Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2013 - Page 60

Designing Success Lab Power M ore and more, companies are integrating design into their activities. Lahtibased designer Tapio Anttila says that companies in the region have been among the first to embrace design and fully explore the possibilities therein. Anttila also points out that Lahti was a very committed participant of the World Design Capital 2012: “Lahti gave a very well balanced programme and did very well,” he feels, adding that the importance of design is already understood in the region and its role will only grow in the years to come. Anttila notes that encompassing design in industrial functions is a long-term project. In Lahti, however, the ground work has been laid decades ago and designers can find local companies that are receptive to their ideas. “For a designer, Lahti is a great place – there are strong networks and opportunities for collaboration here,” says Anttila whose design projects have garnered also international attention. Anttila points out that Lahti itself is an international city – if he wants to go to, say, Milan to meet colleagues, the international airport is an hour’s drive away. Anttila’s repertoire includes interior design regardless of the scale. In 2012, Anttila won the national Furniture Designer of the Year honours. He launched his own company in 2005 and has clearly enjoyed himself: “In Lahti, it is very helpful that everyday life rolls so smoothly – there are no traffic jams, all the services are nearby and there are great outdoor activities,” he lists. R amboll Analytics is another player that has found Lahti to be a very attractive combination. Ramboll’s environmental laboratory – the biggest in the land – is located here. Pentti Manninen, Director of Water and Environmental Division at Ramboll, says that Lahti is a great base for operations. “Pretty much everything is within a two hour drive, so we can go on location to do some research and get home the same day,” he offers an example. Ramboll Analytics has thrived in Lahti, with about 90 people working for the company right now. The laboratory – with almost 2,000 square metres of space – is in fine form and business is booming. “We have been able to enjoy steady growth, even during the recent years, when the economy has been troubled,” Manninen says. Lahti has proven to be a great match for Ramboll, partly due to the city’s long traditions in laboratory activities. Still, there’s room for more: Manninen is hoping for players from the same field to establish operations in the region. “That way, we would get even more opportunities for networking and various collaboration projects.” www.ramboll-analytics.fi www.tapioanttila.com There are plans to build 105,000 floor square metres of business and office space here, with 22,000 floor square metres reserved for services. In total, the area could feature development to the tune of 332,000 floor square metres. Myllyvirta says that the ideas from the winning entry – as well as others, too – will be utilised in the making of the zoning plan. “We welcome all ideas since this is a truly historic opportunity for the whole community and we want to get it right the first time.” Action All Around Another thing that Lahti is keen on is developing tourism. New kinds of services are in the works along the Lake Vesijärvi, for example. Teivaanmäki and Mukkula are among the key areas for development and the Skiing World Championships – hosted in Lahti in 2017 – are sure to peak the interest level. Myllyvirta points out that Lahti has a long history as “Event City” and very much wants to stay that way: “For any successful city, high-profile activities are key in increasing the appeal of the community.” 58 Nordicum Lahti Fast Facts inhabitants in the city, 200,000 in the Lahti Region well-being Harbour and international airport 48 minutes leisure LADEC Lahti Development Company LADEC provides comprehensive services to support businesses locating to Lahti. www.ladec.fi, miika.laakso@ladec.fi