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New public artworks encourage play and games 


Nathalie Lautenbacher: Rules of Play, 2023 / © HAM/Sonja Hyytiäinen

Daycare centres and schools in Helsinki have received new public artworks on their newly built premises. HAM Helsinki Art Museum has curated artworks for the Sompasaari daycare centre from Nathalie Lautenbacher and for the Tahvonlahti primary school from Ville Mäkikoskela and Kati Rapia.  

Nathalie Lautenbacher: Rules of Play 

Natalie Lautenbacher’s multi-part work, Rules of Play, is a composition of ceramic tiles. The tiles refer to Sompasaari’s history as a freight transport hub and as a neighbourhood with brick buildings and other brick structures as well as the daycare centre’s core activity: play. The work displays the various phases of play: organising the set for play, the delight of building something new, a possible row and, finally, reconciliation and peace.

Nathalie Lautenbacher (b. 1974) is a Finnish–French ceramic artist and designer. Her output includes handmade tableware collections and commissioned items for Arabia and Iittala. She has also contributed to the Japanese ceramics industry, and her works and tableware are enjoyed in restaurants and museums all over the world. Having received a number of international awards, Lautenbacher won the Finnish Young Designer of the Year prize in 2008. Lautenbacher is lecturer in design at Aalto University. 

Ville Mäkikoskela: Nature on the Move, 2023 / © HAM/Kirsi Halkola

Ville Mäkikoskela: Nature on the Move and Human in Nature 

Two pieces of stone sculpture by Ville Mäkikoskela have been unveiled in the renovated Tahvonlahti school. One of the sculptures is located in the school’s entrance hall; the other is outside in the yard. 

The work in the entrance hall, Nature on the Move, is a piece of solid rock, dug from the school site where the new building now stands and lifted to stand on a pair of boots. The work was sculpted from a single piece of rock and then brought inside the school building. The other work, Human in Nature, stands outside in the school yard on top of a rock. It was sculpted from a single piece of Varpaisjärvi black diabase. Its basic form resembles a pedestal or building block. The pedestal seems to have a wet sock hung to dry on one of its corners, and a woollen sock with holes seems to have sunk in the block, now protruding and enabling rainwater to run through it.

Ville Mäkikoskela (b. 1975) is a sculptor with an interest in the everyday life and twists of fate. He is fascinated by the spatiality and corporeality of sculpting and by how a sculpture and the body compare in the process of making a work of art as well as in finished works. 

Kati Rapia: Night Concert in the Storage Room, 2023 / © HAM/Viljami Annanolli

Kati Rapia: Night Concert in the Storage Room 

The Tahvonlahti school has also received Kati Rapia’s relief, Night Concert in the Storage Room. In accordance with the school’s weighted physical education curriculum, the work invites the observer to move and play; it seems that the sports equipment in the storage room has come to life and raised its voice in song. The aluminium-composite collage consists of stall bars, balls, various heaps, mattresses and vaulting bucks. According to Rapia, children’s closest environment is their imagination, and an object need not be defined by its apparent purpose; instead, it can be defined by its users and viewers. 

Kati Rapia (b. 1972) is a visual artist, cartoonist, scriptwriter, photographer and illustrator. She graduated from the Helsinki University of Industrial Arts’ Department of Photographic Art in 2003. Rapia has long studied unintentional arrangements by humans – heaps, piles and stacks – and introduced visual memories of them into her art. Rapia’s works imitate baroque still-life paintings in a reformative and original style. In 2018, Rapia received the Finnish State Prize for Comic Art.

These works were financed in accordance with Helsinki’s percentage for art financing principle: A percentage of the city’s budgeting for repair and construction projects is earmarked for new public artworks. HAM Helsinki Art Museum curates and acts as the art expert in these projects and the commissioned works are accessioned to the City of Helsinki’s art collection, which the museum administers.