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Sounds, photographs, light. Three elements are combined to create virtual nature spaces in Metla House, Joensuu. The famous wooden office building has housed innovative solutions since it was built. This time, the aim is to test virtual nature in practice and help budding enterprises find each other.

– This space is not about rushing in and turning the nature on. It is just another office space, but the one where you are exposed to nature and its empowering effects, explains Lauri Sikanen, principal scientist in Luke.

From elements to concepts

Two spaces – or as Sikanen says – virtual nature applications are being planned, one in the lobby and the other in one of the office rooms.
– We combine technology and contents. Together, good technology and content make a concept.

Business concepts are Sikanen’s expertise in the project. The spaces will be build by entrepreneurs after workshops and a tendering process.
– We are bringing companies and experts together. Last week, a Portuguese sound system company and sound scientists of the University of Eastern Finland found each other in our workshop.

Sikanen hopes that new partnerships will create a cluster of virtual nature expertise in Finland.

The next trend?

Sikanen would not be surprised if virtual nature became a trend in interior decoration soon.
– Virtual nature should be included when designing buildings. The user groups are so varied and interesting: hospitals, prisons, schools, to name a few. Even luxury cruisers could take travellers to a virtual tour in places where the ship cannot access.

Concept development and clustering turn the thoughts to export markets. How far is Finland from it?
– Not very far, I would say. It takes the right companies to combine their skills and create a product, which is easy for the customers to use. Iron is hot and things are happening in the field, Sikanen says.

The spaces in Metla House should be ready for testing by the autumn. The feedback will be analysed and used for further development.
– We have already had a lot of inquiries of when the spaces can be visited. Adds pressure to us, Sikanen nods, pleased.

 

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