At seven metres tall and 25 metres long, the glowing red slide, entitled Liuku, invites visitors to Messukeskus to spend time and have fun. The idea for the artwork goes back a hundred years, when the first trade fair visitors were greeted with a slide.
The work was designed by Berry Creative, with Kaisa Berry and Timo Berry acting as the chief designer and creative director of the project. In developing their initial ideas, the Berry creative team studied the landscape of Messuaukio square, the history of the fairs held at Messukeskus and the idea of fairs as enjoyable encounters.
“The idea of a slide as an artwork takes people by surprise and encourages adventurousness. We hope the slide will delight visitors to Messukeskus and attract townspeople to Pasila to try it out. People need to experience this for themselves!”, say the Berrys.
“Helsinki is now growing rapidly. Amid the development of new regions, it’s important that we don’t forget the true purpose of urban space – to create a safe, functional and inspiring framework for good urban living. Play, creativity, surprise and a bit of a rough edge are key elements of this. Public works like slides are an important part of building the identity of Helsinki and open, free places for the enjoyment of all,” says the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori.
The work is in Messuaukio square, at the corner of the Messukeskus hotel and Restaurant Platta, which opened in the spring of 2019. There is a stairway leading to the top of the slide, and visitors are also welcome to spend time sitting on the stairway. Those daring to take the plunge have a thrilling ride to ground level in store for them. The placement of the work takes account of traffic in the square and is in harmony with the surrounding cityscape. The safety of the slide for children has also been tested and ensured.
An impressive landmark illuminating Messuaukio square all year round
The main material of the work is cross-glued solid wood, a sustainable material. The roof is made from translucent polycarbonate, which creates an exciting red glow inside the piece. The LED lights attached to the work also give the work a glow during the dark periods of the year.
The Messukeskus story began with the founding of the Suomen Messut Osuuskunta cooperative on 19 October 1919 to promote Finnish business. The Liuku artwork is a gift by the Suomen Messusäätiö foundation to Messukeskus in honour of its centenary.
“The unveiling of the Liuku artwork is the culmination of our centennial celebrations, which have taken place throughout the year with our customers through the renewal of the facilities, celebrations, competitions and various campaigns. We would like to thank the foundation for this donation, which is a welcome addition to the Helsinki cityscape. The work is easily approachable, so it can be enjoyed both by visitors to the convention centre and passers-by,” says Messukeskus CEO Anni Vepsäläinen.
The Liuku artwork can be seen and tried in the street-level area of Messukeskus (Messuaukio 1) from 22 October 2019.
Messukeskus contributes to the Finnish economy by enabling successful face-to-face interaction at trade fairs, meetings, congresses and other events. Trade fairs are the seventh-largest media in Finland and the most effective, sociable and experiential of all media forms. Every year, Messukeskus organises approximately 65 fair events and 1,500 meetings and congresses, with a total of around 1.2 million visitors. The foundation that owns Messukeskus, Suomen Messut Osuuskunta, turned 100 in 2019.
Messukeskus –A century in the centre of events
Messukeskus: Anni Vepsäläinen, CEO, email@example.com
Communications Manager Tarja Gordienko, +358 50 5847 262, firstname.lastname@example.org
www.messukeskus.com, 100.messukeskus.com, Twitter: @Messukeskus