Author: Soila Lehtonen


29 March 2014 | This 'n' that

tove100This year is the centenary of Tove Jansson (1914–2001), the painter, caricaturist, comic strip artist, illustrator and author of books for both children and adults, and, what made her name internationally, the creator of the Moomins. Today, her Moomin books are available in 40 languages.

One sunny April day, walking through the atmospheric old Hietaniemi cemetery by the sea in Helsinki, a charming little bronze statue on top of a narrow granite column caught my eye.

Family grave: sculpture by Victor Jansson

Family grave: sculpture by Victor Jansson

It was a small child balancing on a ball, waving its arms and legs joyously in the air. On a closer look, there was something white attached to the statue: it was a tiny white plastic Moomin.

On the Janssons’ family grave the first little blue flowers had just risen to the surface to bask in the early spring sun. Tove’s father was the sculptor Victor Jansson, her mother was the cartoonist and artist Signe Hammarsten Jansson.

Perhaps one of Tove’s fans had chosen this way of paying homage to the creator of the unique Moomin universe.


Arne Nevanlinna: Heta

14 March 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Helsinki: WSOY, 2014. 276 pp.
ISBN 978-951-0-40174-3
€34, hardback

The architect and writer Arne Nevanlinna (born 1925) published his first novel, Marie,in 2008; it became one of the six finalists for the Finlandia Prize of Fiction. His fourth novel, Heta, is set in Helsinki in the late 20th century. It depicts the Swedish-speaking Celerius family: Gustava’s seven children – three have died – and their spouses come to celebrate her 70th birthday. Noblesse oblige –  the general’s widow is not wealthy, but Gustava has to keep up appearances, so she has four servants. One of them is the bright orphan girl Heta, too often called Clubfoot, because her left leg is shorter than the right, and who, to her surprise, finds out she can read people’s minds. When Gustava dies unexpectedly, poor Heta becomes a murder suspect. The plot takes surprising turns, and the epilogue, in which Heta herself is the narrator, presents the reader with even more revelations; love, it turns out, does conquer all. Nevanlinna’s depictions of the milieu and the era are colourful, and his narrative is laced with plenty of satirical comedy.

Decade of youth: the 1950s revisited

30 January 2014 | Reviews

Rock around the clock! Photo from Rasvaletti, by unknown, 1958

Rock around the clock in Helsinki, too! All photos here from Rasvaletti; photographer unknown, 1958

Rasvaletti. Valokuvia 1950-luvun Helsingistä /
Fotografier från 1950-talets Helsingfors
[Hair-grease. Photographs from 1950s Helsinki]
Työryhmä [working group]: Yki Hytönen, Tuomas Myrén, Riitta Pakarinen, Aki Pohjankyrö, Hilkka Vallisaari
Helsinki: Helsingin kaupunginmuseo, Helsinki City Museum,
2013. 211 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-952-272-499-1
€45, hardback
Onnen aika? Valoja ja varjoja 1950-luvulla
[Time of happiness? Light and shadow in the 1950s]
Toimittaneet [Ed. by]: Kirsi-Maria Hytönen & Keijo Rantanen
Jyväskylä: Atena, 2013. 249 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-796-924-6
38€, hardback

The 1950s rocked! They literally did – that is when the world got rhythm: Blue Suede Shoes by Elvis and the film Blackboard Jungle, with Bill Haley’s hit Rock Around the Clock, for example.

The development of new sound reproduction – long-playing records and tape recorders – was essential to the spreading of the gospel of rock and pop here, there and everywhere.

In Finland, the shocking new music was a smash hit among a group of young urban men called lättähatut, flathats, who also wore tight trousers, black overcoats and pointed shoes. Their girls dressed in angora sweaters and tight trousers or skirts. These teenagers, who hung around together very late in the evenings, were largely considered not only a nuisance but also a possible danger to the peaceful development of society (not only in Finland…). More…

Mikko-Olavi Seppälä & Riitta Seppälä: Aale Tynni. Hymyily, kyynel, laulu [Aale Tynni. A smile, a tear, a song]

16 January 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

tynniAale Tynni. Hymyily, kyynel, laulu
[Aale Tynni. A smile, a tear, a song]
Helsinki: WSOY, 2013. 488 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-38306-3
€37, hardback

The poet, author and translator Aale Tynni (1913–1997), an Ingrian Finn who came to Finland as a refugee after the First World War in 1919, published 15 collections of poetry between 1938 and 1987. Among her translations are works by Ibsen, Shakespeare, Yeats and Racine. This extensive biography, compiled and written by Tynni’s daughter Riitta Seppälä and her grandson, historian Mikko-Olavi Seppälä, is an in-depth, lively portrait of a poet who, in her time, was both admired and criticised for her choices of form and content. Tynni felt that classical metrical tradition was closest to her, and patriotism was one of her themes; however, in the postwar years the freedom of rhythm of Finnish modernism began to flourish, and politics also gained strength in the literary world. In 1948 Tynni won the gold medal for literature in the – rather bizarre and short-lived – art competitions at the Summer Olympics in London with her poem ‘Laurel of Hellas’. Tynni experienced dramatic turns in her personal life; she underwent a prolonged divorce from her first husband who bitterly fought it. Two of her three children committed suicide in adulthood. She was finally free to marry the widowed poet Martti Haavio (aka P. Mustapää) in 1960, a marriage of soulmates that lasted until Haavio’s death in 1973.


Malin Kivelä & Linda Bondestam: Bröderna Pixon och TV:ns hemtrevliga sken [The Pixon brothers and the homely shimmer of the telly]

9 January 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

kivelabondenstamBröderna Pixon och TV:ns hemtrevliga sken
[The Pixon brothers and the homely shimmer of the telly]
Helsingfors: Schildts & Söderströms, 2013. 38 pp.
Illustrerad av [Illustrated by] Linda Bondestam
ISBN 978-951-523-124-6
€22, hardback
Finnish translation:
Pixonin pojat ja TV:n kotoisa kajo
Suomentanut [translated by] Maarit Halmesarka
Helsinki: Teos, 2013. 38 pp.
ISBN 978-951-851-524-4
€27.90, hardback

The four Pixon brothers spend their time watching the telly and eating cereals and sweets. Their mother, in desperation, constantly demands that they go out and play, but they just don’t. The thin brothers’ teeth are bad as they have no vitamins in their blood: indeed they are as fit as 90-year-olds. One day the telly goes bust and the brothers end up in their neighbours’ home, where the two ladies cook them a good meal. They finally do go out and play – until the point of exhaustion: the story presents the reader with sinister turns à la Grimm brothers or Hoffmann, which the gloomy, dark pictures, suddenly devoid of colours, comically illustrate. But colours return to the pictures as well as to the brothers, who are now as fit as any 64-year old! This is the authors’ second book for children. Kivelä’s lesson takes the mickey out of didacticism but does not lose the point, so fun is had by all. Bondestam’s detailed, graphic pictures spice the story with amusing horror.

Juba: Minerva. Alajuoksun kelluva pullukka [Minerva. The floating dumpling of the Lower Reaches]

9 January 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

jubaMinerva. Alajuoksun kelluva pullukka
[The floating dumpling of the Lower Reaches]
Helsinki: Otava, 2013. 48 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-25731-8
€17.80, hardback

Minerva is a cartoon character who has appeared in two previous volumes (2006, 2009) by Juba, a.k.a. Jussi Tuomola. Juba is the creator of an extremely popular comics series for adults about the woman and the pig (both male chauvinist and porcine), Viivi and Wagner. Minerva is a brave and extremely resourceful little heroine who is never daunted by even the wildest adventures she experiences after leaving home to fly around in weird lands. Petra, the floating dumpling of the Lower Reaches, is a woman with magical powers who likes to travel in a flying gondola. In this volume Minerva also meets other old friends on her journey under water, underground, on a river and in the air above a jungle, in pursuit of a rare ingredient for a perfume that Petra has determined to acquire no matter what. The comedy in the uninhibitedly fantastic adventures, illustrated effectively in cartoon squares of different sizes, will amuse readers of many ages.

Fiat lux! Helsinki lit

9 January 2014 | This 'n' that

LUX_Helsinki 2013_cmyk_negaWhen there’s no snow in January, as is the case this year, the darkness does make Helsinki appear somewhat joyless. This year Canada and parts of the United States got more than a taste of freezing Arctic temperatures – but at the time of writing winter is still postponed in the lower half of Finland.

A temporary relief was brought by Lux Helsinki – staged now for the sixth time – as light, colour and sound made the capital brighter and more beautiful between 4 and 8 January.

The core of the city, the Cathedral, was adorned by a large heart placed at the top of the steps, beating in colours to music.


Corazón by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. Photo: Marina Okras

Corazón, by the Madrid-born artist and fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, in collaboration with the production and design company D-Facto, reflects her design themes of love and happiness.

One of the participants in Lux Helsinki was Unen ääret / Edges of Dreams: projected on to the façade of the Hakasalmi Villa (1843–46), between the Finlandia Hall and the Music House, it was inspired by the history of the building and its inhabitants. Now a museum, it became known as the home of a benefactor of the city, a rich and famous woman of her time, Aurora Karamzin from the 1860s to the 1890s.

Lux Helsinki 2014. Helsingin kaupunki. Kuva: Lauri Rotko

Hakasalmi Villa: Edges of Dreams by Mika Haaranen. Photo: Lauri Rotko

The building was seen through dreamlike visions formed by painted films and shadow patterns by Mika Haaranen, a lighting and set designer and photographer. His works extend from the world of theatre and musicals to contemporary dance, concerts and film. The accompanying music was composed by Aake Otsala.


Lux Tram by students of lighting and sound design, Theatre Academy. Photo: Hannu Iso-Oja

Helsinki trams have been transporting citizens from 1891. One of the trams was transformed into a moving light installation by the use of programmable LED floodlights. The work was designed and realised by the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki lighting design students Riikka Karjalainen and Alexander Salvesen. A pity it was not possible to hop on…

Mutts and mongrels of architecture

28 November 2013 | This 'n' that


Uudenmaankatu Street 42: a mixture of architecture from 1865–66 and 1905–07

Low-rise wooden buildings in the late 19th-century small town of Helsinki began to disappear as they were beginning to be replaced by houses built of stone. Last century wars and economic interests further changed the façades of Helsinki.

The oldest buildings may contain several generations of constructions, clearly visible or more discreet. In the past houses have been treated in a way which is no longer acceptable.

They were altered in various ways – made taller, smaller or stripped of original ornaments, often after damage in various wars, when restoration would have proved too expensive. In the end, they have become mutts and mongrels of architecture.

Upwards: an extra floor was added to the middle section of this apartment house (1910–11) in 1926.

Upwards: an extra floor was added to the middle section of this apartment house (1910–11) in 1926.

Architect Juha Ilonen has wandered around Helsinki with his camera, capturing views that often take a Helsinki citizen by surprise.

In his new, capacious book Kolmas Helsinki – kerroksia arjen arkkitehtuurissa (‘The third Helsinki – layers in the architecture of the everyday’) Ilonen features ca. 300 buildings, from the mid-18th century to 2010. Most of them are apartment buildings situated in downtown Helsinki.

Why is it that I’ve never paid any attention to this or that extraordinary building, even though I hurry past it almost every day? Simply because I often don’t lift my gaze up from street level. The buildings speak volumes about history, aesthetics and demands of practicality.


Mariankatu Street 19: original architecture by Gustaf Estlander, 1904–05

But take a look at this house in Kruununhaka in the heart of the city – Books from Finland resided in the back yard building for years, and we had absolutely no idea that the façade had been thoroughly altered and stripped of its beautiful Jugend ornaments…

Mariankatu Street 19: original building 1904–05, architect Gustaf Estlander

Mariankatu Street 19:  new version, by Ole Gripenberg, 1936

Ilonen’s book is a treasure trove for anybody interested in architecture, housing or city life – or photography: hundreds of black-and-white photographs feature delightful samples of the variety and quality of Helsinki architecture.

Juha Ilonen
Kolmas Helsinki – kerroksia arjen arkkitehtuurissa
The third Helsinki – layers in the architecture of the everyday]
Helsinki: AtlasArt, 2013. 304 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-952-5671-51-3
€55, hardback

A rare bird from Fancyland

20 August 2013 | Reviews

Bead curlew, 1960. Collection Kakkonen. Photo: Niclas Warius

Bead-covered curlew, 1960. Height ca. 115 cm, Collection Kakkonen. Photo: Niclas Warius

Harri Kalha:
Birger Kaipiainen
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (The Finnish Literature Society), 2013. 249 p., ill.
(Summaries in Swedish and English)
ISBN 978-952-222-457-6
€46, hardback

Ceramics confectioner. Degenerate aristocrat. Ornamental criminal. These epithets can be found in Birger Kaipiainen, a new, full-length study of the ceramic artist by art historian Harri Kalha.

Throughout his artistic career Birger Kaipiainen (1915–1988) worked with forms, subjects and methods that were unfamiliar in the field of traditional ceramics, at least in mid-20th-century Finland, and made use of fantasy and ornament. As a ‘porcelain painter’ he showed little interest in the technical challenges of clay – although in his ceramic creations Kaipiainen explored three-dimensional form, montage, colour, texture and the tactile dimensions of the medium. More…

Writes of passage

20 June 2013 | This 'n' that

Business as usual: participants of the Lahti Reunion. Photo: LIWRE

Debating the word: participants at the Lahti Reunion. Photo: LIWRE

The 26th Lahti International Writers’ Reunion took place at Messilä Manor (some 120 km from Helsinki, on Lake Vesijärvi) from 15 to 18 June.

Chaired by Virpi Hämeen-Anttila and Joni Pyysalo, writers from more than 20 countries held discussions in Finnish, English and French.

This summer the theme was ‘Breaking walls’. ‘Problems demand answers, answers demand questions. If attitudes harden, arms talk, and everyone erects a wall around himself, where is literature in the equation? Is the highest wall right there inside the writer? Or is literature itself a protecting wall? What happens when walls break down?’

The first Writers’ Reunion took place in Lahti – first at Mukkula Manor – fifty years ago; more than a thousand writers, translators, critics and other professionals both Finnish and foreign have come to Lahti to discuss writing. The Reunion has always been open to the public as well.

The biannual Reunion began life in 1963, during the Cold War. Writers from both sides of the Iron Curtain met under the oaks of Mukkula. In the Reunion’s blog some participants and organisers share their experiences of the past; here, the meeting’s one-time international secretary Marianne Bargum recalls the late 1970s and early 1980s:

‘…following in the footsteps of the legendary publisher Erkki Reenpää who knew everybody and all languages, I did my best to persuade big stars to come to Mukkula. Some writers had difficulties when they realised that they were not as well known in Finland as in their own countries. The French poet Michel Deguy left after one day, very offended when nobody knew how big a name he was. (I met him in Paris some years later and he apologised.)

A scandal with huge political consequences came close when the French philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy said some derogatory things about the Soviet head of state Brezhnev. The Russian delegate, Michael Baryshev, threatened to leave the conference, and Valentina Morozova, interpreter and politruk, had to phone the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki and explain that this was not very serious. The famous British critic and writer Al Alvarez did his best to calm down the antagonists in a panel.’

My own first personal experiences of this international fête (which could mean either wading in the mud on the way to the huge tent sheltering the discussions or basking in hot sunshine followed by the most gentle nightless nights), from the sunny summer of 1983: interviewing Salman Rushdie and Jayne Anne Phillips, among others, for the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Another time the bag containing some hundred copies of the latest issue of Books from Finland, fresh from the printing press, sat on a bus heading for Lahti while I sat on the one behind – which then broke down in the middle of the road, and this was before mobile phones. The driver did have a radio phone though, and the participants got their copies in time.

Soccer on the sand: Messilä beach. Photo: LIWRE

Soccer on the sand: Messilä beach. Photo: LIWRE

Among the traditions is a midnight football match between Finns and foreigners: the summer night is light and long. This time the result of the Finland against the rest of the world was convincing 6-3 to Finland.

Art Deco / ja taiteet / i konsten / and the arts

6 June 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

art.decoScientific editor: Laura Gutman
Editor: Susanna Luojus
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (the Finnish Literature Society), 2013. 179 p., ill.
Texts in Finnish and Swedish, summaries in English
ISBN 978-952-222-430-9
€38, hardback

This work was published simultaneously with the opening of the exhibition ‘Art Déco and the Arts. France–Finlande 1905–1935’, running at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki from March to 21 July. Antiquity was the primary source of inspiration for this broad artistic movement in France, after the breakthrough of Fauvism in 1905. In Finland this antimodern – and yet at the same very modern – movement manifested itself most clearly in industrial art, in the 1920s in classicism and 1930s in functionalism. But from early on, Finnish painters and sculptors also kept an eye on the French art and artists – among them Maurice Denis, the spokesman of the antimodernists. The dialogue between the visual and the performative arts (theatre and dance) in Finland is also examined. Samples of Art Deco architecture are mostly absent, as the emphasis is on painting and sculpture. Some less well-known artists of the period (painter Nikolai Kaario, sculptor and engraver Eva Gyldén) are introduced. The exhibition and the richly illustrated book introduce both Finnish and French works – from many museums and collections in France – of both industrial and fine arts, in pictures and in words by nine specialists, offering the reader fresh and interesting comparisons.

Valokuva taiteeksi. Photography into Art. Hannula & Hinkka -kokoelma / Collection

30 May 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Valokuva.taiteeksiValokuva taiteeksi. Photography into Art. Hannula & Hinkka -kokoelma / Collection
Toimituskunta [Edited by] Erja Hannula, Jorma Hinkka, Sofia Lahti, Tuomo-Juhani Vuorenmaa
English translation: Jüri Kokkonen
Helsinki: Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto ARTS Books (Musta Taide 4/2012; publication series of The Finnish Museum of Photography 44.) 209 p., ill.
ISBN 958-952-292-000-3
€33.90, hardback

It has been typical of Finland that it lacks collections of international photography, private or public. In the politically turbulent 1970s interest in photography began to grow. The Hippolyte Gallery, run by artist Ismo Kajander, exhibited international photography by Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget and Édouard Boubat, among others. The graphic designer Jorma Hinkka (also Art Director of Books from Finland, 1998–2006) began making posters for Hippolyte ‘out of pure enthusiasm’, and designing books by Finnish photographers, among them Pentti Sammallahti, Ismo Hölttö, Jorma Puranen and Merja Salo. As a result of spending so much time with ‘the black art’ (as it was called by a Finnish pioneer of photography, I.K. Inha, in 1908), Hinkka and his art director spouse Erja Hannula began to collect samples of it. After 30 years, in 2012, they donated more than two hundred photographs by almost a hundred artists to The Finnish Museum of Photography. The social status of the black art has risen considerably since the 1970s, as has professionalism in the field. This book presents excellent reproductions of the collection of photos, taken within a century and a half; the variety of styles and subjects chosen surprise with its richness.

Consume culture, live longer!

16 May 2013 | This 'n' that

hyyppaA culture freak (and you don’t have to be a vulture) will live longer than a couch potato.

This sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Watching TV is a passive pursuit, attending choir rehearsals or line dancing class isn’t – and human beings are designed to be active.

But it is also a scientific fact. Neurologist and writer MD Markku T. Hyyppä has been researching the effects of cultural pursuits on health for decades. In his new book Kulttuuri pidentää ikää (‘Culture prolongs your life’) he sets out to prove the power of culture using scientific evidence from many countries.

Cultural capital is a concept that defines the ‘usefulness of culture’. Hyyppä disagrees with the famous sociologist Pierre Bourdieu who defines cultural capital as a means for the upper classes to increase their personal status and power. According to Hyyppä, cultural capital is immaterial, originates from cultural pursuits and the consumption of culture, and brings benefits to all who take part.

Learning the basics of culture in one’s education is vital: Finland has done well in the international PISA exams, but it’s not just because the children are bright. Learning how to educate is important: unlike in many other countries, the arts play a significant role in teacher training in Finland. And arts subjects are important in education: art has a positive effect on emotions and cognition, on emotional life as well as reason. Study arts subjects, and it will be easier to learn maths!

It’s a fact is that those who are socially active in clubs, associations and cultural pursuits in general, live longer than those who are not. Economic status is not a decisive factor here. The efficacy of cultural pursuits and cultural capital on prolonging an individual’s life appears to be based on networking. i.e. social capital. Social capital increases the chances of staying alive – almost as much as non-smoking and much more than the estimated extra time of exercise or losing weight. An individual’s cultural pursuits allow him at least a couple of years more in old age.

Hyyppä also examines and comments on the cultural policies of Finnish political parties. After the Perussuomalaiset – True Finns – party presented its manifesto in 2011, stating that contemporary art should not receive any public funding, as only art that ‘strengthens the national identity’ should be funded, other political parties began hastily to revise and update their dusty arts programmes. As it has been proved in international and Finnish medical research that culture definitely has a positive impact on developing society as a whole, political parties cannot afford to ignore dealing with the subject.

In conclusion, Hyyppä states that Finland would certainly benefit from the cultural added value that manifests itself in well-being, health and a longer life spans. When people live longer healthy, the national economy gains massively.

It’s not just opera, ballet and favouring the paintings of the Düsseldorf school that bring you cultural capital and prolong your existence; rock concerts or pottery classes are fine, too. But, notes Hyyppä, being active in politics in your free time, going to church and participating in spectator sports don’t seem to have a similar positive effect, so might it be better not to concentrate on those alone?

Markku T. Hyyppä
Kulttuuri pidentää ikää
(‘Culture prolongs your life’)
Helsinki: Duodecim, 2013. 132 p.
ISBN 978-951-656-479-4

Christel Rönns: Det vidunderliga ägget [A most extraordinary egg]

24 January 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Det vidunderliga ägget
[A most extraordinary egg]
Kuvitus [Ill. by]: Christel Rönns
Helsingfors: Söderströms / Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen Bokförlag, 2012. 32 p., ill.
ISBN 978-91-638-6857-3
€16.90, hardback
Finnish edition:
Perin erikoinen muna
Suom. [Translated by] Mirjam Ilvas
Helsinki: Tammi, 2012. 30 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-523-183-3
€15.90, hardback

This is the third work that the graphic designer and illustrator Christel Rönns (born 1960) has written in her own right. With her relaxed and humorous illustration style, Rönns has provided the visual component of some 60 children’s books. This story portrays a family – parents, two little girls and a dog (the author has dedicated her book to the memory of her hovawart dog Freja who died at 14). One summer’s day they find a large egg on the beach and bring it home. But the egg, dropped by accident, reveals a little four-legged creature: named Koi-Koi, it turns out to be delightfully friendly and playful. Nobody actually knows what it is – not even a professor of zoology – but it eats and grows to an enormous size, so the house becomes very cramped (and Koi-Koi’s massive farts send the family running…). But then Koi-Koi begins to disappear at night, and one day he doesn’t come back. Missing a lost pet is a new feeling for the girls (their parents must be secretly relieved, as must the dog!). The story is both funny and gently melancholy, the illustrations detailed and humorous. The book was awarded the Finlandia Junior Prize in 2012.

Form follows fun

4 December 2012 | Non-fiction, Reviews

The house that the artist built: ‘Life on a leaf’ (2005–2009, Turku). Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Jan-Erik Andersson: Elämää lehdellä [Life on a leaf]
Helsinki: Maahenki, 2012. 248 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-5872-82-4
€42, hardback

‘I am Leaf House –
root house, sky house.
Enter me, be safe
And wander, dream.
The artist’s I is all our eyes….’

In the garden: red ‘apple’ benches designed by the English artist Trudy Entwistle. Photo: Matti A. Kallio

We all live – exceptions are really rare – in cubes. Not in cylinders or spheres, let alone in buildings of organic shapes like flowers or leaves; and houses in the shape of a shoe, for example, belong to the fairy-tale world, or perhaps to surrealism.

Artist Jan-Erik Andersson wanted to build a fairy-tale house in the shape of a leaf, and that is what he did (2005–2009), together with his architect partner Erkki Pitkäranta. Instead of the geometry of modernist architecture, he is inspired by the organic forms of nature.

Andersson’s house project, entitled ‘Life on a leaf’, also became an academic project, resulting in a dissertation at Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and now a book, including a detailed journal of the building process itself. The artist was at first advised, by a professor of architecture, not to proceed with his building project – he wouldn’t ‘like living in the house’, he was told. More…