Lehm√§ pitää viedä jäälle, jotta se tanssii

Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie / Curating / 2017

For the Cow to Dance, Drag it on the Ice – A view on contemporary art out of Finland curated for Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie in Bielefeld, Germany. This foreword to the catalog by me.

Artists Ville Andersson, Lauri Anttila, Elina Brotherus, Kari Cavén, Anna Estarriola, Grönlund Nisunen, Tiina Heiska, Hannaleena Heiska, Emma Helle, Joseph James, Pekka Jylhä, Sanna Kannisto, Shoji Kato, Teemu Keisteri, Kaisu Koivisto, Tuomas A. Laitinen, Maija Luutonen, Jarmo Mäkilä, Jaakko Mattila, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Vesa-Pekka Rannikko, Aurora Reinhard, Heli Rekula, Mikko Rikala, Heli Ryhänen, Hanna Saarikoski, Kim Simonsson, Pilvi Takala, Elina Vainio, Timo Wright, 3D Kinobox Obscura. Catalog by Tsto with essays by Maaretta Jaukkuri, Marina Noronha and Kimmo Modig.

Helsinki New Pop-Up Beijing

Juni / Presenters / 2016

Presenters for an exhibition of jewelery and clothing by Finnish designers. Produced by Juni for Helsinki New at Opposite House, Beijing.

Material plaster. Assistance Ivan Segato.

Technologies as Cultures

Cultuurplatform Limburg / Essay / 2016

An essay on technical culture in We are Wanderful: 25 Years of Design & Fashion in Limburg by eds. Pablo Hannon, Christophe de Schauvre and Heleen Van Loon for Cultuurplatform Limburg.

Published by Lannoo.

Meritulli Table

Collaboratorio / Furniture / 2016

The design of the Meritulli table began with the integration of the long aprons into the table plate, to provide for a platonic, yet sturdy form. The leg slabs are mounted to the plate using recessed steel brackets that allow for dismantling the table without disturbing the monolithic form.

Material glue-lam pine. Interior architecture Collaboratorio. Photography Tuomas Uusheimo

Kuva Trestles

University of the Arts Helsinki / Furniture / 2015

Around the time I was asked to develop these table supports I had realized that even though I had been working in a craft environment for some time, I had kept using a quasi industrial design process, manufacturing from drawings. With a total of fourteen trestles requested by the art academy’s for its temporary quarters, the commission seemed to provide a context appropriate to divert from this. All items were drawn directly by hand or machine into material found in or around the workshop, a constraint that gave them a half explosive, half maladroit energy that eventually struck strong vs. the former administration premises.

Various materials. Assistance Guilleaume Bleeckx.

Helsinki Design Library and A Weaving Kiosk

Helsinki Design Library / Public event / 2015

With Rosa Tolnov Clausen.

Pop-up presentation.

Helsinki Design Library

Library / Public project / Ongoing

I founded Helsinki Design Library in 2014 as a public and independent source for books on design, architecture, art and related studies to support the conceptual discourse in Helsinki’s practicing design community. HDL collects monographs, catalogues raisonnés, interview editions and other formats that give in-depth views of particular artistic practices, conceptual motifs and historical moments. Additional publications cover technical culture and relevant socio-cultural and philosophical questions.

The library is part of the joint workshop Sankariliiga in Hermanni, Helsinki and open!

2014, ongoing.

Kolding School of Design Graduation 2013

Kolding School of Design / Curating / 2013

I was invited to curate the 2013 graduation exhibition of Kolding School of Design, a programmatically determined, carefully composed and almost motherly organization, and one of the two national design academies of Denmark. When I began working on the project, it felt appropriate that both for the humane characteristics of the program and the fact that I dislike exhibitions of this kind that serve the institution more than the graduates I align my approach with the individual graduates and their ambitions setting out into their careers.

I asked in an initial workshop how they each wished their practice to develop after having left the frame of the academy. There emerged different “wills” from this that I felt characterized the designers better, on a more intimate layer of temperament, than any single piece of their production. These became the structure of the show.

In KRYDSNING (crossing), projects were shown that dealt with conflicts of all sorts. RADIUS grouped works that aimed at expanding practical reach in technique, method or technology. FUNDAMENTET (the foundation) showed projects that set to inspect fundamental concepts, mechanisms and conditions such as infrastructure, perception, tradition, construction of identity etc. VÆLD (abundance, overflow) joined work that proposed for a sensual dealing with the environment.

To defy scale and save the show from suffocating in the imposing mass of Koldinghus castle, the display was realized by the graduates themselves, in a dimension that challenged the stage as much as their construction experience, in an intense two-week production effort for which we used a mere 8.000 Euros in equipment and material.

Curation, design, technical planning and production. Photography Jacob Keinicke, Palle Peter Skov

Holmas Table

Furniture / One-off / 2013

I got the commission to design a table for a private client who wanted to accompany it with a group of Hans Jørgensen Wegner’s CH24 chairs. For much of the strength of Wegner’s work stems from his training as a cabinet maker, my interest was in how I could reply to his joinery from a background in totally different things. I drew the table in a basically 2D shape that relates to the industrial saw mill and otherwise to a relatively simple machine environment. The slab structure lets the eye walk off easily and occupies a space opposite of Wegner’s compositions, which it effectively complements. Related to Wegner’s idiom are the fine-tuned angles of the legs that reveal a silent but complex dynamic when one moves about the piece.

Material solid oak. Production Petri Koivusipilä. Photography Jussi Särkilahti

Polite Light

Wall light / Prototype / 2010

In this light no hard material is used to shield off glare, only a spraying of paint where the light should not pass. Driver electronics were modified to allow for building a circuit that has three cathodes instead of the usual two for a more voluminous object.

Material fluorescent light, spray-paint, electronics.

Remote Material of Implication

Van Abbemuseum / Billboard / 2010

For the Van Abbemuseum’s Architecture Day project Instatements our studio was asked to present a position on how cities should address the evacuation of former industrial sites in their centers. We found that it is not only the industry that is leaving from the city, but all various sorts of transformative – manipulative – work. Our paths most likely oscillate between home and the centers of shopping and leisure, between which work is the bridge, and as production becomes increasingly remote and obscure, we find fewer and fewer workshops that can fix electronics or repair broken chairs. This polarity is the urban installation of the consumer model.

To evoke the idea of a city in which production and manipulation have equal part among dwelling and commerce, we produced a bouwbord, a construction billboard, by hand and installed it in a brown-field that was at the time subject to “development.” The appropriation of this structure that usually heralds the end of a capital-driven decision process was thus made in a process that stemmed less from (re-)production and more from manipulation, from a tweaking of tools and re-purposing of material that must be stimulated if the citizen is not to degrade into a user.

Contribution to Instatements, an exhibition on the future of the post-industrial city, 2010. Support structure and billboard (W 7m × H 5m) with silk screen print in seven colors, accompanying documents. Instatements program curated by Clare Butcher/Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven and Uri Ben-Ari, presented on occasion of the Dutch Day of Architecture 2010. Exhibition catalogue published by Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. With Pierre Tectin, Garance Echazarreta, François Dumas, Gero Asmuth, Erasmus Scherjon

Kraken heeft Nederland vormgegeven

The Dutch Kraakwet was a unique expression of famed Dutch liberalism. Ruling that citizens may appropriate any real estate standing vacant for a minimum period, it helped mitigate the stress on an utterly overcrowded housing market. Particularly beneficial to creatives in search of production space, it also played a vital role in facilitating the large-scale manual research that characterises the Dutch creative output of the last decades.

When the law was put up for debate in 2009, public discussion focused on instances of misuse while no due was paid to its place in the biographies of the designers, artists and architects with whose success the country has been priding and strategically promoting itself since the 1990’s.

Since I had been fortunate myself to find my workspace through the conditions set in and around the law, it felt incongruous to me that this dimension be omitted. I therefore launched Kraaken heeft Nederland vormgegeven to lift into view the perspective of creatives working in Holland.

The initiative instantly received strong support from many of Holland’s most prominent creators and institutions. It produced various exhibitions and worked with the media to demonstrate how large a portion of Holland’s creative scene indeed had found the framework to begin their careers in the disputed law. A book of collected statements by the supporters on their experience with the law as part of their work biographies was given to the Dutch Senate.

The Kraakwet was eventually sacked by the center-right government in 2010.

KHNLV was shown at the NAi Rotterdam as part of the Architecture Biennale 2009. It was publicised on in Dutch and international news media and specialised press and has since featured in Dutch urbanist discourse.

Kraaken heeft Nederland vormgegeven (lit.: “Squatting designed the Netherlands”, various public and press activities, posters, book (silk screen print), 2009. See http://mborn.com/kraakinfo/ for a collection of documents

Discussion Platform

Contribution to Coalition of Amateurs by Jerszy Seymour.

Various materials, 2009. With Travis Cole Broussard, Erasmus Scherjon, François Dumas, Pierre Tectin, Gero Asmuth

Crate Shelf

The faculty of this modular shelving system to accumulate in three dimensions makes it an efficient storage system as well as a means for structuring spaces.

Steel, laser-cut and bent, plastics, 2009. Photography Thomas Bernstrand, Aki-Pekka Sinkoski


Daylighting curtain / Prototype / 2007

By bending opaque textile panels, the Shades curtain allows to regulate a room’s daylight exposure from direct to fully indirect.

When shut, direct light no longer reaches any point in the room. Instead, its reflection is caught on the textile, providing a majestic manifestation of indoor natural light. The curtain movement is driven by a string mechanism which can be operated either manually or electrically. Electronic triggering of the movement in function of the momentary daylight situation can be implemented by use of a photo sensor. Next to softening the light atmosphere, the curtain also has favorable acoustic properties. Shades can be applied as a window shielding or a spatial design element, and works in relation with natural or artificial light.

Wool, steel, electronics, various materials, 2007. Photography René van der Hulst

Voorterweg 136

Construction of the atelier building at Voorterweg 136 in Eindhoven.

2009 – 2011. With François Dumas, Garance Echazarreta, Erasmus Scherjon, Gero Asmuth, Max Lipsey, Jakob Hohmann

Huuda Huuda

Trade fair displays for comic publisher Huuda Huuda. Five shelves to be transported across Finland by one man with no car. Tool-free belt-and-beam design, custom made transport trailer.

Various materials, 2008

Pitkämies display furniture

Counter, book and record shelves for Jelle Hugaert’s Pitkämies comic store in Helsinki. Also housing the Finnish Comic Society’s gallery and the studio of comic drawers’ collective Kuti Kuti, the design for the shop was made to honor the hand as the building’s main force.

Various wooden materials, brick, 2008


An accent light with a tilting switch that locks onto level boards by means of its own weight.

Steel, electronics, plastics, 2006


Stackbox is a container that can be raised on legs to make a sideboard, stacked to form a shelf or function as a transportation crate.

Plastic, steel, 2007. Photography René van der Hulst

Long Vase

A vase to put flowers next to one another.

Polystyrene, 2008


223DCNC is a formal and mechanical study of the possibilities to create three-dimensional constructs departing from a two-dimensional production environment. Specific problematics like undercutting and hinges are resolved by employing the thickness of the material as an agent to change the orientation of a connection.

MDF, 2005

Martin Born is a curator, library owner and designer in Helsinki.