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The MAXIMAL I MINIMAL programme for the international Alvar Aalto Design Seminar has been confirmed. At the design and architecture event to be held in August twelve of today’s most current designers and manufacturers will air their thoughts on quality and responsibility in design work. An exhibition that has emerged out of a joint project between Finnish design students and speakers at the event will premiere at the Design Seminar.

On 27–28.8.2016, design professionals and students will gather in Jyväskylä for the eighth Alvar Aalto Design Seminar. As the years have gone by, one important role acquired by the event is sparking discussion on current, critical international design.

This year’s theme, MAXIMAL I MINIMAL, is an appeal on behalf of high-quality design. The event will be chaired by Simo Heikkilä, who challenges participants and the twelve speakers to consider the choices made in design work and the sustainability of those choices.

“The words ‘maximal’ and ‘minimal’ are in every designer’s vocabulary, at least in spirit. In their day-to-day work designers have to choose between two options: Does the task require a minimal approach or would a maximal one be attractive? Will people be happy or downright unhappy when using my design? Is there still a place for art in my design, or should I give in to the WOW factor and commercialism? Does my design have a long lifespan or will it simply become yet more unwieldy waste? Do I work globally or locally, in a maximal or minimal manner?” Heikkilä muses.

”My critique applies to much of the design that short-sightedly and unsustainably goes solely for maximum visibility. In their own work all the invited speakers at the Seminar aim at uncompromising quality. To me, quality refers to the technical, the artistic and the ecologically sustainable,” Heikkilä continues.

Taking the podium will be Milano Design Award 2016 winner Hans Lensvelt, the Japanese lighting guru Kaoru Mende, and Johanna Vuorio, who is CEO of Nikari, known for its skill and expertise with wood. Also appearing are Jonas Bohlin, Richard Hutten, Jouko Järvisalo, Max Lamb, Cecilie Manz, Päivi Meuronen and Aimo Katajamäki, and Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen.

The event’s main exhibition gives students at Finland’s Arts and Crafts institutes a chance to shine. During the spring, the speakers at the event have worked with student groups on prototypes based on a design assignment. The remit for the assignment was to design a tower element that stands freely on the floor, and which actively preserves the literature chosen by its designer. The fascinating results of this collaboration both challenge and overturn our traditional ways of thinking about the bookshelf.

The event is being produced by Alvar Aalto Foundation. The main partner in collaboration is the City of Jyväskylä.

Alvar Aalto Design Seminar website:

Further information about the event:
Producer Nina Heikkonen
Alvar Aalto Foundation
+358 44 5001257

Media enquiries and interview requests:
Communications Officer Annukka Pakarinen
Alvar Aalto Foundation
+358 50 3810143