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Lauri Anttila, Kaj Franck and Olli Tamminen: Stone Garden, 1987. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum

Kivipuutarha / Stone Garden

Artist Lauri Anttila, Kaj Franck, Olli Tamminen

, Helsinki

“Stone Garden” was commissioned by the State art purchases committee. It was completed in 1987 and placed in the court yard of the Ministry of Education’s new building.

“Stone Garden” was designed by Kaj Franck with the assistance of Lauri Anttila and Olli Tamminen. Franck was one of Finland’s most prominent designers. He palyed a central role in the Finnish industrial arts and in the reform of designer training. Lauri Anttila has for long been in the forefront of metal art and jewellery. He seeks his materials in the Finnish nature. Olli Tamminen’s oeuvre comprises jewellery, unique furniture, light fixtures and sculptures made from natural materials. Although the overall design is Franck’s, Anttila and Tamminen both played a central role in the creation of this monumental and elaborate piece which shows the personal artistry of each of the three artists.

The foundation of “Stone Garden” is in science and art, the spheres of the Ministry’s activities. Science is represented by the various types of stone and plants and their selection through scientific experimentation, while art is represented by the shaping of the stone and the creation of meaning through play with form and structuring of space.

The work is surrounded by irregular white walls on four sides. It consists of natural stones, stone formations, plants and a pool. The entrance of ‘Stone Garden’ is marked by acoustic stepping stones which form a direct path, crossing a striped natural stone to a water spring right in the centre of the yard surrounded by moss-covered earth, natural stones and plants and finally to a stone bench behind the spring. Three stone tables – designed by Olli Tamminen – have been placed close to the western wall. The table in the middle has a pool cut into it. On the opposite side there is a statue of conical stone slabs. The sundial, designed by Lauri Anttila, consists of a meridian mirror on the top floor of the northern elevation and four plaques, each embellished with stones, on the western edge. The plaques contain names of places and their exact location: “Löyttymäki 20°/0°”, “Raudanselänne 30°/10°”, “Akkunusjoki 40°/20°” and “Rautusjärvi 50°/30°”. The stones have been collected in Finland at locations on Helsinki’s meridian, and they form a scale as the sun’s rays, reflected by the meridian mirror, progress across the concrete pavement. The work is an enticing fusion of geometric and organic form, nature and human touch, living and dead material, chaos and order. At the same time, the “Stone Garden” plays reference to both Japanese Zen gardens and a bond with nature, the basic Finnish sentiment.

A plaque attached to the eastern wall reads: “This yard consists of types of rock and plants found in Finland. It includes acoustic stepping stones and a sundial indicating high noon.” Below the text are the signatures of the artists and the year of completion.

The work doesn’t belong to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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