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Habitare Design Competition

The finalists of Habitare Design Competition 2020 will be seen in the Habitare 2022 exhibition. The competition theme “Bread and Water” was challenging, but topical and meaningful.

The winner of the 2022 design competition is Kaisa Minkkinen.

Organised by Messukeskus and the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the Habitare Design Competition has, over the years, put the spotlight on up-and-coming design and architecture students. This year, Anna von Schewen has been invited to be head judge for the competition. 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 winner of the Habitare design competition 2022 is Kaisa Minkkinen!
Kaisa’s winning Origo work consists of a low oak table and woolen floor cushions from Nordic sheep that serve as seats.
“I appreciate the curiosity to expand the concept of design in the details of the seat cushions, which aim to reveal the interior by combining two fabrics,” commented Anna von Schewen, the main judge of the competition, who selected the winner.

The competition theme and design brief

The Competition Theme

The competition’s theme is “Bread and Water”. What are the essential pieces of furniture and objects that are needed in order to enjoy food and good company. The aim of the competition is to discover the ideal combination of items that form a fair unified ensemble.

The Design Brief

The task is to design and execute the elements that are necessary for the enjoyment of our daily bread. The competition proposal must include at least a seat, a table and a bowl. Explore the cultural, artistic and design possibilities within the given theme. Participants are encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams so that I.E. wood, metal, glass, ceramics and textiles combined would result a whole and enjoyable experience.

Participants may themselves choose the scale of their design proposal. However, if selected to proceed to the competition’s second stage, the proposal must be such that it can be partially or fully built and displayed in the scale 1:1 at the Habitare Fair within an area of approximately (length) 2,5 x (width) 2,5 x (height) 2,5 meters. Students may participate independently, or form teams of any size.

Evaluation Criteria

The Jury will evaluate the competition entries based on their artistic and design quality. The entries will also be assessed based on their functional, material and structural characteristics.


Photo: Tero Ohranen


Kaisa Minkkinen – Origo (‘Origin’)

The work consists of a low oak table and floor pillows made of wool from Nordic sheep that serve as seats.

The basis for my work is that dining serves only as an enabler and the food as a nominal center for shared
moments. We gather around food to reminisce and to make new memories. And in today’s changing world and modern living, a coffee table, your own lap or even the floor can also serve as a dining table.

In the center of the table – in ‘origo’ – is a bowl that is equally accessible to everyone sitting around the table. As the users sit down, the pillows burst into flower, so to speak, and properly reveal the side color with the help of the user – like we bring out different characteristics in each other.

The pillows are filled with discarded textiles similarly to Moroccan poufs. Scandinavian tweed made of wool from the Finnsheep and other northern sheep designed and manufactured by Saimaa Wool.

Guidance for table design from Pekka Koivikko.

Photo: Aino Huhtaniemi


NG Wing Yin – Monolith

Monolith combines with different sculptural forms to create a station that is designed for sharing food with friends. The unique form is referenced from the silhouette of the natural monolith. The design consists of three stools, three high stools (which can also serve as tables) and three individual stands that hold three bowls of different sizes. The design allows freedom of arrangement by users.

My inspiration comes from my memory of sharing food while having a barbecue in the forest. We spontaneously formed a circle around the fire and sat on random rocks. Besides enjoying good food, it’s also about enjoying the atmosphere together with friends. The way we sat reminds me that human beings acted similarly during the ancient period. This becomes an interesting journey of investigation and the reason I studied rocks and got inspired by those beautiful forms of monoliths.

Photo: Sara Urbanski


Piia Johanna Jalkanen – Leipää ja sahtia (‘Bread and farmhouse ale’)

When designing the competition work, I was inspired by childhood memories, the time spent at my grandmother’s and the food culture inherited from my grandparents. The proportions of my work resemble small Japanese dining furniture. There are a lot of points of convergence in Finnish and Japanese design, eg. in the long traditions of woodworking and simple design language. The design language and material of the competition furniture also show my roots in the forests of Savo. Low pine furniture invites you to sit intimately and share food with friends.

When designing the tableware, I had my grandmother Irja’s very small kitchen in mind, all her dishes had to be functional and fit together aesthetically. With the same principle, I designed the stackable porcelain dishes for the competition, which work together aesthetically. Thanks to the simple design language, the set of dishes also matches with other possible kitchen items. When I close my eyes, I can see my late grandfather Erkko in front of me, handing out a pitcher of home-brewed beer to a cheerful party group and cold-smoked salmon from a wooden container, on rye bread, is served to the guests.

Other information

Using the Competition Material

Messukeskus will display the finalists at the Habitare fair and use the competition entries in its press relations regarding the overall Habitare fair in both in Finland and abroad.

For more information about the competition, please contact:

Ida Ågren, Producer, Messukeskus

Head Judge Anna von Schewen

Anna von Schewen

Swedish designer and architect Anna von Schewen graduated from Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 1995. She has also been an exchange student at UIAH University of Art and Design in Helsinki.

After a two-year design internship at Pelikan Design in Copenhagen, she founded her own studio, Anna von Schewen Design and Architecture, in Stockholm in 1997.

Anna von Schewen designs furniture and objects for Swedish manufacturers Articles, Gärsnäs, String and Svenskt Tenn, as well as international brands De Padova, Ditre Italia, Zanotta and Arflex Japan. From her studio, she also works on residential architecture and exhibition design.

Her approach is experimental and explorative, and she combines a Scandinavian attitude towards material and form with a strong interest in textiles to create useful objects in which concept and detailing merge.

She has received the Bruno Mathsson Award, the Masonic Order Scholarship, project grants from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, a special prize from the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design (Svensk Form), the EDIDA Award Sweden, Sköna Hem Furniture of the Year, Residence Designer of the Year, and the German Design Award.

Works by Anna von Schewen are presented in the permanent collections of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Norwegian Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Oslo, the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, and the Museum of Furniture Studies in Stockholm.