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Habitare Design Competition 2023

The Habitare Design Competition 2023, jointly organised by Habitare and Aalto University on the theme of “Tools for togetherness”, explored new typologies of furniture, spaces or objects that promote social interaction and a sense of community, allowing us to envisage a better future together.

Get to know the finalists

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre, Habitare design and interior fair, and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, are organising a design competition in two stages. The competition is intended for students studying art, design, and architecture in Finland.

Habitare Design Competition has, over many years, put the spotlight on up-and-coming design and architecture students. The grand prize for the competition (€5,000), donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation, has been used to encourage young students to continue their studies and build successful careers. 

The theme of the competition “Tools for togetherness”

The contestants were required to design and implement new types of tools for togetherness, which should display the potential to promote togetherness and interaction on a human scale or more widely. The competition entries could include spaces, furniture, objects and other tools. The participants were encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams in order to create experientially consistent end products out of combinations of different scales and methods.

Winner of the Habitare Design Competition 2023




The winners of the Habitare Design Competition 2023 are Lennart Engels, Karolin Kull, Ágnes László, Julia Postrzech, and Valenti Soler, students in the Interior Architecture and Contemporary Design Master’s programs at Aalto University, with their work titled ‘HABIT.’

The head judge of the competition, Harri Koskinen, selected the winner from among four finalists.

HABIT is a contemporary fireplace made from recycled materials, suitable for modern urban environments, where users can gather to create a sense of community.

HABIT is an interesting, constructive, and excellent group project, with each participant playing a unique role in the process. What’s particularly remarkable about this work is the research and development of materials, which have transformed construction waste into something sustainable, long-lasting, and communal,” commented designer Harri Koskinen.

The competition winner received a 5,000 euro scholarship donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The competition’s finalist works were on display at Habitare from September 13 to 17, 2023.

Get to know the finalists of the competition

The finalist designs remind us of the importance of encounters and invite us to do things together.

Lennart Engels, Karolin Kull, Ágnes László, Julia Postrzech ja Valenti Soler HABIT

The spirit of togetherness can arise from many forms of gathering. Gathering around a fire is arguably one of the oldest rituals created to come together. Our proposal aspires to provide a refreshed approach to the timeless concept of the fireplace.


The pieces are created with a low-tech process both ancient and innovative, comparable to that of Roman concrete, which enables the use of construction waste as a new material source. Taken into a contemporary viewpoint, local secondary materials are revalued and given a core position for social purposes, for community gathering in ever-changing times.

Siiri Joronen  FOR YOU

The design emphasises togetherness and the importance of encounters between people, and the significance of these to individuals. An adjustable space makes collaboration and encounters between people easy and safe. The design as a whole provides an opportunity for people to meet on their own terms. Like people, communities come in different shapes and sizes.


The design, consisting of several elements, can be adapted for different uses and scales, for both outdoor and indoor spaces. The various elements can be combined in a variety of configurations to create sculptural and functional structures and spaces.

Eemeli Sahimaa – STACK

This competition entry aims to create a simple system, a way of stacking or assembling things. The system is adaptable in terms of how you use it and what you can assemble using it. Being together is expansive in all its various forms, and it is impossible to limit the ways in which we are together or to contain them in frameworks. The same idea underlies the system. It allows for the adaptability of things and is extendable to forms that could support our essential ways of being.


It was most natural for me to approach the theme of Tools for togetherness from the simplest possible starting point. Even if the beginning is simple, the end results may be very complex, as is sometimes the case with community and togetherness. I approached community through my own experiences and observations; the design itself is a externalised, physical manifestation of my interpretation of the theme.

Julia Töyrylä – COMMON SPACE

The Yhteinen tila competition entry is a pavilion that Habitare fair visitors themselves will assemble at the stand. The construction of the light tent-like pavilion will take place spontaneously in various groups, several times during the fair days. Each construction session will last for about 15 minutes and will only require the participants to let go a little and be playful.

The design is a response to the situation in today’s world, where we have, in many ways, become disconnected from our environment and each other. It is important that we design spaces and objects that can be used to repair and restore these lost connections. Our experience of the environment is formed in relation to other people and other living beings. Spaces and objects are not just about material, but they are primarily about shared events, meanings and encounters.

Instead of individualism and consumerism, we need a sense of community, as well as opportunities to act in the world in a way that increases well-being. Doing things together enhances the experience of togetherness: realising a shared goal creates bridges, making room for a willingness to understand others and act for the common good. As the participants build and hold up the pavilion, they create a space among themselves where it is possible to promote interaction and a sense of togetherness.