Skip to content

Habitare’s themed exhibition

Habitare’s themed exhibition, Layers, to be created by the cosmopolitan design studio Yatofu


Habitare will feature an exhibition reflecting the 2024 Habitare theme of Layers, created by the Yatofu design studio Angela Lindahl and Yihan Xiang. The theme, Layers, highlights the layered and lived-in character of homes, spaces and objects, reminding us of the cyclicity of design, the revival of styles, and how the old and the new exist side by side every moment.

The premise of the exhibition is the revealing of layers


The premise of the themed exhibition, created by Yatofu, a design studio based in Helsinki and Shanghai, is the revealing of layers. “We want to reveal different layers – stories, periods, aesthetics and processes – and explore and understand them. It’s the same when you visit someone’s home and see different pieces, old and new, and you wonder what their story is and why they are there. So revealing layers is a kind of a sub-theme of the exhibition. We don’t just focus on the spatial experience or the look of the exhibition, but also on the content”, say Angela Lindahl and Yihan Xiang, the founders of Yatofu.


“We are going to ask a few designers and artists to come to the exhibition to show and peel back the layers of their work. At design fairs, you usually see finished products, but we also want to let visitors in on the design process and craft skills involved”, says Xiang.


In addition to the visual layers, Lindahl and Xiang hope that the exhibition will serve as a meeting place and a space for dialogue. Various artists, companies and independent creators can all find their own place there and share their work and their own visions of design – on different scales.

Habitare’s themed exhibition, Layers, to be created by the cosmopolitan design studio Yatofu: “We want to reveal and to uncover layers.”

Connecting cultures as Yatofu’s distinctive feature


The designers were originally drawn to Helsinki because of their studies at Aalto University. They were also attracted by the iconic Finnish designers, including Alvar Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala and Eero Saarinen, and intrigued by Nordic design and its strong focus on lifestyle and connection to nature. They have since made the city their home, and are keen to show what is currently happening in the local design scene.


Lindahl, a Taiwanese-Canadian, and Xiang, a Chinese, met each other while studying interior architecture at Aalto University. The two designers, who respectively studied in New York and Beijing, founded the Yatofu design studio in 2017. The company currently has offices in Helsinki and Shanghai, but it delivers projects to customers around the world.


Acting as a bridge between cultures and connecting cultures is Yatofu’s distinctive feature and natural niche. “In the beginning, we got projects from non-Finnish clients doing business in Finland and from Finns doing business elsewhere, for example, in China or North America. I think what makes us special is that we are always working with two very different cultures in two different environments”, says Lindahl.

Yatofu has also introduced new layers to Helsinki, its current hometown. The designers have left their mark on, for example, the Noodle Story restaurants, where, when you walk through the door, you feel as if you have stepped into another city and another country. “With Noodle Story, our concept was based around the activity of gathering around the dining table to share and exchange experiences. Something which is very common and authentic in Chinese culture. In our projects, we often try to find the key common and distinct cultural elements and place them in the forefront”, explains Lindahl.


Asian culture also features in the name of the designer duo’s company, Yatofu, which started as a joke. “We wanted it to reflect our values and philosophy, and we also wanted people to feel the Asian culture behind it. We were joking about how we both like to eat. Then we thought that, hey, what if we took the first letters of our names and added the word ‘tofu’. The name also reflects our attitude: we don’t take anything too seriously”, Xiang says, and they both laugh.