Odds and quads

These are among the approximately 200 chairs on display at the University of Helsinki until the end of the year as part of an exhibition titled Seats of Learning.

October 11, 2012




Part of the celebrations in honour of the city being named this year's World Design Capital, Seats of Learning also commemorates Helsinki's 200 years as the capital of Finland and unites furniture from various university buildings covering almost the entire period.

While some come from the original City Centre Campus built in the early 19th century, many of the most striking items were produced by early 20th-century designers such as Arttu Brummer (1891-1951) or created for Finnish architect Aarne Ervi's dazzling Porthania building, completed in 1957.

Brummer's black benches, for example (above right), incorporate "Egyptian" motifs such as lotus-shaped knobs and lion's-paw legs, and are still in regular use - although when they were first unveiled, students assumed that they must be firewood holders.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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