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Habitare, Finland's largest furniture and interior design fair, formed part of Helsinki Design week at the end of September. The theme of this year's Habitare design competition was 'my music': the development of spaces for listening to music. Of the 74 submissions, Jasper Morrison shortlisted four for their diverse and clever use of materials. Julia Dawson reports.

Aisti (Sense) was in Jasper Morrison's opinion the most impressive scheme as it is so cheerful, colourful and alive. By Inka Ahola and Karoliina Korhonen, assisted by Richard Widerberg and Kimmo Modig, it was certainly the funkiest, with tubular foam plastic tentacles stretching out from two parallel walls, cushioning the space and affording strong absorption of secondary sounds. The designers say the idea behind Aisti was to create spatial tension between two existing walls with one material, creating space, enhancing the music and providing a place for people.

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Mafoombey, a corrugated cardboard space designed by Martti Kalliala and Esa Ruskeepaa, assisted by Martin Lucasczyk, was the overall winner of the competition. Morrison was impressed with the transformation of a humble material like cardboard into something so wonderful. Inside the sound box is a ledge to sit on and listen to music, cocooned by layers of cardboard providing good acoustics as well as beauty and elegance. Photographs by Timo Wright (exterior) and Jukka Uotila (interior).

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Julius Kekoni and Seppo Tusa designed Pino (Stack), a contemplative cuboid acoustic space made of a lattice of timber elements creating an enclosure that breathes yet insulates the inhabitants from the outside world. The simple structure is composed of two 600mm thick wooden walls, I- and U-shaped, built by stacking a grid of 40mm X 40mm timber section members. The architects' inspiration was the old traditional woodbuilding techniques of Finland, using neither glue nor nails to hold it together but a few pull-bars. Loudspeakers are installed in the walls.

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Haze is a white misty double-walled nest resembling a soft snowball. It is cushioned by a thick mattress and pillows for lying down on to listen to music, reminiscent of childhood escapism in tents. The shell structure of the felt nest, made of 8mm thick reinforcing steel bars, was designed by Aino Aspiala and Antti Lehto from Helsinki University of Technology, with help from Varpu Mikola, Tuukka Linnas and Ville Nurkka. The acoustics are superb.

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Photographs: Hannu Lehto.
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Title Annotation:product review
Author:Dawson, Julia
Publication:The Architectural Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Words:349
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