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Wood and Design


This 6-day workshop Wood and Design in the lush woodlands of Viljandi, Estonia, focuses on the design aesthetics, ecology and sustainability of wood. Exploring the material properties of wood through its use in design, the workshop invites participants to build a set of functional wooden objects for outdoor living with the simplest of means. Participants will utilise wood, as a naturally-occurring renewable material, in two forms: solid slab and left-over scraps from local lumber mills. The workshop is therefore not only community-inspired, with materials sourced or found locally, but also meets the ever-growing need to reclaim and recycle waste wood.
The workshop is designed to include a series of on-site lectures, discussions and supervised hands-on making.
There will be open access to local woodworking facilities throughout the 6-day workshop. A detailed programme will be sent to all participants.
All tools, materials and safety equipment will be provided.

LEARNING OUTCOMES. The participant:
• is able to design site-specific wood objects;
• has woodworking skills that allow the student to produce multiple wooden objects;
• has experienced working in the design team.

The course ends with an oral evaluation by presenting the group work (pass-fail evaluation).


Jüri Kermik is a lecturer and designer with a primary research interest in design history and materials innovation. He teaches, lectures and exhibits internationally, and he currently holds the post of visiting Professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts.
Kermik’s doctoral research at the Royal College of Art, London, focused on the history of plywood technology in furniture design. This research became a basis for his award-winning monograph — A. M. Luther 1877-1940: The Innovation of Form Arising from the Material (2002).

Simo Heikkilä is an interior architect who has contributed significantly to Finnish furniture design and craftsmanship.
He began his career designing retail environments for Marimekko Oy and went on to establish his own design studio in 1971.
Heikkilä has been instrumental in launching the international Alvar Aalto Design Seminars. He has also served as Head of the Wood Studio, affiliated to Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Free (incl accommodation and meals).

EKA Summer Academy of Art, Design and Architecture – Possible Futures” is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Programme structure

Preferred arrivalt to Viljandi county is on Sunday (August 18) evening.
Monday, August 19
Participants are given an overview of the characteristics of Estonian nature and forests. The Nordic approach to forests is introduced. Discussions also cover the meaning of a sustainable way of thinking and the importance for individuals as well as all of society.
Tuesday, August 20
Expedition and material gathering in the neighbourhood of the work area. In cooperation with the supervisors, suitable and inspiring raw materials are selected. Initial searches and development of ideas.
Wednesday, August 21
Prototyping of ideas and modelling on the small scale. Presentation of ideas. Feedback by supervisors and co-students.
Thursday and Friday, August 22–23
Making. Ideas are realised in 1:1 format in the work area and wood workshop.
Saturday, August 24
Final presentation and evaluation of ideas.

9.00 Breakfast. 10.00 1st work session. 12.00 Lunch. 13.00 2nd work session. 15.00 Coffee break. 15.30 3rd work session 18.00 Dinner 19.00 Talks and lectures 21.00 End of day, sauna, etc.

Apply now! Fall semester 2019/20
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Aug 19, 2019

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States