collaboration news projects

No Infrastructure – Russia

Hermitage MuseumVisit to Stieglitz Academy of Art & Design, St Petersburg, RUSSIA.

Eight months of planning led us to this historical moment. Vehicle Design students from Finland and Russia working together and getting to know each other, collaborating closely on solving transportation . After initial meetings in St Petersburg it was agree we would try to achieve an ambitious synergy of our courses and also a collaborative workshop. Somehow it happened in November of 2015. Our 3rd year Vehicle Design students and a special guest from the University of Lapland headed off on the 12th of November for a 10 day adventure in St. Petersburg, where we would meet with Steiglitz Academy students of Transport Design. First on the agenda, was to present our progress on a design brief that we had all agreed to earlier in October.

Presentation of "No Infrastructure" We began our visit presenting the results of our joint project- called No Infrastructure. We aimed to design innovative future transport systems for the remote areas of Russia and Finland. Next on our agenda for the week, was to visit many amazing museums and art galleries in St Petersburg, and to settle in during the weekend I guess you might say. We began our full week in St. Petersburg with a collaborative joint workshop at Steiglitz Academy, with the theme of creating an abstract artwork in one day, as a group. In total more than 20 students took part. The first one day intense workshop was created by our Russian colleagues Sergey Helmianov, and Vikenty Gryaznov. The exact theme was determined by each student group, based on a brief as follows  “Abstract dynamic form sculpture, with a descriptive theme of your choice.”. The groups did not know each other before the day began, and language barriers meant that communication was not easy but somehow they pulled off some very interesting and exciting work within the space of just that day. A winning project was chosen, and prizes of a signed model minibus (the designer works at the academy!) were presented. Classroom PanoramaLater that week our own teachers would set another 1 day workshop, created by vehicle design teacher Lee Walton. This time new mixed groups were formed to collaboratively work to design four different car designs for a future Hyundai Solaris. What is a Solaris, and why did we choose Hyundai? Well, midweek we had the pleasure of a factory tour at the St Petersburg Hyundai manufacturing plant, where a Russian build Hyundai Solaris car is built. This was invaluable research and experience for vehicle design students and inspired the topic of the vehicle design workshop. The broader theme was an exploration of differing styles of design. Four groups were created, with two groups exploring more traditional vehicle design practices while the rival groups worked on a more radical design philosophy. The one-day workshop created a lot of discussion, and again very impressive results. We ended our truly enjoyable visit with a sociable evening and we all felt we had made some genuine friends over in Russia. Lahti Vehicle Design department and St Petersburg are forming a close relationship for the long-term future, and we hope there will be more cooperative projects coming soon.

2015-11-19 11.20.43 2015-11-19 13.00.31 Main Gallery

degree show news press

STANCE 15 – Vehicle Design Degree Show

On the evening of June 1st 2015, we welcomed a small number of selected VIP guests, to our exclusive designers preview night for Lahti Institute of Design’s Vehicle Design graduation works in Helsinki Finland. The Finnish car design community was well represented, along with our students and graduates. We made a special effort to thank the movers and the shakers, the people that have worked hard for more than 10 years to lay the foundations for our current Vehicle Design course. Our event was part of a larger Institute of Design exhibition, which we also took part in on the following day at Kattilahalli, an ex-power station hall in Finland’s capital, Helsinki.
2015-06-02 10.05.55

2015 is our inaugural graduation year, and after four years studying and practising professional vehicle design, we were very proud to present our group of pioneering graduates. They displayed wide-ranging design proposals based on their own independent research. More images of their projects will follow this blog post very soon.


Mercedes-Benz Quantum

2015 is the year that our first Vehicle Design students will graduate. Vehicle Design has always been part of our curriculum here, but 4 years ago we began teaching it as a full time Bachelors level degree. After 4 years our students reach a high level of competence, and to showcase their skills they collaborated on a project led by a professional car designer. The project gained recognition in the automotive design world, being featured on Auto&Design Facebook page and kickstarting a lot of local press attention too.

Our student’s brief was to create a new benchmark for a premium electric vehicle segment in the year 2025. It was to be branded Mercedes-Benz.
After three intensive months of design studies and weekly concept development stages, here is the final design.



The story of the design is shown at Behance, or in the following gallery.


Article about our visiting lecturer // Miika Heikkinen

Click the picture for full article (in Finnish only).


Miika Heikkinen on automuotoilun uusi lupaus.

Toyota concept sketches at Toyota Plus -Magazine // Antti Laukkanen 3rd year student

Our 3rd year student Antti Laukkanen made Toyota concept sketches for Toyota Plus -magazine.

TOYOTA_Antti LaukkanenAntti Laukkanen 2013

Antti_Laukkanen_toyota concept_1Antti Laukkanen 2013

The article is titled “Autot- muotoilun kunigaslaji”

Read Toyota Plus -Magazine here


Visiting Geneva Motor Show 2013

Geneva 2013

The flight tickets we purchased in November have been burning in our pockets and now at last we are sitting at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, ready for the departure to Geneva Motor Show.
The upcoming trip is the first tangible contact with the future profession for the five vehicle design students sitting in the narrow seats of the plane .
After leaving the luggage to the hotel we had a quick lunch. Now we stand in front of a large building, which has “ARENA” written on its wall with walloping letters next to a big sign stating that the 83rd Geneve Motor Show is exhibited inside.
After a long walk, past the exhibition of spare parts and whatnots and through long corridors, a giant hall dazzles us with its hundreds of cars that reflect the sparkles coming from thousands of bright spotlights in the ceiling. The moment is breathtaking. This is what we have been waiting for. And for a good reason.

The first section is Fisker, a hybrid made in Finland. Cars are in their private stalls, which are surrounded by a low fence made of glass and a gate. The cars are visible, but out of reach. Apparently our puzzlement is still strong, as we march directly to the gatekeeper and ask to get a closer look at the cars. Whether it be our Finnish accent, our distinguished looks or our bold attitude, the gates open immediately and a friendly demonstrator guides us to have a closer look at the first Fisker Karma. After a thorough inspection of the Fisker, we move on to the next department, where we found that entry to these stalls is not a foregone conclusion. Next came one of the smaller Italian car makers, which had a slightly more morose bouncer than we had gotten used to. A closer inspection of the Ferraris was not meant for us this year.
8 hours flew by faster than you can say “Jack Robinson and a Bentley”. One can see and experience a lot in a day, but so much was left unseen. Luckily we had reserved two days for the exhibition. In the evening we went to central Geneva to dine in an Indian restaurant, and then headed back to the hotel for a good night‘s sleep. The eager anticipation of the following day made us dream of Rolls Royces and Aston Martins, but hey we’ve all had those dreams, aye?

After our car filled dreams we head on to the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Over a cup of espresso we talk about the cars we had already seen, the cars we had missed and the cars that had to be seen again. The latter included multiple super cars such as the McLaren P1, Lamborghini Veneno and Koenigsegg “Hundra” and a few concepts, especially Kia’s new Provo which we regarded as one of the most interesting.

The hotels mini-bus, driven by Miguel from Spain, briskly left the parking lot and in an instant we were on the road to the Motor Show. The ride took us no more than ten minutes, half of the time we once again spent walking through the exhibition of spare parts and whatnots towards the light. I remember pondering that now that we have seen it, there might not be anything left to astonish us.
Boy o boy was I wrong! Since today was Friday, the amount of visitors had doubled since yesterday and hullabaloo was inevitable. Now that the beautiful light pollution shining from the brightly waxed cars was complemented with a ripple of conversation and frequent roars from the audience, we felt that the atmosphere was … well indescribable. This time we dived into the crowd like old stagers. All of us headed in different directions according to our personal interests.
A rendezvous was set at one of the exhibitions restaurants, where we ate a delicious lunch and talked about the most interesting cars we’d seen. Topics ranged from Fisker Karmas solar panel roof to Toyotas peculiar tricycle looking vehicle. Of course we discussed about which cars we had sat in and which cars had the most comfortable and ergonomic interiors. Some of the less exciting smaller cars, which were already in the market, presented us an opportunity to sit back and relax as an offset to the feet consuming pilgrimage. You’ll get the picture if you imagine yourself relaxing in the driver’s seat of an Audi S8, while there is a 10 meter long queue eagerly waiting to have a brief moment behind the wheel that you are so longingly caressing .


We were tired but happy as we entered our carriage which was taking us back to the hotel, where we freshened up and apportioned our treasures (a thick stack of brochures). After freshening up we were ready for a dinner and some partying.
Food was awesome as was the party!

Our return flight was scheduled for the evening, leaving us a full day to explore the vernal Geneva. We spend the day shopping and walking by the beautiful Lake Geneva. At 19.00 we were once again airborne and the return to the arctic would be an inescapable fact. All together the excursion was swift but very rewarding and educational.



Vehicle Designer interview

Joonas vartola

JOONAS VARTOLA, graduated from Industrial Design in 2006. Graduated from Royal College of Art Vehicle Design in 2009. Specialized in vehicle design

What do you do for a living?

-I’m a vehicle designer at Tesla Motors in Los Angeles. Tesla designs, manufactures and sells premium class electric cars. My main areas of responsibility include exterior and interior design. As we have a small team, I also focus on components to an extent.

Why did you choose this specific field?

-We didn’t engage in designing cars so much in Lahti, but previous graduates from the Institute of Design influenced my decision to get involved. Vehicle design is the most comprehensive and challenging form of industrial design that I know. So many elements need to be considered when designing a car, such as the interior, exterior, details, driveability, appeal, duration, price, aerodynamics, multifunctional interiors… Cars have fascinated me since I was small, but I’m not a car fanatic and can’t even fix one.

What inspires you as a designer?

-I am a passionate follower of minimalism. I get incredibly excited about new structures, and natural forms are an endless source of inspiration to me. I love to draw – it is one of the reasons I chose to specialise in vehicle design, as most of the work is carried out by drawing or sculpting surfaces, textures and outlines. An exterior of a car always aims for perfection.


Student interview

kalle_keituri_mercedes concept


Vehicle design is probably the dream job for many little and slightly bigger boys. Why did you become interested in the field?

-I’ve been drawing cars since preschool, and started fixingcars already before I was old enough to get a driving license. Gradually, I became interested in the overall design of cars. I can’t really even think of another field I’d like to work in and which I’d be so enthusiastic about. Vehicle Design is a new major degree programme at the Institute of Design.

Have you enjoyed it?

-Designers who have graduated from Industrial Design have been employed by the vehicle industry already before, so I had high expectations about the programme. And I can say that I haven’t been disappointed. I enjoy the studies, and the teachers are good and up-to-date with changes in the sector. The atmosphere in our class is excellent, and everyone is motivated. The sector is very competitive.

How can one succeed?

-It’s hard to say at this stage. However, I believe that studying at Lahti Institute of Design provides adequate skills for future employment needs. The rest is up to yourself.

Your dream employer?


2018 update: Kalle graduated in 2015, and continued his studies at the RCA London, Vehicle Design Masters course, and in 2017 he began his automotive design career at Rolls Royce Motor Cars, UK design studio, which incidentally is owned by BMW! Dream achieved.




This blog is about the events, projects and pictures from Vehicle Design studies.

Logo 3D print from Shapeways.