10 000 Years of Design – Man, Matter, Metamorphosis


What is design other than rethinking man’s relationship to the material environment? Where do objects come from? In what ways will objects and the environment change? The new exhibition at the National Museum of Finland challenges us to take a closer look at our relationship to objects and the environment.

Finnish design is built upon thousands of years of knowledge of local natural materials, the climate and the ecosystem, experimentation, innovations and craftsmanship passed on through generations. The exhibition, open to public for four months, showcases inspired design and objects made from traditional Finnish materials from the distant past all the way to the present. Technological inventions and perspectives also play an important part in the exhibition. The collection of objects from different time periods is presented as a dynamic entity in which the past is ever present and continues to influence the future.  

Man–Matter–Metamorphosis is the main theme of the exhibition. The constant interaction between these three elements is how objects come to be. We create, use and give meaning to objects, but we are also in many ways defined by objects. The exhibition provides a kaleidoscopic overview of the material cultural and technological development in Finland. Its detailed and analytical approach offers new and alternative perspectives to the relationship between man, material and objects. The exhibition combines visual elements, soundscapes and video material into a comprehensive experience.  

10 000 Years of Design consists of almost 250 objects, most of which are from the archaeological and ethnological collections of the National Museum of Finland and Finnish Heritage Agency. This exhibition offers a unique perspective on these diverse collections. Also included are objects from other Finnish museums and loans from companies and private collections. The exhibition is conceptualised, curated and designed by architect Florencia Colombo and designer Ville Kokkonen in cooperation with the National Museum of Finland.  

The exhibition publication Man Matter Metamorphosis ‒ 10 000 Years of Design outlines the main themes of the exhibition along with interesting and surprising observations and connections. The publication is in English and can be purchased from the National Museum’s museum shop.  

Man Matter Metamorphosis ‒ 10 000 Years of Design is open to public at the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki from 12 October 2018 to 24 February 2019.  

Man Matter Metamorphosis ‒ 10 000 Years of Design
Florencia Colombo, Ville Kokkonen
The Finnish Heritage Agency 2018, 376 p., bound, ISBN 978-951-616-298-3, The Publications of the National Museum of Finland 16, ISSN 2343-1180. (Kansallismuseon julkaisuja 16)  

Further information
Project Manager Päivi Roivainen, paivi.roivainen@kansallismuseo.fi, tel. +358 295 33 6332
Head of Exhibitions Minerva Keltanen, minerva.keltanen@kansallismuseo.fi, tel. +358 295 336 463  

Media images