Alvar Aalto Week in Kouvola offers a diverse programme for culture fans of all ages

This year’s Alvar Aalto Week is August 14–22, 2021. It´s theme Kouvola – yhtä Aaltoa looks forward to a culture-packed programme spanning architecture, design, visual art, music and dance in interdisciplinary spirit. The Week offers live experiences and workshops for all ages, not forgetting culinary delights. Between events you can enjoy a cup of the Alvar Aalto Week’s own tea or coffee.

“We in Kouvola look forward to Alvar Aalto Week being a diverse cultural festival, not only showcasing Alvar Aalto’s production, but also giving a wide-ranging view of the local architecture and our tourist sights,” says City of Kouvola PR-Relations Manager Anne Käki. “We hope the events spread around the city will attract city residents, people from nearby, and also tourists,” she adds.

Wide-ranging programme with events for all tastes

One aim of Alvar Aalto Week is to turn the gaze onto the local built environment and rich industrial heritage, and to bring them to life for city dwellers and those living nearby.

“Alvar Aalto Week is now being celebrated for the fifth time. It is already a tradition and tours each Alvar Aalto city in turn, with programmes springing from the distinctive features of each host city, as is evident each year in a different cultural festival,” says Alvar Aalto Foundation Programme Manager Nina Heikkonen.

Some of this year’s events are, of course, linked to the paper mill and adjoining residential area, Tehtaanmäki Primary School, and the Karhunkangas district of single-family homes, all designed by Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) and built in Inkeroinen, Kouvola, in 1937–56. The history of the locality serves as an inspiration for a range of different guided tours and lectures. The walking and cycling tours Ankkapurhasta Alvar Aaltoon pull back the curtain on the 150-year-old factory village and the Alvar Aalto-designed buildings. The Alvarismin Aalloilla lecture and walking tour invites us to join architect Heikki Lonka and Professor Kirsti Lonka to hear about everyday life in Aalto’s architect’s office and the themes underlying its design work. The architect Tapani Mustonen’s lecture takes us into the renovation of Alvar Aalto’s buildings.

Various art exhibitions cast their spell in Ankkapurha Culture Park and at Kuusankosken taideruukki. You can see Alvar Aalto’s reliefs and bentwood objects from Pertti Männistö’s collection in the Kuusankoskitalo building, and view design students’ works on the campus of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk). The English-language webinar The Building as an Educator is accompanied by a three-part event, Tehdes – Tehtaanmäki Design, which explores the school building and related pedagogical themes. The other rest of the event is in Finnish.

Alvar Aalto Week’s international offering is designer Emery Norton’s The table with three legs – lecture performance, which spurs us to explore the playful side of the designer’s work. The Tanssia Aallon jäljillä performance interprets Aalto’s architecture through the medium of movement.

One of the week’s highpoints is a screening of the popular film Aalto directed by Virpi Suutari, after which the director will talk about her work and answer audience questions. The music experiences in this week of events are supplied, for instance, by the INKJAZZ concert, at which we will hear well-known artists in the splendid Ankkapurha Industrial Museum, and Kymen Biisiuittamo’s concert Kosketar Virran rannalla at Kouvolankylän Jokituvat.

Alvar Aalto Week thus promises a sumptuous cocktail of events. See the full programme in Finnish here.
Follow the latest news about the week of events at Alvar Aalto Week´s facebook page.

Kouvola is 2021 Chair of the international Network of Alvar Aalto Cities, and Alvar Aalto Week is the main event in the Network’s collaboration. In charge of arrangements on this occasion is the City of Kouvola, together with the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the numerous event arrangers. 

We will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation and official recommendations with regard to events and visitor restrictions, and will react to any directives as required.

Further information:
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Programme Manager Nina Heikkonen
+358 (0)44 500 1257

Producer Mira Caselius
+358 (0)40 7766 931

City of Kouvola
PR-Relations Manager Anne Anne Käki
+358 (0)40 749 1340

Top Photo:
Single-family Houses in Mäntyrinne, Inkeroinen, Kouvola. Photo Maija Holma © Alvar Aalto Foundation.