Roses and Totoros on the site fence around Kasarmitori – Jani Tolin’s work represents the phases of the construction site

YIT CORPORATION, Press Release, June 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

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Street artist Jani Tolin combines contemporary art with graffiti art in the work that spans a 45-metre fence at the Kasarmitori square in Helsinki. The fence borders the construction site of a new office property at Kasarmikatu 21 in Kaartinkaupunki. The block used to house the City of Helsinki Public Works department.  

The work of art on the site fence can be read from left to right, like a piece of writing. My work represents the phases of the construction project. It begins with plain, abstract forms that gradually take the shape of humans. Similarly, a construction site starts with building supplies and materials that are used for constructing the property that will, once completed, house people and with them, life, artist Jani Tolin describes his work.  

It is not common to order a piece of art—street art, in particular—to a site fence in Finland.  

“Kasarmikatu 21 is in a prime location in central Helsinki. The art-adorned fence allows us to bring the site to life and make the everyday life of residents and passers-by more colourful and joyful”, Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications at YIT points out. 

Enhancing the visual appeal of Kasarmitori and Kaartinkaupunki was one of the most important goals of this construction project. We decided to work towards this goal already at the construction phase and enliven this distinguished neighbourhood with art. In our opinion, street art is the best way to represent the changing and living Helsinki”, says Marianne Luojola, Investment Director at HGR Property Partners.  

Something for children

The work ordered for the Kasarmikatu 21 site fence comprises abstract textures and grainy human figures from the 20th century to our times, including pioneering abstract artist Hilma af Klint. Tolin has not forgotten children either. 

Because children often find the machines used at construction sites fascinating, I wanted to include children’s themes in my work, too. The figures from the Totoro animated film have high ethical standards, which made them seem suitable for this work”, Tolin says.  

Jani Tolin is a self-taught street artist from Helsinki (born in 1974). He painted his first graffiti in the 1980s, and he won the Finnish Graffiti Championships in 1990. He has featured in international exhibitions in Stockholm, Barcelona and New York, and his works have been on display in, for example, Kiasma in Helsinki.  

Art makes neighbourhoods more attractive

The fence at Kasarmikatu 21 is in line with YIT’s other art-related projects. Art gives neighbourhoods their distinct identities and helps create a sense of community. It is no surprise that environmental art has become popular, particularly in spatial planning.  

Examples of YIT’s art projects:  

- YIT collected ideas for the Merrasjärvi regional art concept with a contest in spring 2015. Five artists or collectives were invited to participate and given the task of developing an art concept that spanned the entire area. The jury was unanimous in its decision and selected Zimmer Oy’s Lintukoto (“Paradise”) as the winner. In Zimmer’s concept, the art works are a visible element of the environment. 

- The 2015 Finnish Graffiti Championships were held at the Konepaja construction site in Helsinki. YIT built the wall used in the competition, thanks to which the finals could be held in Vallila in central Helsinki. 

- Kruununvuorenranta in Helsinki will be the neighbourhood of light. The street between housing companies Helsingin Loggia and Helsingin Lorentz on Lorentzinkuja is adorned with pieces of text and poetry that are projected onto the pavement. The light art is designed and executed by artist Jaakko Niemelä and poet Henriikka Tavi. The designer of the light art for Helsingin Gunilla is Antti Hiltunen and for Helsingin Viklo Kari Alonen. Both of these housing companies are located in Kruunuvuorenranta. 

- Spiraali (“Spiral”) by Pertti Metsälampi is located on the wall of YIT’s Puuhakivi housing company in Kivistö, Vantaa. 

- There is a house bearing fish motifs by graphic designer Aimo Katajamäki in Ulappatori, Espoo. The fish cover the graphic concrete exteriors of the house.  

- In Penttilänranta, Joensuu, art blends into the buildings and the environment at large. The first work of art completed in the district is Joet (“Rivers”), made from sunken logs and recycled glass by Pekka Paikkari. It is a well-received work of art that extends from the facade of the building constructed by YIT all the way into the apartments. 

Kasarmikatu 21

- The developers of the office property are Ahlström Capital, HGR Property Partners and YIT. 

- The building has seven floors and more than 16,000 square metres of office space. 

- Workstations for up to a thousand employees. 

- The first confirmed tenant is law firm Roschier.

 - The employment effect of the project is estimated to reach 400 person-years. 

- The property is designed by SARC Architects, with Antti-Matti Siikala as the leading architect. 

- Due for completion by the end of 2017. 

- The requirements of the LEED Platinum environmental certificate are taken into account in the construction. 

- Photographs and background material 

- HGR Property Partners, Riitta Heikkuri, / +358 (0)40 521 5179 

- Follow the project on social media:  

- Facebook: Kasarmikatu 21 

- Instagram: @Kasarmikatu21 

- #Kasarmikatu21 

For further information, please contact:

Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 40 561 6568, 

Marianne Luojola, Investment Director, HGR Property Partners, tel. +358 (0)40 570 5183,

Artist Jani Tolin, puh. 050 541 6676,

Photographs and background material 

HGR Property Partners, Riitta Heikkuri, tel. +358 (0)40 521 5179,  

YIT is a construction industry leader that creates sustainable urban environments by constructing housing, business premises, infrastructure and entire areas. We focus on providing a first-class customer experience, high quality and continuous development of our diverse expertise. Our operating area covers Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Our vision is to stay one step ahead – while caring for our customers, partners and personnel. We have over 5,300 employees in eight countries. In 2015, our revenue amounted to nearly EUR 1.7 billion. Our share is listed on Nasdaq OMX Helsinki.