Arctic Design

The main purpose of the Arctic Design Cluster is to make local businesses, products and services nationally and internationally competitive by utilising the knowledge from research, art and design specialisation. The cluster brings together expertise on arctic conditions, culture and knowledge on materials and aspires to resolve the challenges of sparsely populated area. At the heart of the cluster is Arctic Design Centre where the businesses, science and art meet.

The Arctic Design Centre of Expertise, created by the faculty of art at the University of Lapland, promotes cooperation between the local businesses, educational institutions, the city of Rovaniemi and regional development organisations. At the centre of expertise small design enterprises can create and test their prototypes with the new technologies developed by the university and get access to the exhibition spaces. The Arctic Design Centre can boost the innovation of new products and re-design of mature ones.

The Arctic Design Cluster has a vision to become a world leader in artic design research by 2020. The goal of this research is a deep understanding of the arctic environment, everyday life, minority cultures and heritage. Furthermore, the research aims at making the arctic environment more visible in the choices of materials and type of the design. At the end, research problems are becoming more complex and more holistic view of different research disciplines is needed. The multi-disciplinary research team can utilise the design research in an all-rounded manner.

The Arctic Design Cluster aims at being part of at least 15 potential synergy and collaboration projects by the year 2020. Leaders of the next cluster projects shall be global enterprises surrounded by consortiums with high level researchers and businesses. Attractiveness for business involvement rises from the bright ideas, high quality research and other companies with investment capabilities.

The backbone of the cluster is formed by the research of arctic designing including: service design, product design, interaction design and applied visual arts.

Service design develops new service concepts, expands expertise and supply quality of services in close cooperation with local, national and international businesses and the public sector. Service design produces award-winning and internationally esteemed research, as well as creative activities and service concepts of a high quality.

Product design innovates international cutting-edge products that are individualised and ready for production. Product design utilises 3D models and physical prototypes of high quality conveying the design vision and expertise. Product design prototypes enable the testing and development of new product ideas, evaluation of the products by consumers and communicating the innovations to larger audiences.

Interaction design creates practical and innovative interfaces for physical and digital products, product concepts and services. It combines international cutting edge research, participatory methods and design expertise from different fields.

Applied visual arts combines participatory environmental art to service design in ways that are culturally sensitive, attractive for tourists and take into account expertise in Arctic conditions.

Cluster Manager Satu Miettinen


2017 – 2020

  • Linking the Arctic design cluster internationally
  • European cluster co-elaboration
  • Finding the answers to societal needs in the Arctic Area
  • Accelerating design driven entrepreneurs
    in the region
  • Support innovative start-ups
  • Create fast prototypes in development environments
  • Contribute to the Academic arena by publishing research papers based on Arctic Design.