collaboration news

Robot concepts // company collaboration, Probot Oy, Creanorth Oy

In fall 2013, for students in the Department of Vehicle Design at Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts was arranged a course in international design management, combined with a customer project in order to gain more practical reflection and experience.

The knowledge gained from the lectures of the international design management were put into practice in an exercise of concepting, designing and visualizing the use for robots provided by the customer, Probot Oy. The target markets for the designs were found all around the world, for example at Venice Beach in California as well as in Hong Kong and the Seychelles Islands.

The designed use for robots included for example gardening, beach sand cleaning, riot control, security enforcement and multipurpose cleaning solutions.

– Jarmo Lehtonen, Creanorth Oy

gardenbot_Pekka Puhakka
Garden bot concept, Pekka Puhakka
2014 Beach Cleaner concept, Olli Seppälä
Probot Venice, Beach Cleaner, Kalle Keituri, 2014
Riot patrol unit_SamiKallamaki_v2
Riot Patrol Unit, Sami Kallamäki, 2014
Riot patrol_Markus Niininen
Riot Patrol Concept, Markus Niininen, 2014
Beach Cleaner Concept, Viljami Räisänen, 2014

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.