Expert of the Week: Aleksi Rastas – “Think BIG and LOCAL”
Solved’s Expert of the Week Aleksi Rastas is a founder and the managing partner of future-oriented design agency MUUAN. His passion is to design socially, ecologically and economically sustainable life from small-scale to large-scale projects.
“I want to look into the future and understand the ‘change’ it brings. This enables possibilities to co-create with different people and work with complex problems and also elaborate my abilities to solve those tasks. I am a curious, multi-dimensional and ingenious person who is trying to be updated all the time. Every day I see new challenges that I would like to see solved. Looking into the future is fun as well.”
MUUAN is driven by the passion for designing and enormous interest on our mutual environment and the life in it – now and in the future. Their design is a combination of traditional Scandinavian rationalism and latest design and manufacturing methods, humanity and technology, everyday architecture and festive experiences.
“I see the role of an architect and more importantly the role of an architect office completely different than we are used to. For example, my company MUUAN is a design office since we do something that people are not used to when it comes to designing ‘built-environment’. We work with brand-building, targeted housing and develop products for the building industry, just to mention. In a way, I am trying to change the thinking when it comes to the ‘power of architecture’. I see that there’s coming a new renaissance. This motives me a lot.”
Aleksi has worked in various private architecture offices and participated in large-scale urban projects and ambitious building design tasks from shopping centers to metro stations. He says that architecture is a wide field and there are many ways to be great.
“We need both, specialists and generalists. My expertise flourishes from MUUAN’s expertise which is built on the great projects that we’ve been part of, MUUAN’s ability to look into the future, and humble people we work with. We want to embrace co-creation and collaboration and achieve greatness.”
Aleksi hopes that the era, when consultants – especially architects – sat in dark chambers and thought that they’re doing the ‘right thing’ is hopefully over. Or at least, I am not interested in being part of that culture, he says. Being great means being open, transparent and co-creating – from top-down to bottom-up.
“Think BIG and LOCAL. Lately, I’ve been lucky to work with many different cities and municipalities, but I am concerned that many of these unique places want to be something else or ‘someone else’. Why? In Europe, for instance, we have 115 000 municipalities and they all try to attract the same big target groups, ‘dwellers’ and ‘visitors’. This includes all stakeholders form residents to investments and from companies to tourists. The ultimate purpose of our branding work is to develop multi-dimensional, multi-sensuous and identifiable entities from areas, buildings, spaces and products that provide a basis for the natural use of space and the user’s positive experience. Brand-building is a significant part of a variety of development projects where the aim of the project is to achieve uniqueness and competitive advantages.”