Habitare Design Competition finalists announced


The three finalists in the 2020 Habitare Design Competition will be featured at the 2021 Habitare. The theme of the design competition, “bread and water”, was perceived to be challenging, but also current and relevant. The competition is organised in cooperation with Aalto University, and its head judge is Anna von Schewen from Sweden. Habitare will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki from 15 to 19 September 2021.

Organised by Messukeskus and the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the Habitare Design Competition has, over many years, put the spotlight on up-and-coming design and architecture students. The finalists in the 2020 competition will be featured at the 2021 event, because the 2020 event was postponed to this autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The competition, with Anna von Schewen as the head judge, to be held on the theme of “bread and water”

The theme of the 2020 Habitare Design Competition was “bread and water”. The competition sought designs for pieces of furniture and objects that are essential for people to enjoy good food and company. The brief was to design and implement a set of elements that are needed for us to enjoy our daily bread, and the competition proposal had to include as its parts a bench, a table and a bowl. The theme of the competition was perceived to be challenging but, at the same time, current and relevant.

The finalists in the competition were selected back in the spring of 2020. The winner will be chosen by the Swedish designer and architect Anna von Schewen, who was invited to be head judge of the competition in 2021. Von Schewen graduated from the Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 1995, and she is currently working for her own company. She designs furniture and objects for both Swedish and international companies.

The competition has a €5,000 grand prize, donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation. The finalist designs will be on display at Habitare 2021, which will be held from 15 to 19 September 2021.

Three finalists in the competition

The competition jury decided to select three finalists this time.

Kaisa Minkkinen – floor-dining furniture set Origo

The Origo floor-dining furniture set includes a table and futon seat cushions. It creates a relaxed, intimate setting for friends or family to get together and share food – and good moments. There is a recess at the centre – or origin (origo in Finnish) – of the circular table, in which you can fit a serving bowl that everyone sitting at the table can reach.

NG Wing Yin – Monolith

In Monolith, different sculptural forms combine to create a set of furniture and objects designed for sharing food with friends. The unique form references the silhouette of a natural monolith. The set includes three stools, three high stools (which can also serve as tables), and three individual stands that can hold three bowls of different sizes. Users can freely arrange the elements of the product.

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

I am inspired by Japanese dining furniture, and I wanted to keep the pieces very simple and low, while aiming to create designs that are very recognisably Finnish. The pieces of furniture I designed can be assembled and disassembled, as the parts have notches to lock them in place, keeping the pieces together. The long, high bench has the traditional fastening system of Finnish farmhouse furniture. I chose Finnish pine as the material. Pine is a fine material that may need a little upgrade from being considered cottage-furniture material to being a respected furniture wood.

Images of the competitors can be downloaded from the Messukeskus media bank.

More information:

Messukeskus, communications officer Taira Sjöblom-Tallus,, tel. +358 50 385 5482.

Head judge Anna von Schewen

The Swedish designer and architect Anna von Schewen graduated from the Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 1995. In 1997, she founded her own company, Anna von Schewen Design and Architecture, which designs furniture and objects for both Swedish (Articles, Gärsnäs, String and Svenskt Tenn) and international brands (De Padova, Ditre Italia, Zanotta and Arflex Japan).

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


Habitare, the largest furniture, design and interior decoration event in Finland, will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki, from 15 to 19 September 2021. Habitare offers experiences and ideas on interior decoration, and on the functioning and look of homes and other spaces. Habitare highlights the ideas and works by a new generation of designers, and sparks discussion. The International Friend of Habitare in 2021 is Joseph Grima.| @HabitareFair | | #habitare2021


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