How did a Master’s thesis discussing plywood fit into the MoA show?
The new product, UPM Grada, which has been designed for such uses as furniture industry, is like ordinary plywood but easier to shape. The veneers have been put together using a new type of glue joint, which means that when heated the product can be bent into desired shapes. The new product is also more resistant to moisture than ordinary plywood.
Maija Liiri’s work is one of almost one hundred other theses on show at MoA’12. Masters of Aalto, which is founded on the traditions of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, has grown into an event encompassing the entire Aalto University. This year’s MoA is the first show where future masters of business and technology are also presenting their theses.
Liiri is emphatic that she has not felt as an outsider among the graduates of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. On the contrary: she encourages all technology students at Aalto University to make a bold move and apply for a stand at next year’s MoA.
“Presenting your own thesis in a big exhibition and event has been exciting and interesting. We were given a fairly free hand to decide how to present our theses even though help was always available.”
According to Maija Liiri, the MoA’12 event has been a positive experience in every way. Many of the visitors have shown interest in Liiri’s thesis and have come to talk to her. Liiri has met leaders of school groups, journalists and ordinary people who have come to the event out of curiosity.
Inspired by a lecture
Maija Liiri hit on the topic of her thesis on a course where the CEO of UPM was giving a visiting lecture. Liiri heard that UPM is launching a new plywood product. She wanted to know more and realised that the product could be an interesting topic for her Master’s thesis.
“I felt lucky because my dream had come true. The best thing about writing the thesis was that I was able examine a new innovation. I was able to see the whole product development process.”
UPM Grada plywood has already been used in chairs made by Isku. According to UPM, the positive publicity resulting from Liiri’s thesis has also prompted other contacts requesting more information about the product. Maija Liiri is still interested in working with UPM Grada even though she has already found work elsewhere.
maija.liiri [at] gmail [dot] com