People -Helsinki/Beirut 2014

Faculty responsible:

Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Researcher / Project manager

Andrea Botero Cabrera, Researcher / Project manager

Teemu Leinonen Teemu Leinonen, Professor

Assistants and Field trip Coordinators (2013/2014)


nina Nina Martin (Student ARTS) – (learn more…)

anna Anna Asikainen (student BIZ) – (learn more…)

Contact Partners in Lebanon

The MENA Design Research Center is a non-profit organization based in Beirut, Lebanon. Founded by Doreen Toutikian and Maya Karanouh in 2010, it developed from a company CSR and ThinkTank to one the region’s design research institutions. In 2012, the center initiated and organized the first Beirut Design Week, which set a new standard for Beirut as the Design Capital of the Middle East & North Africa.

The creative process involved in problem solving -whether in communications, products, systems or services- can be applied to a varied scale of disciplines and fields. The MENA Design Research Center promotes this diverse understanding of design thinking through the implementation of design research and collaborative multidisciplinary projects in the region.

The MENA Design Research Center is incubated by TAGbrands, a regional branding consultancy.

AltCity is a Lebanease  social impact venture designed from the bottom up to help facilitate, mobilize, encourage, and support high impact entrepreneurship and innovation in Lebanon and the region. AltCity believes in a world where all people — regardless of their location, financial resources, or passport — have the opportunity to make and do amazing things, challenge themselves, and improve the world we live in. AltCity enables and supports a strong and dynamic social innovation and social entrepreneurship community – both locally and globally – especially around core themes of media, technology, and design.

Lamba Labs Beirut Hackerspace (LLBH) is an interdisciplinary collaboration between hardware/software developers, tinkerers, makers, artists, all people who like to build stuff. LLBH aims to provide an open, accessible community space focused on the sharing of knowledge and hands on learning. All skill levels, from beginner to expert are welcome to experiment, develop and innovate in a climate conducive to the spread of know-how in the fields of technology, art and science.

The space is managed and funded by the community with the purpose to facilitate the sharing of skills, and to contain specialized tools and expertise together in a single location. Lamba Labs were first hosted in the Mar Mkhayel region in the heart Beirut at Karaj Beirut – a new media and technology space by LittleBits founder and MIT graduate Ayah Bdeir. Currently LLHB space is in “hibernation” due to the loss of its physical venue as well as the temporary relocation of its core members.

Students (2013)

Kangur Kätlin (Aalto ARTS)

Karilainen Hanna (Aalto TKK)

10189eaKazantsev Alexander (Aalto ARTS)

During the NMTS class I will look into housing communities made for and by senior citizens. The objective is to compare positive community co-design experience on examples seen in Helsinki and Stockholm with main state proposal of elderly care. Another stage is to see the place of LGBT-seniors in the system. My earlier works, personal details, links to LinkedIn, Facebook and mail are in here:

Lee Lisa (Aalto ARTS)

Mohseninia Pouyan (Aalto ARTS)

AndreasPattichisPattichis Andreas (Aalto ARTS)

Andreas’ portfolio:

and LinkedIn page:

Puustinen Merja (Aalto BIZ)

Roongta Akshay (Aalto ARTS)

Akshay was trained as an industrial designer, but has worked in the roles of design researcher and project manager for the last 3 years with Quicksand Design Studio based out of Delhi, India. He has worked on development projects in the areas of sanitation and hygiene for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More recently, he has co-founded a startup working in the area of clean drinking water and waste management in Urban india. He is deeply interested in social entrepreneurship, behavior change, development practice and citizen activism.

Saarinen Vesa (Aalto ARTS)

I’m Vesa Saarinen, a 32-year-old M.Soc.Sc. in Sociology and a MA student in New Media. I’m a professional in  organizational communications: I currently work as the Manager of Communications of a Finnish NGO of 7000 members. I’m interested in popularizing political/scientific issues using new media and in the sociology of information society. Some additional information: and

picKTTelfser Katharina (Aalto BIZ)

I am a 1st year Master’s student in Creative Sustainability with a background in International Business and Foreign Language studies. I am from a beautiful region in the Alps of Northern Italy where half of the population  (including myself) speak German as a first language. I have lived and studied in Italy, France, UK and Finland and am a passionate traveler who enjoys experiencing and trying to understand different cultures and values and learn from them. In the last years I have developed an interest for social entrepreneurship and sustainable development that got even stronger after an internship with a consultant for sustainable development in sunny Barcelona. In November, a short trip to Palestine and Israel awakened my interest in the Middle-East and I hope that working on this project with Lebanon will allow me to learn more about the region and how to unleash its potential.

thomasThibault Thomas (Aalto ARTS)

I’m Thomas Thibault, designer from Paris where I had my MA. I work for 2years as a designer for the Fing, a think tank about the new digital uses. I created recently the Collectif Bam, a group of designers working on tools, services, products based on collaborative practices.
I’m interested in the peer-to-peer exchanges, the questions of democracy and education and of course the role of the design in these issues.
Website :
twitter :

Uusitalo Laura (Aalto ARTS)

I’ve graduated as a fine artist. After a few years of practicing the profession I ended up working in different roles in artist’s associations in Helsinki. Since my first education I have also studied graphic design and have worked several years as a freelancer. I have worked few years in science center Heureka as a project planner in a project about virtual learning environments. For couple of years my personal interest has been in DIY scene in Helsinki and I’ve been active in organizing WÄRK:fest (a local version of a Makers’ Faire) and in a local hackerspace.

imageÅman Pirkka (Aalto ARTS)

Pirkka Åman has worked last fifteen years in various design and media related projects as a researcher, writer and designer. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis on urban music, events and media discovery and recommendation and will graduate in early 2015. He has also Master’s degree from Media and Communication from University of Helsinki. In the context of New media for third sector course, Pirkka is interested in using human-centered design methods and digital media for developing services and operational models for urban development and smart cities.