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The world around us is filled with threats, climate change being one extremely acute problem. We are drowning in overproduced goods, while the quality and sustainability of products, services and construction have suffered. The air we breathe and our waterways are polluted, and our living environments – at home and out in the world – do not give us adequate protection or comfort in the midst of change. What must we do to find solutions to extreme phenomena and major problems, for example, in the urban environment?

A starting point for Alvar Aalto’s (1898–1976) architecture was human, nature-centred design for sustainable development that, for instance, took into account the efficient use of materials. This was humane, ecological design thinking – a hundred years ago – 2023 is 125 years since the birth of Alvar Aalto. What have we learned from Aalto’s design principles? How does Aalto’s legacy hold up? – And could it still show us the way today? Discussing this in Finnish: Ville Blåfield, Hanna Harris and Mirkku Kullberg.

Ville Blåfield is a journalist, communications consultant, and Program Director of Helsinki Book Fair. He has worked extensively in the media and, prior to his current job as a communications consultant, had a long career as a journalist. He was as a journalist for Ilta-Sanomat and Suomen Kuvalehti, Managing Editor of Seura and, for the longest period, Editorial Development Manager and supervisor at Helsingin Sanomat. For the past five years, Blåfield has been a Director at Business Consulting and Services agency Miltton in charge of earned-media expertise. Blåfield has published four non-fiction books on publicity, politics, Finnish sauna culture, and the history of education work.

Hanna Harris has been Chief Design Officer for the City of Helsinki since 2020. In that role, she promotes the use of design and architecture in the development of the city’s functions and urban space, as well as enhancing Helsinki’s international reputation as a design city. She was previously Director of Archinfo Finland, and Programme Director for Helsinki Design Week and the Finnish Institute in London. Harris is a Licentiate of Social Sciences and an Urban Researcher.

Mirkku Kullberg, CEO of Paimio Sanatorium and Founder of Glasshouse Helsinki, is a cross-disciplinary thinker on business and cultural phenomena. She is a design executive with a strong track record in strategy processes, branding, consumer foresight, and restructuring management. Her previous experience includes roles as CEO of the iconic Finnish furniture company Artek, Creative Director for Hotel St. George, Head of the Home Department at Swiss company Vitra, and VP of Poltrona Frau for the Americas. Prior to this, she revamped Finnish design standouts in fashion, such as Nanso and Grünstein. She is Chair of the board of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and has served as a board member for Finnish and international companies across different sectors.

Mirkku Kullberg is a thought leader in Scandinavian design, an art lover, and a strong believer in responsible growth. She believes that the time has come for artists, designers, architects, scientists, and businesspeople to sit around the same table and start taking meaningful action.

The event is being run by the Alvar Aalto Foundation, which is a partner of Habitare Pro.

Hanna Harris, Ville Blåfield ja Mirkku Kullberg.

Akateeminen kirjakauppa (1961-69), Helsinki. Valokuva Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto -säätiö.

Event info

Tuesday 12.9.2023 15-16
Academic Bookstore Helsinki
Free entrance.