In September 2023, the HAMK Smart and Sustainable Design degree programme participated in the Habitare Interior and Design Fair at the Helsinki Messukeskus. The second-year ceramic design students formed a team of five and were tasked to increase HAMK’s visibility at the event. The goal was to showcase the Smart and Sustainable Design degree programme and present both their own and their peers’ ceramic and glass works, all while keeping in mind the theme for Habitare 2023, ‘Together’.
When considering the booth’s message, the project team discussed the significance of Habitare 2023’s ’Together’ theme combined with the slogan ‘The Bettermakers’ of Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). The selected message, ‘Here to Make a Change’, reflects both aspects. The message arose from the students’ desire to showcase sustainability thinking within the degree programme and among the design students. In my opinion, the chosen message demonstrates that the students are committed to sustainable design and change, possessing both the skills and the desire to improve the world.
The booth’s design presented an excellent opportunity to showcase HAMK’s recently launched brand. The colors, visual elements, and logo were chosen in line with the new brand. The color palette and visual elements were designed to complement the colors of the exhibited items, ensuring a visually coherent and appealing overall display. Our booth stood out from The Block’s with its vibrant colors and drew visitors to it. Our advantage was also that the booth showcased the works of several different designers, curated into an engaging exhibition. Additionally, fourth year student Eveliina Tahvanainen’s piece, ”Volcanic Home,” was highlighted at the HAMK booth as the phenomenon of 2023.
The project team had a tight schedule. Their workload was substantial for a short period – in less than a month, they had to curate the exhibition items, design and implement the booth’s visuals, and prepare marketing materials. Fortunately, the project team was well-organized and flexible. They started planning the project during the summer break, which eased some of the pressure during the project. This was the team’s first event production, and they were thrown into the deep end, but they can be proud of what they achieved in a short time alongside their other studies. For me, this was my first event production as a teaching assistant. My role was to provide guidance, technical support, and share my expertise when needed. Having previously worked as a project manager in my own studies, I had the opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience in a different role.
HAMK and the Smart and Sustainable Design degree programme received attention and recognition from visitors at the fair. The fact that the students had selected to show a variety of designers and pieces highlighted the possibilities for studying glass and ceramics within the degree programme. The pieces selected varied from functional designs to expressive art pieces, demonstrating an array of techniques and materials that are possible to study with us. All these aspects combined demonstrated how the Smart and Sustainable Design degree programme has established its position in the design education field. In addition to the exhibition both students and I were present to engage with fair visitors communicating about our degree programme.
The booth and the exhibition generated interest and attracted potential applicants for the Smart and Sustainable Design programme. The degree programme also networked with businesses, potentially leading to new projects. Overall, the students excelled at the fair making a name for themselves as designers as well as showcasing HAMKs Smart and Sustainable Design degree programme.
Wilma Väisänen, teaching assistant