SAUMA [Design as Cultural Interface]

The SAUMA exhibition presents innovative contemporary design from Finland to an international audience. Continuing the long tradition of high profile Finnish design, the works in the exhibition explore new approaches to usability, the user experience and the design process. These works experiment with portability, sensory experiences and the ways in which we navigate our urban environment. They blur the line between art and design.

The postwar golden age of Finnish design produced such internationally recognized names as Alvar Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala, Kaj Franck, and Marimekko. Since then, life has expanded remarkably on all continents and in all fields thanks to international connections and co-operation. Increasing emphasis  is placed on mobility and flexibility. Work time and free time are blended as are work space, private space and public space. The potential quick transformations are an integral part of contemporary design. Now the designer is faced with a whole new set of demands. Not only do we need new tools to help us to tackle the technical side of life, but we also need new solutions for the practical challenges of everyday life.

The SAUMA exhibition provides a fresh look at what is happening in Finnish design today. The curatorial team sought innovation in selecting the works. Even the title, SAUMA Design as Cultural Interface, was chosen to reflect an emphasis on new and experimental work. The Finnish word sauma means a seam, a borderline and, in colloquial usage, a chance. With the SAUMA exhibition, we aimed at providing a framework for the development of experimental ideas and interaction between Finnish designers and design-oriented companies. The designer driven works show how ambitiously design can address everyday realities. It opens new ways to approach both the old and the new needs of our society. All of the works featured are based entirely on new concepts or on newly developed applications of a recent concept.

The SAUMA exhibition consists of a touring exhibition, a catalog, web pages, and a series of seminars. After its opening in Washington, DC, in October 2005, the exhibition will tour major North American cities for two years. The exhibition is part of the Finnish Design Year 2005.