaara, but she hopes the design year will highlight the importance of design to the entire university.

- Design can be thought of as a new perspective in research. For example, one question that could be asked is how various objects of research appear in terms of their design and how have they been shaped into their current form.

World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 » »

Text: Juha Merimaa
Photo: Anttinen Oiva Arkkitehdit Oy
Translation: AAC Global

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