EMMA – Esbo moderna konstmuseum

EMMA – Esbo moderna konstmuseum är ett av de största museerna i Finland.



The centenaries of the births of the Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala and the ceramic artist Rut Bryk are being celebrated for a period of two years. One of the key projects in the related programme during 2015 and 2016 is an international concept competition, Sharing, which seeks ideas for a permanent showcase for the extensive collection of the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk (TWRB) Foundation, and for the establishment of a new design centre at EMMA – the Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

Organised by EMMA, the TWRB Foundation, and the Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA, the international ideas competition attracted 91 entries from Finland and other European countries, as well as from Asia and North America. The jury selected the winners without knowing the identities of the entrants.

The jury gave a €4,000 award to five quite different entries: The Give Collection from Finland, Trails from Finland, Map from the United Kingdom, Living Archive from Germany, and Sancho Poncha from the United States. The prize money totals €20,000. The award-winners will be invited to a seminar to be held in Finland on 18 October, the centenary of the birth of Rut Bryk, to discuss and develop their ideas further.

The international competition was launched in December 2015, with an aim of seeking ideas for the creation of a new type of interactive and international design centre, to be part of EMMA. The competition sought innovative solutions for presenting and researching the collection maintained by the TWRB Foundation. In addition, the solutions should enable contemporary design to interact with the collection.

The collection of the TWRB Foundation includes more than 5000 items: models, drawings, sketches, prototypes and photographs. In addition to material related to the work and careers of Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk, the collection features many personal items, including letters and photographs from the couple's travels and along their life's journey.

The competition sought ideas and conceptual presentations. No one idea or entry among the award-winning candidates was selected for implementation. EMMA and the TWRB Foundation, in cooperation with a variety of specialists, will continue to develop the future design centre and the functional details of the foundation's archive. The competition served as a good starting point for further discussion and development. EMMA's new design centre, and an exhibition based on the collection of the TWRB Foundation, will be opened in 2017.

Award-winning entries

The Give Collection

The proposal suggests a digital complementary “twin” collection. The main objective is in creating digital models of the archive articles containing metadata related to each object. The digital collection consists of AIMs (article information model) of every archive piece. Both the curators and the users participate in producing the information thus making the virtual collection ever evolving and enlarging. The Give Collection can be viewed with three different modes; virtual collection for inspiration seekers, browse collections for detail hungry researchers as well as physical visitors at EMMA.

The proposal concentrates in the act of sharing, as a shared online experience, sharing information and personal views, and in linking the archive to existing social media platforms. The Give Collection is targeted for different user-groups divided to virtual and physical experiences. The entry was created by Simon Örnberg from Finland.


The proposal sees the archive as a "vast yet elusive landscape… where curatorial paths await discovery". A total of 1000 randomly selected objects are placed in a chequered shelf structure on the walls lining the space. The presentation is altered according to the situation: need for a loan, by request or arbitrarily. The shelves light up according to the visitor´s wishes, illuminating a customized trail through the works of Wirkkala and Bryk. Compass screens implanted in the shelf structures on four different walls showcase exhibits or stored objects. The screens react according to the visitors’ selections, and also connect to urban satellites in other locations outside EMMA, such as MoMA. The central part of the space can host forum workshops, discussions and other events. A frame composed of massive wooden tables, functions as a centerpiece for different gatherings. The entry was created by Johanna Brummer and Heini-Emilia Saari from Finland.


The concept concentrates in creating a parallel between the act of everyday-decision-making and curating. The project consists of a physical archive in EMMA and a digital platform that states to challenge the archive experience. The physical space is a container of the archive objects and serves as a place for workshops, cinemas and exhibitions. The project solves the prospective archive exhaustion with a digitally curated wayfinding. The experience in the archive will be supplemented with digital suggestions. The proposed app allows user to select images and based on the selection, suggests a route and a possible match with a previously curated exhibition. The physical museum concept for EMMA is compiled with the interplay of solid and void, preserving and sharing. The entry was created by Chiara Montgomerie and María Jose Orihuela from the United Kingdom.

Elävä Arkisto

In this proposal, the archive itself is the exhibition. It is stated that due to the heterogeneous nature of the material, a toolkit is required. The challenge of the task is presented in a mechanical manner. The DNA of the project is a modular rail system that would permit archive shelves to be moved around, changing the structure of the space to fit different needs. The ceiling rails would make it possible to move the shelves and walls around, and the space could also be rearranged further with curtains. The shelf units would leave room for research desks, and events such as lectures, etc. The system comes integrated with full technical support and lighting structures. The exhibition items would be stored in containers that serve both storing and exhibiting purposes. The containers are placed on movable shelves. Parts of the exhibition could also be easily transplanted elsewhere in blocks. The entry was created by Emmanuel Laux and Sebastian Weindauer from Germany.

Sancho Ponza

The entry boldly proposes a new method of navigation, searching and curating. The proposal suggests the archive to be a place for playfulness and observation. The idea is that a visitor of the archive can request certain items from a computer program which controls a robot arm handing the selected item to a rotating belt. The spatial organization is a simple layered model where circular shelves are enclosing protected items. The inner part contains selection of archived items and working space for researchers, curators, etc. The middle circle is reserved for the robotic arm moving and reorganizing items based on visitors’ wishes. The outermost part serves as a space for larger objects and exhibition. The entry was created by Philip Tidwell from the United States.

The competition jury

Juhani Pallasmaa – Architect, Professor Emeritus, Chairman of the competition jury
Mikko Heikkinen – Architect, Professor, Heikkinen-Komonen Architects
Pilvi Kalhama – Museum Director, EMMA – the Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Emmi Keskisarja – Architect, jury member announced by SAFA – Finnish Association of Architects
Laura Sarvilinna – Programme Director, The Finnish Fair Corporation
Special Advisors
Eva Franch i Gilabert – Chief Curator and Executive Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture
Jaana Jalonen – Chairman, City of Espoo Board of Culture

Press Photos/
For detailed comments and citations from the jury, read the minutes at:
Password: emmamuseum

More information

Esa Laaksonen, Chairman of Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation, +358 50 555 7330

Pilvi Kalhama, Museum Director, EMMA – the Espoo Museum of Modern Art

EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art
is one of the most important art museums in Finland. EMMA’s exhibition rooms are divided between a presentation of the Saastamoinen Foundation Art Collection and changing exhibitions. Through its collection and exhibition activities, EMMA profiles itself as a museum of domestic and international modernism, contemporary art, and design. EMMA is located in the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Tapiola, Espoo.

Established in 2003, the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation is tasked with maintaining the collection of the artist couple and promoting related research, as well as exhibition and publishing activities. The foundation's goal of having a permanent exhibition space will be realised during 2017, when the collection will be housed at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre. At the end of 2015, the city of Espoo, EMMA – the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, and the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation signed an agreement to place the foundation's collection on permanent display at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre, and as part of EMMA. The agreement will ensure that the nationally significant collection is preserved, maintained and made available to the public. The new exhibition space and the display of the collection will contribute significantly to EMMA's role in the field of design. This internationally attractive collection will expand EMMA's opportunities to offer a wider variety of content to the public. It is also an opportunity to increase the appeal of the WeeGee Exhibition Centre as an international event centre that also showcases contemporary design in a versatile manner.