14 September, Clarion Hotel, Jätkäsaari, Helsinki

No podiums.
No stages.

Just common ground, inspiration on tap and a goal to create better cities.

DesignCommons is a travelling platform where activists, makers and shapers gather to share their experiences, knowledge and ideas on tackling challenges, and improving the quality of life, in cities around the world.

14 September (19H00 - 23H00),
Clarion Hotel, Jätkäsaari, Helsinki

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Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves / Studio SWINE

(Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) is a collaboration between Japanese Architect Azusa Murakami and British Artist Alexander Groves.

Creating works that span across disciplines, SWINE explores themes of regional identity and the future of resources in the context of globalisation. SWINE's work manifests a deep research into materials and modern industrialisation.

SWINE's films have been awarded at Cannes and other film festivals around the world and their work have been widely exhibited at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Venice Art Biennale.

Cees van der Veeken / LOLA Landscape Architects

Cees van der Veeken is the co-founder of LOLA, an office for progressive landscape architecture. LOLA (LOst LAndscapes) studies and designs landscapes that are forgotten, have degraded, are derelict or on the verge of change. The firm has an optimistic and conceptual approach to these landscapes and a fascination for new spatial phenomena. Whether in the city, the outskirts or the countryside, they aim to design sublime places that are beautiful, surprising and thriving.

LOLA believes in a combination of continuous research, experiment and design. They match knowledge of landscapes and of large-scale ecosystems with contemporary ideas about people, space and nature. Being designers with an integrated approach to projects, they continuously partner with other offices and institutions with specific knowledge and experience.

LOLA was founded in 2006 by the landscape architects Eric-Jan Pleijster, Cees van der Veeken and Peter Veenstra. A total of 20 people now work in the office, ranging from landscape architects to architects and urban designers. The office is based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, but operates worldwide for governments, provinces, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and project developers.

LOLA designs public spaces like parks and squares, works on redevelopment plans in city and countryside, and develops landscape transformation strategies and spatial researches. Projects of LOLA have been build and/or published around the world. For the total of our work, LOLA received the Rotterdam-Maaskant Prize for Young Architects and the TOPOS landscape award.

Marko Ahtisaari / Sync Project

Marko Ahtisaari is CEO and Co-founder of Sync Project, a venture developing music as precision medicine. He is also a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab working on the Open Music Initiative to develop a new distributed-ledger system to identify and compensate music rights holders and creators.

From 2009 to 2013 Marko was Executive Vice President of Design at Nokia responsible for hardware, user experience and packaging design, and previously CEO and Co-founder of Dopplr. He plays bass in the band Construction and occasionally sings Bocelli covers.

Winy Maas / MVRDV

Winy Maas is an architect, urban designer and landscape architect and one of the co-founding directors of the globally operating architecture and urban planning firm MVRDV, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, known for projects such as the Expo 2000, the vision for greater Paris, Grand Paris Plus Petit, and more recently the Market Hall in Rotterdam. He is furthermore professor at and director of The Why Factory, a research institute for the future city, he founded in 2008 at TU Delft. He is currently Visiting Professor at GSAPP Columbia, New York and IIT Chicago and has been at Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, the University of Hong Kong, ETH Zurich, Berlage Institute, MIT, Ohio State and Yale University. In addition he designs stage sets, objects and was curator of Indesem 2007. He curates exhibitions, lectures throughout the world and takes part in international juries.

In 2013 Winy Maas joined the Economic Development Board of Rotterdam (EDBR). In 2012 he was appointed urban supervisor for the city of Almere and since 2003 he has been supervising the Bjørvika urban development in Oslo. With both MVRDV and The Why Factory he has published a series of research projects. Winy Maas Prof. Ir. Ing FRIBA HAIA (1959, Schijndel, The Netherlands)

Chris Sheldrick / what3words

Chris Sheldrick is a classical music graduate from King’s College London and London’s Royal Academy of Music but a severe sleepwalking accident which severed eight tendons, a nerve and an artery in his left arm spelled the end of any career as a performer. He stayed in the music industry and started a company that organized live music events around the world. It was here that he saw the challenges of poor addressing on a daily basis as musicians failed to find venue entrances across the world.

Over a cup of tea with a mathematician friend, he shared his frustration with GPS coordinates and together they strived to find a way of naming everywhere in the world that would be incredibly easy for people to use. they wrote early version of the what3words algorithm on the back on an envelope.

Since its launch in 2013 Chris has grown the business to a 35 strong team and what3words has become one of the most awarded concepts of recent times.

Marcus Engman / IKEA

The head of design at IKEA challenges the way traditional products are made.

Marcus Engman has been the head of design at IKEA since 2012 but his history with the company runs even deeper. Born in 1966 and raised in Älmhult, Sweden – where the multinational company was founded – Engman spent his high school breaks working at an IKEA store.

During the mid-1980s, Engman was a home furnishing apprentice to IKEA interior designer Mary Ekmark. He went on to fulfil roles like communications & interior design manager in Swedish stores, and global range strategist and marketing manager (retail) for IKEA in Sweden.

He then founded his own retail agency, Kollo in 2000 before taking on his current position as head of design.

Now, he is at the forefront of how the retail giant builds its ranges and designs its products. To do this, Engman needs to be curious and creative in every project he undertakes. “So every day we challenge the status quo and the boundaries of what is possible. I also build a strong network of creatives outside IKEA because there’s a lot we don’t know and want to learn,” he explains.

Engman launched IKEA’s first African collection at the Design Indaba Conference 2017. The project was curated by Design Indaba. It’s expected to be available to the public in 2019.

Paloma Strelitz / Assemble

Paloma Strelitz is one of the co-founders of Turner Prize winning multi-disciplinary collective, Assemble. They work across architecture, design and art. While their work usually includes design, it rarely starts or ends there, often employing a range of means from the social to the infrastructural to make spaces which enable independence; self-authorship, creativity and difference.

She studied architecture at the University of Cambridge between 2006 and 2009 before completing her Masters in Architecture from the Royal College of Art in 2013. She is currently focusing on the design of the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, due to open in 2018.

Paloma is an enthusiastic advocate of architecture and urbanism and regularly speaks in the UK and internationally. In 2017 she was appointed as a Mayor’s Design Advocate to support Sadiq Khan’s ‘Good Growth by Design’ manifesto for London.

Sir David Adjaye / Adjaye Associates

Sir David Adjaye (OBE) is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994 he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision.

He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000 and immediately won several prestigious commissions. In Oslo he designed the Nobel Peace Centre in the shell of a disused railway station (completed in 2005).

He is currently working on a pair of major redevelopment projects in London - 70-73 Piccadilly (ongoing), a £600 million scheme in the prestigious Piccadilly area; and the Hackney Fashion Hub (ongoing), a masterplan to renew a substantial portion of the Hackney borough. Adjaye Associates’ largest completed project to date is the £160 million Moscow School of Management Skolkovo (2010). In the United States, Adjaye was the designer of a new home for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), two public libraries in Washington DC (2012), as well as of several innovative residential projects.

Adjaye Associates now has offices in London and New York, with projects throughout the world. These include the Aishti Foundation shopping and cultural complex in Beirut (2015), the Alara concept store in Lagos (2014), and a new headquarters building for the International Finance Corporation in Dakar (ongoing).

The material from Adjaye’s ten-year study of the capital cities of Africa was shown in Urban Africa, an exhibition at the Design Museum, London (2010) and published as African Metropolitan Architecture (New York, 2011, and as Adjaye Africa Architecture, London, 2011). He was the artistic director of GEO-graphics: A map of art practices in Africa, past and present, a major exhibition at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (2010). An exhibition of his architectural work, David Adjaye: Output, was held at Gallery MA, Tokyo (2010). In 2015 a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of his work to date was held at Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tiffany-Chu / Remix

Tiffany Chu is a designer, urban planner, and founder of Remix. Remix is the first web-based platform for cities to visualise their transit network and make data-driven decisions about planning. She is based in San Francisco and works with a team of 50 people. They work with over 200 transit agencies around the world to plan better public transit.

Tiffany grew up in New Jersey, studied architecture and urban planning at MIT. She has lived and worked in New York, Copenhagen, Taiwan, Paris, and California, and hopes to never own a car during her lifetime.

Tiffany is passionate about building livable, equitable communities and creating impact through user-centered design. She has been named as one of LinkedIn's Next Wave of Leaders Under 35. She’s also been featured in Fast Company and has spoken onstage at the New York Times.

Her work was recently featured in the "By the People: Designing a Better America" exhibition at the National Smithsonian - Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. It was also awarded the Smart Transit Innovation Award in 2016 as well as included in the GovTech 100: Next Wave of Civic Innovation by GovTech Magazine.

Previously, Tiffany was selected for a fellowship at Code for America, a non-profit organisation that is helping local governments with technology -- and partnered with the City of Charlotte to launch their first open data initiative in 2014.

Prior, Tiffany was the first user experience designer at Zipcar on their mobile and web products, and was an innovation consultant at Continuum, working with Fortune 500 companies to implement digital strategies.