Richard Kroeker


Kajaani Civic Space


The regional government centred in Kajaani, Finland, invited an international group of designers to an intense workshop where we toured existing resource areas and local manufacturing facilities, then developed new designs based on what we saw. The purpose of the workshop was to help develop ideas for new products that would enhance the economic and cultural value of local resources, and attract young people to remain in the region. As part of that workshop we were asked to come up with a way to intensify civic life as well. While most designers concentrated on the summer season, this project focuses on winter, since most people are away at their woodland cottages making the best of the brief summer, I focussed on public life during that long season. The waterway is the focus of the town. The large wooden snow plough features local wood craft skills, and invites groups of skaters to form skating trails and labyrinths on a pristine surface which each fresh snowfall. The costumed pavilions along the shore feature the work of local textile designers, for coffee kiosks, snack concessions, or protected galleries to bring people together outdoors during the winter. In the summer, the wooden snow ploughs are stored by being upended on shore to create roofs for buskers or sheltered relaxation space.