News / ADDLAB puts the digital revolution into action in Aalto University
ADDLAB wants to weld together the triangle of which digital design, manufacturing technologies and materials of the new generation make the sides.
The idea of a novel laboratory combining digital design, material science and solid technology expertise was born, when Kivi Sotamaa, the director of the laboratory of digital design in Aalto University, realised in the end of the 00s that Aalto University was taking shape. In a university bringing together science, technology, art and economy, Sotamaa saw a need for discussion and activity in digital technology and the future of design and manufacturing.
– Finland was then lacking conversation about the paradigm shift digital technology was going to cause, and about the importance of mastering digital design. The strong technology research infrastructure in Finland should be merged with international knowledge of design, sums up Sotamaa the initial idea behind ADDLAB.
– From industrial mass production we are moving towards individual iteration production enabled by digital technology. Our material environment can be designed locally but manufactured globally – digital design will revolutionise the material industries.
Corporate collaboration makes sense of the world
ADDLAB is still under construction: the hall next door will soon house a new design infrastructure – a space, tools and people for experimental research. Under way are a robotics workshop, a programming studio and the licensing of the Material ConneXion materials library as a part of ADDLAB.
– We are creating a research ecosystem in which mechatronics engineers can hack existing machines with new software, to build tools in cooperation with companies.
Sotamaa also tells about a significant software collaboration with a major company in the field. The company will donate to ADDLAB a series of powerful computers and their entire range of spectrum software with which control everything from digital design to manufacturing.
– We create new ways of operation for companies in our projects. By tightly incorporating companies into what we do, we can guarantee our societal impact. Taking on practical projects with companies is a condition for making any sense of the world.
Sparking conversation and initiating events
Sotamaa and his team want to add a mentality of experimentation into the research and teaching in Aalto University. The open-for-all series of lectures, ADDTHOUGHT, has seen visits by the international elite of digital designers, exactly the likes of Klaus Bollinger. ADDLAB’s courses are also available for anyone by portfolio application.
– We want to spark conversation, initiate events and education and this way hopefully raise professionals inside ADDLAB.
ADDLAB will soon reach out to its neighbours informally as well: its lobby will see “the best café in Espoo”. It will make baristas out of engineers and offer a space of amiable encounters across disciplines and titles.
– The café is part of the overall infrastructure of research and education we aim to build in Aalto University.
Text: Tapio Reinekoski
Edited: Anna Varakas
Director of ADDLAB Kivi Sotamaa
kivi.sotamaa [at] aalto [dot] fi (email@example.com
)tel. +358 50 511 2642