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How can innovative architectural and design solutions, as well as research and manufacturing – such as bio-based materials – and innovations inspired by nature, act as pacesetters in solving topical global problems? Future pathfinders for bio-based design, innovative materials, and design solutions for a circular economy will form the main points of focus in the 9th International Alvar Aalto Design Seminar – BIOSYMBIOSIS on 24.–25.5.2022.

The two-day, hybrid format BIOSYMBIOSIS design seminar brings to the discussion top Finnish and international names in bio-based design, some of them presenting their work for the very first time in Finland. The language of the seminar is English.

Tuesday 24th May 2022 is dedicated to the theme “Pathfinders for the Sustainable Future: Nature-Based Design Thinking, Research and Problem-Solving”. Esteemed biodesign expert, curator and author William Myers (Museum of 21st Century Design, M21D, including Biodesign [MoMA, 2018]), will start the discussion. An expert in regenerative design and biomimicry and founder of Exploration Architecture, architect Michael Pawlyn (the Eden Project, Sahara Forest Project, Biomimetic Office Building) will introduce the principles of biomimicry in the built environment. Other current names in design, the Italians Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin from Studio Formafantasma, will open the discussion on the future prospects of geodesign research. Architect Henna Helander, President of Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA and CEO of the Paimio Sanatorium Foundation, interior designer Anna Tiula from Helsinki Interiors, and Kari-Otso Nevaluoma, editor-in-chief of Avotakka magazine will discuss biophilic design as arising from the connections with nature.


From biodesign research to regenerative design

The morning session of the second day, 25th May, starts with the theme “Smart Components of Tomorrow: Bio-based materials and Innovations”, focusing on material-based solutions in biodesign. Designer Sofia Pia Belenky from the Space Caviar design office in Milan and Daniel Grushkin, director of the Biodesign Challenge competition (USA) will open the discussion on current phenomena. Professor Pirjo Kääriäinen will present recent ChemArts material research at Aalto University. Designers Irene Purasachit (Aalto University) and Manuel Arias Barrantes (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) will reveal some of their inspiring experiments with biomaterials. The City of Jyväskylä’s Circwaste-EU project for the circular economy, not only examines the reuse of materials but also utilizes local design expertise.

The afternoon session and third theme “Intelligent Solutions for Today: Innovative Sustainable Production for the Circular Economy” highlights current bio-innovative companies such as Solar Foods, Sulapac, Spinnova and Betolar. Similarly, in MetsäGroup’s and Fortum’s ExpandFibre-Ecosystem project, wood-waste-based materials are directed to the global markets. Outi Suomi, Head of Bio and Circular Finland Programme from Business Finland, will open the afternoon discussion and joins also to the final discussion on global future prospects of bio-based materials and innovations.

The 9th International Alvar Aalto Design Seminar – BIOSYMBIOSIS is, exceptionally this time, an admission-free virtual seminar open to everyone. If the pandemic situation allows, the event and its accompanying programmes will also be held in front of a live audience at the Main Building of the Jyväskylä University (Alvar Aalto, 1954–56). The seminar brings together the global design and architecture community, professionals, researchers, students – and anyone interested in innovative, solution-oriented design and research. The accompanying programme will be announced later in the spring. Admission to the free seminar requires pre-registration. Only registered participants will also have two months access to the recordings, until end of July 2022. Changes are possible.

Register and enrol here.
Join the Alvar Aalto Design Talk discussion group on Facebook.
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The Alvar Aalto Design Seminar, held every three years in Jyväskylä since 1995, is an internationally acclaimed design event that highlights top research and experts in the field. The design seminar, as well as the Alvar Aalto Symposium and Alvar Aalto Researcher’s Network Seminar, which take place every third year, are organised by the Alvar Aalto Foundation / Alvar Aalto Academy together with the City of Jyväskylä and other event partners.

he 2022 event partners are, among others, Aalto University, Artek, Avotakka magazine, Business Finland, Cumulus Association, Design Helsinki & Clerkenwell Design Week (Media 10), Design Museum Helsinki, Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale and Paimio Sanatorium Foundation.

The graphic design of the event is by artist and graphic designer Aimo Katajamäki.

For further information, contact:

Alvar Aalto Foundation / Alvar Aalto Academy

Aila Svenskberg
Alvar Aalto Design Seminar Producer, Communications
+358 40 659 1930

Nina Heikkonen
Programme Manager
+358 44 500 1257


1. Exploration Architecture, Biomimetic Office Atrium
2. Formafantasma, still from Seeing the Wood for the Trees, 2020.
3. Manuel Arias Barrantes, Thesis 4, photo Tiina Palm.