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UPM Design Competition Generates Architectural Wooden Masterpiece for Helsinki Coastline

Archive 27.4.2009 0:00 EEST

(UPM, Helsinki, 27 April 2009, at 13:30) – The winner of UPM's WISA 24-hour Wooden Design Workshop has been announced. The winning work, titled '26080608', was designed by Ms. Pieta-Linda Auttila, a Master of Arts student from the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

'26080608', also known as The WISA Wooden Design Hotel, will be situated at the northern point of Valkosaari island in Helsinki's Southern Harbour during the summer. The WISA Hotel will be officially opened in early-June.

Despite its name, the WISA Wooden Design Hotel wasn't designed for public use, yet the building will offer facilities for a sleepover. "The WISA Wooden Design Hotel is meant to be noticed and admired. Because of its location, the building itself is a little like Helsinki's own little mermaid, which captivates the interest of architects, designers and the general public," describes Mr. Antti Ratia, Head of Communications, UPM Timber.

According to Mr. Ratia, wood has an established and strong presence in suburban residential properties in Finland, but within the urban environment wooden structures are much rarer to see. "Wood is environmentally sustainable and the only truly renewable construction material. In Europe, wood grows in the forests faster than we process it."

The competition jury describes Pieta-Linda Auttila's work '26080608' as follows: "A simple solution with the key idea at its core. The living space enclosing the outdoor patio in the middle is a fantastic insight. The work expresses strong exploration of form."

Pieta-Linda Auttila's own statement of the work reflects dedication and focus to the challenge. She describes herself as a design chameleon.

“I wanted to blow the wooden block in pieces from the middle. By bending the block, I forced the slats to a new form that offers a contrast to the original shape, the block. Thus the solid shape becomes partly transparent, and the strictly geometrical shape becomes organic. The interior space is secondary as the partly sheltered patio takes the leading role”, Ms. Auttila describes.

“With the idea of a blasted block I wanted to underline the endless possibilities to reform a material and a shape.”

Ms. Anttila paid also attention to building's unique location on the sea, embracing the heart of Helsinki City centre. She opened the view from the cosy living room towards the city and the sun set and vice versa from the bedroom towards the soothing sea and the sunrise.

The competition format launched by UPM for the WISA Wooden Design Hotel broke the boundaries of a traditional design competition. In addition to architects, designers and design students were also invited to the competition. The competitors had only 24 hours to design a bold and iconic work from Finnish pine and spruce.

After a close contest, eight works of the total 75 entries were chosen as finalists. The short list is presented on WISA24h's web site at www.wisa24.com

For more information, please contact:
Antti Ratia, Head of Communications, UPM Timber, tel. +358 20 414 7021

UPM, Communications
Media Desk, tel. +358 40 588 3284

UPM Timber
UPM Timber manufactures sawn timber and further processed products mainly for construction, furniture and joinery industries. The annual production capacity is 2.4 million cubic metres of WISA sawn timber products. UPM Timber employs around 1,300 people and it has 15 production units in Finland, Austria, France and Russia.

UPM is one of the world's leading forest industry groups. UPM consists of three Business Groups: Energy and Pulp, Paper, and Engineered materials. Our competitiveness is based on cost leadership, change readiness and leading innovation. The Group employs around 25,000 people and it has production facilities in 14 countries. In 2008, UPM made sales of EUR 9.5 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki stock exchange.