Life on a Leaf

Life on a Leaf

The Finnish artist Jan-Erik Andersson’s Gesamtkunstwerk (or ‘Total Art Work’), the leaf shaped house Life on a Leaf, was completed in 2009. The unique house, which functions as a home for Andersson’s family in Turku, was first conceived in 1999. It was planned with architect Erkki Pitkäranta, with whom Andersson has worked for many years under the name Rosegarden Art & Architecture.


The house is the main part of Andersson’s Doctorate in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. In it Andersson imaginatively explores several issues, which address the relationship between art and architecture, and between a house and its surroundings: Can you live in a picture or a sculpture? In which ways can nature be mediated gradually into the house? Can a building based on stories and on representional shapes – like a leaf, a bluebell, and a Brasilian ferry – still be considered as architecture? Why don’t we see more houses shaped like flowers, hats or shoes? Doctoral study


Along with sources like Kurt Schwitters, Le Corbusier, Antoni Gaudi, Bruce Goff, Konstantin Melnikov, Hundertwasser, Archigram and Rem Koolhaas Andersson has also been inspired by the Swedish children’s author, Elsa Beskow, whose tales include houses shaped like hats and umbrellas. One of Andersson’s constant themes during his 30 years as an artist is the investigation and questioning of the border between the colourful and iconic aesthetics constructed by adults for children and the somber seriousness, which usually is related to adult visual culture.

Invited artists

The Life on a Leaf house has inspired a dozen of Andersson’s artist colleagues to make art works and poems, which are incorporated into the building ¬– wall and floor details, a laminated kitchen table top, wall paper, light fixtures, in-floor video work, outdoor tables and benches, environmental planning and a sound installation in a handrail which responds to changes in the wind and light outside. Andersson describes it as a way to have the friends of the family present. It also points to the social and communicative side of the house project. The house is not a sealed private house — it is a place where people with diverse thoughts and aesthetic views can meet and collaborate. Invited artists

Recycled interior and IKEA

This is also reflected in the interior design. Modernist elements such as the six meters high curved white walls are combined with strongly ornate floors, kitchen cupboards from IKEA and mosaic works made as a collaborate between all the members of the family. All the wash basins, toilet stools and the bath tub are from recycle centers. The house is heated by a thermal system.

A sustainable future

Andersson believes strongly that research into the visual and design aspects of a sustainable future has to be done on many levels. In the Life on a leaf project Rosegarden explores the ecologic dimension of dream, the imagination, the iconic space, and “slow living” – ideas, which have roots in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Iconic space

In the theoretical part of his Doctorate dissertation Andersson stresses the role of detail, ornamentation and artistic intervention in making a building “come forward” and become architecture in its fullest sense. Another important issue is the exploration of ways through which the surrounding nature can be mediated into the house through various cultural elements –- for example through the leaf- shaped floor plan, which eschews right angles; pictorial elements as in windows shaped like leaves, teardrops, a heart, a mouth; and also through the curved shapes of the inner walls, intended to create a feeling of walking on a pathway in natural surroundings. Andersson describes the unique sense of spatiality created by these elements as “Iconic Space”.


Photo: Matti A. Kallio Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Matti A. Kallio
Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Matti A. Kallio
Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Matti A. Kallio
Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen


Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen
Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Matti A. Kallio
Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Photo: Matti A. Kallio

Pictures from the process

(From the newest to the oldest.)


2010-01-08.The house was visited by photographer/architect Matti A. Kallio, who took a nice evening shot of the house. We are ready for the press conference on the 14th of january!


2010-01-01. The house looks into the new decade from a fairy tale winter landscape. It is mind blowing to think that we started planning ten years ago!


2009-12-29. This winter we have exceptionally much snow. The yellow colour of the house looks nice against the white snow.


2009-12-21. Jan-Erik glues the sound proof glass, shielding Yuichiro Nishizawa work, a slit in the wall of Adrian’s room, shaped like a pine needle.


2009-12-20. We now start to understand why experienced builders told us to make the house completely ready before we move in. Now when we already live in it, we have big difficulties to motivate ourselves to do all the unfinished things. Here Jan-Erik is fastening the last full spectrum tubes for the light fixtures to be installed under the beams, which keep up the roof.


2009-12-06. Adrian likes to make expeditions up to the top of the mountain behind the house. From there you get a nice view of the house.


2009-12-04. Welders from the Saarenhovi metal workshop attach the last ornate panels in connection with the staircase. They keep people from falling down.


2009-11-28. Artist Susanna Peijari finishes her work under the concrete bridge.


2009-11-25.The new fabric, designed by Johanna Kunelius, for the sofa in the living room has arrived and ?? is sewing bags to put over the old sofa.


2009-11-22. Jan-Erik is taking away old paint from the swing which has been standing in the garden for some years. We are going to paint it red and place the whole swing, with attached tables and cupboard, inside the living room.


2009-11-17. Artist Pertti Toikkanen, has made a hat lamp with dried wheat for the kitchen.


2009-11-16. Jan-Erik makes the ornate linoleum floor in his studio space for computer work on the second floor.


2009-11-13.The ornate linoleum floor on the second floor is ready. The pattern, using computer cut triangle and square shaped pieces, was designed as a collaboration between Jan-Erik and Matilda Ekman.


2009-11-11. The house was chosen as one of the 52 most creative ideas of the year. The ideas were displayed as big playing cards exhibited among other in TAIK, the University of Applied Arts in Helsinki.


2009-10-29. The work on the kitchen table in three parts started five years ago. Now two of them are ready and Jan-Erik finally gets to make the top layer with acrylate varnish.


2009-10-02. The Polish curator and artist Agnieszka Wolodzko talks with Aino-Maria Niemelä. Wolodzko stays for a few nights to experience the spirit of the house. The house will be presented in an exhibition, Living Space – an Unusual Experience, in the Laznia Art Center in Gdansk in the autumn of 2010.


2009-09-28. Aino-Maria Niemelä helps to glue the ornate linoleum pieces on the floor in the first floor.


2009-09-15. A new Nest structure is being built outside of the house with help from art students from the Turku Art Academy.


2009-08-28. The experience to spend the first nights in the house is extraordinary. For example to walk up a few steps to the sleeping loft enjoying all the iconic views constantly changing. This is certainly an iconic space.


2009-08-15.The well known performance artist Reijo Kela makes a surprise performance.


2009-08-15. Johanna from La Caffettiera serves cake.


2009-08-15. Jan-Erik, Marjo and Adrian cut the first piece from the leaf shaped cake, specially made for the occasion by Johanna and Samuli from La Caffettiera. We are flanked by the Ladies club, a performance group from Jakobstad.


2009-08-15. Finally, after ten years since the planning started, we can move into the house.We have got permission to move into the house by the city officials although there are still some unfinished details. The opening speeches are held by Jan-Erik, Marjo and Robert Powell (translated by Susanna Peijari). The visitors are all kinds of people involved in the building process from electricians to construction planners.


2009-08-14. A lot of people help to clean up left over construction timber from the surroundings of the house before the opening party. Susanna Peijari, Aino-Maria NIemelä and Huey Powell, who came over from UK for this occasion, enjoy a break.


2009-08-14. The day before the opening party. The poet and director of the Beam center, Robert Powell, together with Adrian check the still unfinished–and plastic wrapped–one third of the kitchen dining table.


2009-08-13. We are celebrating the installation of Frank Brummel’s concrete table, a part of his art work for the house. From left to right; Marjo, Owen Powell, Susanna Peijari, Aino-Maria Niemelä, Frank and his children Noah and Jule.


2009-08-13. Ilkka Pekanheimo from AD-Lux, who has been a consultant for planning the full spectrum fluorescent daylight system in the house, checks which bulb would suit one of the fixtures.


2009-08-13. Kimmo Landell from Lasiluoto glass company installs the mirror in the entrance hall so the poem by Robert Powell on the inside of the entrance door can be read.


2009-08-12. Owen Powell helps artist Frank Brummel with the mounting of the concrete table, a part of his art work for the house.


2009-08-11. Marjo paints the shelf/wall for the sleeping loft on the second floor.


2009-08-11. The poet Alice George from Chicago helps to finish the ornamentation for the floor. She wrote a poem about the working rush before the grand opening party. The poem – to be found and read –is printed on a sheet of paper and stuck into on of the constructional holes in the concrete walls on the first floor.


2009-08-08. Owen Powell installs his father’s, Robert Powell’s, poem for the house on the inside of the entrance door. The poem can only be read through the mirror on the opposite wall.


2009-08-08. Marjo helps sound artist Shawn Decker to install the wind sensor for his sound work.



2009-07-21. The plumbing is made by Kautonen.


2009-07-20. The curved metal plates are made by Paappanen.


2009-07-19. The Bluebell is an excellent place to have a break.


2009-07-17. A great moment! The builders Heinonen and Juvonen have finished the facade. From left to right; Marjo, Heikki Heinonen, Susanna Peijari, Esa Juvonen and Adrian.


2009-07-15. Susanna Peijari is spray painting the shelf/wall for the sleeping loft on the second floor.


2009-07-14. We are making the fixtures for the fluorescent lights which will run under the 14 meters long gluelam beam carrying the roof in the center of the house.


2009-07-11. After a year of planning, computer designing and printing into laminate, Karin Andersen’s art work for the table top in the kitchen is finally installed. Jan-Erik is spreading silicon in the seam between the table top and the kitchen wall.


2009-07-09. The structure for the front door stairs arrive from the Saarenhovi metal workshop, supervised by the manager Kari Suominen.


2009-07-08. Jan-Erik and Adrian are painting Jan-Erik’s working table for the third floor studio space.


2009-07-07. The builders Heinonen and Juvonen are working with the last part of the facade.


2009-07-04. Jan-Erik works to finish artist Karin Andersen’s work for the table top in the kitchen.


2009-07-03. Artist Susanna Peijari is helping to make the mosaic work for the toilet on the second floor.


2009-06-23. Artist Frank Brummel continues his work for the house consisting of the concrete stone flooring in the front of the main entrance and a table made of different concrete mixtures. Now it is the table’s turn to be made.


2009-07-02. There is a lot of fine tuning to get all the undone parts done. Here Jan-Erik is scratching away mastic to be able to apply silicon.


2009-07-02. Artist Karin Andersen’s work for the table top in the kitchen arrives. Her artwork, designed in Photoshop, has been laminated in USA by iZone. Now we wil have to glue it on the pre sawn wooden table.


2009-07-01. Most of the 26 light fixtures which make up Jan-Erik’s light installation are installed. Marjo paints the final layers of concrete paint on the floor.


2009-06-22. Jaakko Kallio makes the water insulation for the floor in the toilet on the second floor.


2009-06-19. The triangles and squares, computer cut in linoleum, which we will use to make the pattern for the floor surfaces on the second and third floors, have arrived. Unfortunately many of them are badly cut, so we cannot get the floors done. New carpets have to be ordered from Holland and it will take weeks before they can be cut.


2009-06-19. Adrian helps Marjo to paint the floor in his room. He chose the color himself, police-blue of course.


2009-06-12. A lot of painstakingly slow work is needed to get all the surfaces cleaned for the opening of the house. Here Jan-Erik is getting rid of dozens of stickers on the vent pipe.


2009-06-11. Adrian helps to clean the dirty toilet stool. This like all the other toilets stools and wash basins are bought from recycling centers.


2009-06-10. The house is visited by well known Estonian artist Leonhard Lapin who is also teaching architecture in Tallinn.


2009-06-05. The jig saw is needed to make ornaments in plywood around the electrical switches.


2009-05-31. Jan-Erik makes molds and does the concret work for a lot of small structures inside the jhouse.



2009-05-30. Marjo is in a hurry to paint the second and third layers of paint on the outer wall of the computer studio on the third floor, before the scaffolding will be demounted.


2009-05-27. A lot of energy goes to finding old light fixtures to get the right touch for the bathroom and the toilet.


2009-05-27. Jan-Erik is trying his skills as a carpenter by making a bench, a table for the wash basin and a support structure under the bathtub.


2009-05-21. Jukka Salonen is installing the chimney top designed by Jan-Erik. The design is inspired by the chimney tops in Venice.


2009-05-18. To get the right scale for the ornaments, test versions in plywood are made in different sizes.


2009-05-18. The builders Esa Juvonen and Heikki Heinonen relax on Trudi Entwistle’s apple-heart sculpture/bench in the spring sun.


2009-05-11. Marjo is doing most of the painting work inside the house. Here she is using a special brush to avoid the brush marks.


2009-05-01. During the first of May partying some partygoers vandalized Trudi Entwistle’s apple heart-sculptures. Fortunately the damage is rather easy to repair.


2009-04-30. Marjo is cleaning the windows of the Bluebell winter garden. Left over wood protecting liquid, from sheltering of the roof of the Bluebell, has flowed down and stuck to the windows. A lot of effort is needed to get it off.


2009-04-28. Half of the house is ready except for the ornamentation.


2009-04-16. Esa Juvonen.




2009-04-16. Jan-Erik makes a try out in cardboard for the ornamentation on the outside of the house. The ornament will be computer cut in metal and placed 10 cm in front of the wooden surface close to the roof.


2009-04-16. Artist Susanna Peijari makes the floor tiling for the bath room following Andersson’s design. The green and brown plates are planned to create connotations to a grassy small island with sandy shores.


2009-04-14. Artist Frank Brummel makes the mold for the outdoor concrete table he is planning as a part of his art work in front of the entrance to the house.


2009-04-09. Jaakko Kallio makes the water insulation for the bathroom floor. To get this done properly professional help is needed.


2009-04-07. Artist Susanna Peijari works in the house for five weeks. She is taking a degree in interior design and this is her practice period.


2009-03-23. The workers Esa Juvonen and Heikki Heinonen begins the work with the outside panelling though it is still cold and snowy.


2009-03-08. The wooden shelves, which function as a half open wall to the loft, are installed. They still need to be painted. The ornate metal railings, which will include Shawn Decker’s sound installation, are fastened to the concrete bridge. The dimmable lights under the roof beams function beautifully.


2009-02-12. Esa Juvonen nails the plywood sheets onto the wall structure in Marjo’s room.


2009-02-18. Electrician Mauri Karlin fastens the dimmer system for the full spectrum daylight tubes under the Kerto wooden beams. They will be covered by ornate wooden leaves, designed by Jan-Erik.


2009-02-25. The metal workers Jimmy Lindroos (left) and Jermu Hakanen (right) from Saarenhovi metal workshop are welding the parts for the spiral staircase together on site. The pattern on the ornate plates is designed by Jan-Erik. As pictorial elements he is using electrical plug-ins and stars.


2009-02-11. The manager of the Saarenhovi metal workshop, Kari Suominen, is studying the process.


2009-01-21. Jan-Erik improvises a Dragon or Sea monster in mosaic.


2009-01-22. The whole family is having fun! Adrian designs a robot, who is firing a laser gun underneath Jan-Erik’s airplane.


2009-02-01. The inner walls are ready, except for two layers of additional white paint.


2009-02-11. The structure for the walls in Marjo’s and Adrian’s rooms on the second floor is being built.


2009-01-02. Artist Susanna Peijari helps to make the mosaic work in the bathroom. The idea is to make a landscape with trees growing from the grass with the sea and the setting sun in the background. Then we improvise a surreal happening in the setting,


2009-01-19. While Jan-Erik will take care of the ”yellow” part of the mosaic work Marjo will do her own, more minimal mostly black and white, scenery around the door opening.


2009-01-08. The builders Heinonen & Juvonen begin to make the inside wall paneling. In the front part of the house we use a material, wooden finger panel, common in Finland in the 50:ties.


2009-01-019. Marjo has done a huge amount of work painting all the wooden wall panels. The builders skills are tested in applying the panels to the walls, which curve both vertically and horizontally. The result is precise and beautiful.


2008-12-08. Jukka Salonen has just finished the installation of the pipe and teach us how the owen functions. An emotional moment; the first fire!


2008-12-19. Jan-Erik is frying the first steak in the half ready kitchen. We are celebrating that the Bluebell winter garden on the top of the roof finally is ready. Today Heininen and Juvonen removed the scaffolding built outside around the top of the Bluebell.


2008-12-19. The meal is ready and the builders Heikki Heinonen (left) and Esa Juvonen (middle) together with Marjo (right) and Jan-Erik can start eating.


2008-12-19. Marjo is painting the ornamental leafs, designed and sawn by Jan-Erik, which will cover the electical equipments fastened on the wooden beams under the roof.


2008-11-05. The builders Heinonen and Juvonen make the floor for the Bluebell winter garden.


2008-11-20. The builders Heinonen and Juvonen make the floor for the computer studio on the second floor. The studio ends in the Bluebell winter garden.


2008-12-01. The roof makers from Protan make a layer of Protan plastic on the floor of the Bluebell winter garden. To be sure that if condensed water falls from the glasses down on the floor (in case the water easily make damage in the roof construction) we have decided to make the floor water secure. The Bluebell winter garden is a half warm space and temperatures can get down below zero during the coldest months, which can make water condense on the windows.


2008-12-08. Jukka Salonen from KM-hormi installs the rain water shelter on the top of the pipe. This part of the pipe is painted green to refer to a stalk on a real Bluebell flower.


2008-09-20. Marjo paints the first layer on the wooden panels for the walls of the ground floor. The reminding two layers will be painted when the panels have been fastened on the walls.


2008-09-20. Jan-Erik prepares the found old iron bathtub for painting. All the toilet seats and washstands in the house are from recycling centers.


2008-10-08. Jukka Salonen and ? from KM-hormi installs the last part of the 13 long pipe. This part, which goes through the Bluebell winter garden, is not ultramarine blue, like the lower part, but reflecting.


2008-10-18. The internationally well know architect and theoretician Juhani Pallasmaa together with the professor in Environmental Art in the University of Art and Design, Markku Hakuri visit the house. They are the opponents in my dissertation for the Ph.D. in visual arts later this autumn.


2008-08-14. It feels great to have the main window installed. It is a different sensation to experience the outdoor nature through a leaf shaped window compared to a rectangular window. This is an important part of my Ph.D. studies; to study (by feeling and seeing) if and how pictorial elements, through their natural forms and symbolism, can mediate and bring in the nature outdoors inside the house. The rectangular window symbolizes a distance from nature and acts more like a camera through which we ”take snapshots” of the outside.


2008-08-26. The builders Heinonen and Juvonen are working on the top of the Bluebell winter garden. The final shape of the house is slowly emerging.


2008-08-21.The painter Jan-Kenneth Weckman makes a drawing on the surface of the owen. The four surfaces of the owen act like painting canvases. Weckman is here touching the beginning of art where our ancestors took burned sticks from the fire and started to draw!


2008-08-22. The house project was shown in the Fennofolk exhibition in the Design museum in Helsinki during the summer. Together with the model and a few pictures from the building process, a monitor showed the two live web cams from the site.


2008-07-15. I got the idea to have the ventilation pipe make an extra turn inside the bathroom. Aulis Salminen, who is doing all the ventilation works in the house, realized the idea!


2009-07-17. A great moment! The builders Heinonen and Juvonen have finished the facade. From left to right; Marjo, Heikki Heinonen, Susanna Peijari, Esa Juvonen and Adrian.


2008-07-15. Artist Susanna Peijari helps to paint the concrete floor in the kitchen.


2008-07-17. Adrian helps to paint the apple-heart bench/scultures in the garden, designed by landscape artist Trudi Entwistle.


2008-08-09. Design student Viktor Nylund has finished the buliding of the shelves/walls for the bed loft on the first floor. He has been working in his father’s workshop in Jakobstad. The shelves will be painted later.


2008-06-19. Artist Susanna Peijari covers the concrete walls with two layers of varnish. We have decided not to paint the concrete with colour. The greyness and rustic feeling of the concrete is needed to create an ”earthy” feeling for the ground floor.


2008-06-21. The blue tarpaulin is back again, but only a small piece! We still need it to cover the small roof on the top of the Bluebell winter garden. The three plates with different shades of yellow are try outs for the final colour of the facade.



2008-06-26. The house attracts a lot of visitors. This is a TV crew from Hong Kong Cable TV. They spotted the house on Internet and came to make a program about it.


2008-06-21. We ordered 13 m3 sand to flatten and cover muddy parts o the landscape design around the house. Marjo and Adrian are spreading the sand where it is needed.


2008-06-06. Artist Susanna Peijari helps with the painting of the concrete roofs. Her skills are needed to get a beautifully rounded edge line.


2008-06-12. The installers from Lasiluoto are struggling to install the curved windows into the wooden profiles. Reijo Rasi the manager of the Puutyöliike Rasi, which is responsible for the profiles, is supervising.


2008-06-18. A big moment! The web cam picture shows the builders Heinonen and Juvonen, when they remove the tarpaulin, which has been covering the Bluebell winter garden and the roof for almost two years.


2008-06-18. The builder Esa Juvonen is celebrating the moment when the structure of the Bluebell winter garden is revealed.


2008-05-20. Marjo is grinding off excess concrete from the ornaments on the concrete walls.


2008-05-28. The house was open for the public during a few hours on the Hirvensalo päivät, a festivity arranged by the local Hirvensalo society.


2008-05-29. Bengt Karlsson adds a final touch to the shaping of the earth around the house. We are following landscape artist Trudi Entwistle’s design.


2008-06-05. Artist Jan-Kenneth Weckman and the bricklayer Juha Konkka try out methods for Weckman’s drawing on the surface of the owen.


2008-05-12. Student Jonas Biström helps to dust the plywood walls. We will keep them like this, with two layers of acrylic varnish as a cover.


2008-05-13. The international Nurope research group is keeping a seminar in the house about ways to commercialize the house project, without loosing its artistic credibility, to be able to finance the payback of the loans.


2008-05-20. KImmo Landell from Lasi-luoto installs the windows.


2008-05-20. Marjo fine tunes the border between the plywood wall and the concrete floor. The staircase will be welded around the metal pillar in this space.


2008-03-04. Builder Heikki Heinonen fine tunes the inside of the main leaf shaped window. The inner walls are being prepared for the wooden paneling.


2008-03-28. Marjo is painting the inner roof white and the wooden beams green. Three layers of paint together with taping makes the process last over a month.


2008-04-09. Paappanen makes the sheet metal for all of the windows.


2008-05-05. Jukka Salonen and ? from KM-hormi start to install the 13 meter long pipe. It in coloured ultramarine blue up to the Bluebell winter garden on the third floor.


2008-02-08. A moment we have been waiting for a long time; the floor heating is turned on!


2008-02-09. After the insulation work is finished, there is a lot of cleaning up to be made. Marjo is ready!


2008-02-17. The spraying of the Ekovilla insulation left excess insulation glued to the Kerto-plywood, which has to be removed manually. the work is painstakingly slow and dirty.


2008-02-27. Marjo shows her strength by using the maching for sanding the concrete floors. Thr excess glue needs to be sanded off befor any more works on the floor can be made.


2008-01-15. Builder Esa Juvonen makes the walls around the spiral staircase. We will keep the plywood sheets unpainted, only covered with varnish.




2008-02-04. Student Matilda Ekman makes try outs for the floor ornamentation in the corridor on the second floor.


2008-02-04. Jari Kallio makes the water insulation for the bath room.


2008-02-05. Student Matilda Ekman works on the kitchen table for the Life on a Leaf house in Jan-Erik’s studio.


2007-12-20.This is how the building looks like before the Christmas holiday. This winter is snowless and warm, which is good because the floor heating has not been turned on yet.


2007-12-20. The vertical windows are installed. We still have to wait for the organically shaped windows, though. To keep the heat inside we have put styrofoam sheets in the windows’ place.


2007-12-29. JJ-Villa OY makes the insulation by spraying ekovilla on the walls. Ekovilla is an insulation product made from certain types of newspaper. During the production process, fire retardants are added to the insulation material. The material is used as insulation in roofs, walls and floors. When used for walls, the Ekovilla insulation material is sprayed with hose and an Eko adhesive is added to the material at the same time.


2007-12-12. The vents are installed before the insulation can be done.


2007-11-30. Builder Esa Juvonen installs the heart window.


2007-11-28. The carpenter Saarinen installs the lip shaped window.


2007-12-03. The carpenters Pekka Sopola and Saarinen installing the leaf shaped main window. On the wall are Trudi Entwistle’s Apple sculpture/benches waiting to be painted.


2007-11-30. The carpenter Pekka Sopola installs the leaf shaped main window.


2007-11-11. Adrian helps to paint the wooden window profiles.


2008-1-16.The putty used to fasten the windows need to be sheltered by wooden strips applied on the outside. The strips are painted with one layer of mold resistant liquid and two layers of colour.


2007-11-19. The wooden profiles for the leaf shaped main window.


2007-11-5. The carpenters Pekka Sopola and Saarinen shows the wooden window profiles they have made for the drop shaped window and the Konstantin Melnikov window by bending and gluing veneer sheets.


2007-10-25. Keijo Kallonen and Timo Landell from Lasiluoto first fill the gaps between the windows with loads of black putty and then attach an aluminum plate to keep the windows safely on the structure.


2007-10-27. As soon as the glasses on the Blue bell are on place, the roof cover, Protan plastic, is being put on the roof. The work is done by two experienced Estonians, Marx and Ints. The sheets of plastic are welded together by heating the plastic seam.




2007-10-02. Students from the Turku Art Academy helps to assemble the Nest installation close to the house.


2007-10-11. Sopola and Saarinen work on the vertical window frames.


2007-10-15. Sopola and Saarinen make excellent result with the very difficult task of making the curved window profiles.


2007-10-16. Sopola and Saarinen prepare the Blue bell structure for the windows by taping the wooden profiles with aluminum folio tape.


2007-10-19. Finally, the windows arrive! They all fit very well into their individual places.


2007-09-16. The working model of the Life on a Leaf house was exhibited in the WILD – Fantasy and Architecture exhibition in the Turku City Art Museum during the summer of 2007. The exhibition was curated by Jan-Erik Andersson and Jen Budney from the Kamloops Art Gallery.


2007-10-02. The floor heating tubes are installed by Warmia on the ground floor and first floor.


2007-10-02. Marjo Malin is doing the fine tuning before the concrete will be poured on the floor heating tubes. It is important that no part of the plastic fasteners will stick up from the concrete surface, because many parts of the concrete floor will be used as such with only paint on.


2007-10-08. The Danish artist group N55’s Microdwelling (, a single person’s house, is transported to the building site from the Turku City Art Museum, where it has been a part of the WILD – Fantasy and Architecture exhibition during the summer of 2007. Now it will be a guest house for people visiting the Life on a Leaf house.


2007-08-20. Timo Landell from the Lasiluoto Glass company makes templates for the glass windows on the Blue bell structure.


2007-08-27. The German artist Frank Brummel, who is a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, makes his own Bee dance work in concrete stones in front of the main entrance.


2007-08-27. Artist Markku Haanpää helps by painting the ornamented base of the building.


2007-09-04. Finally the roof is ready. Builder Heikki Heinonen enjoys the excellent result. But the Protan plastic roof cover cannot be installed before the work to put on the windows on the Blue bell structure is finished.


2007-07-25. Adrian paints the floor of the small building orange. In the hardware store they looked suspiciously at me when I bought the colour wondering why I wanted to paint the floor ”carrot red”!


2007-08-12. The house was a part of the WILD – Fantasy and Architecture exhibition in the Turku City Art Museum during the summer of 2007. Every second weekend tours were arranged by the museum to the building site. Here is one of the guides, Mikaela Lostedt (fourth from the left), with a group of visitors.


2007-08-07. The carpenter Pekka Sopola from Puutyöliike Rasi makes the demanding and painstakingly slow work to create wooden profiles for the windows on the blue bell structure.


2007-08-08. Student Owen Powell from Wakefield, UK helps to prepare for painting the roof of the computer studio behind the blue bell.


2007-06-29.The building consultant Veijo Honka discusses new wooden solutions for the fastening of the windows on the blue bell winter garden on the roof of the house with Lilja from Lasiluoto glass manufactory and carpenter Rasi from Puutyöliike Rasi.The earlier method, using aluminum profiles, turned out to be too expensive.


2007-03-14. The builders Heikki Heinonen and Esa Juvonen are constructing the computer studio on the top floor of the house. The tarpaulin gives a bluish tone to the pictures.


2007-06-01.The computer studio and the blue bell winter garden, covered by the blue tarpaulin, are ready for the glasses to be installed. The air ventilation pipes are installed on the bottom of the roof.


2007-06-01. The doorway from the computer studio to the blue bell winter garden.


2007-05-25.In connection with Andersson’s Ph.D. symposium ”Iconic Space” a tour to the building site was arranged for the participants and lecturers in the symposium. Here architect Erkki Pitkäranta (left) discusses with architect Kathryn Findlay (Ushida Findlay, UK) and artist Jan Svenungsson (right).


2007-05-25. Architect Steve Badanes (Jersey Devil Architects, USA) and environmental artist Trudi Entwistle (UK).


2007-05-25. Architect Kathryn Findlay (Ushida Findlay, UK) and sound artist Shawn Decker (USA) in the computer studio on the top floor of the house.


2007-05-26. Sound artist Shawn Decker (USA) experiments with speakers and computer generated sounds for his soundwork on the railing of the concrete bridge of the first floor in the house. The small leaf house functions as a temporary studio.


2006-12-21.The weather is cold, also under the tarpaulin cover! Architect Erkki Pitkäranta discusses different ways to fasten the double glass insulating windows on the bluebell winter garden.


2006-12-24. Adrian shovels snow, so the builders can drive to the site.


2006-12-24. Experiment with computercut patterns in linoleum plates for the living room floor. Different parts of the floors will have different ornaments, combined with monochrome concrete surfaces.


2007-01-21. Many friends want to see how the house is progressing. The small leaf house is already heated with thermal heat, so hot coffee can be served to get relief from the cold.


2006-12-21.The pre made glulam arches are lifted up on the roof. They will form the bluebell shaped glass dome, the winter garden.


2006-12-24. It is Christmas eve, but we cannot stay away from the building site! After seven years of planning and negotiating, we have reached the top of the building; all the parts of the bluebell winter garden are now fastened.


2006-12-24. Waiting for Santa Claus.


2007-01-10.It is our luck that the winter is late and we still have time to cover the whole building before the snow comes.


2006-10-27.The thermal heat pump arrives.The small leaf house has got a cover of Protan roofing membrane on the roof, which accentuates its curviness. At the moment the house has a very minimal outlook, but it will later be ornamented.


2006-11-13. Juvonen and Heinonen put on sheets of insulating fibreboard. The raw material used in fibreboard is pure wood, which is reduced to fibres without damaging the cell structure. The manufacturing process retains the inherent properties of the wood fibres.


2006-11-29. The inner part of the roof is ready. It is made by long sheets of Kerto-wood. The Turku castle can be seen in the horizon.


2006-12-18.The arches, pre made of Kerto-wood at Finnforest, form the structure for the computer studio on the second floor.


2006-09-25.Heinonen and Juvonen have made the first of Trudi Entwistle’s (UK) three apple sculpture/benches to be placed in the garden of the house.


2006-09-27. Environmental artist Entwistle supervising the earth works around the house, which are being made according to her design.


2006-10-03. The Glulam pillars made at Finnforest are being put up.


2006-11-08.The central beam is made of Glulam and the smaller beams are made of Kerto-wood. Both made according to computer drawings at Finnforest.They take their shape from the veins of the leaf.


2006-08-28.The small leaf is under construction. It will house the thermal heat pump and will also be a place to wash laundry.


2006-08-29. Juvonen and Heinonen are making the rounded roof according to their own design.


2006-09-06. The result is perfect.


2006-09-19. Marjo Malin is painting the roof of the small leaf house.


2006-07-05.Susanna Peijari is making a work of her own design on the concrete bridge. The idea is that somebody has danced over the bridge, when the concrete still was wet, the feet sinking through the concrete.The footprints can be seen under the bridge when the work is ready.


2006-07-11. Juvonen and Heinonen are making the concrete casting for the first floor.


2006-08-15. All the concrete parts of the structure of the house are now made successfully.


2006-08-15.The door opening to the kitchen with the seed releasing buttercup ornamentation.


2006-06-16. The leaf shape can still be seen on the form of the foundation.In the middle are the casting forms for the two curved supporting walls.


2006-06-16. The platform for the second floor is being built.The floor will be casted in concrete.


2006-06-14.Heikki Heinonen makes the stopper which stops the concrete from pouring into the opening in the wall. The design needs a lot of thinking because both the shape of the opening and the wall are curved.


2006-06-14. The prolonged heart shaped stopper, which will form an opening in the wall after the casting, is in place.The flower ornaments will be seen as marks on the wall facing the corridor between the kitchen and the bathroom.


2006-06-05. Our second version of a Greek pillar is made from a waste pipe. Heikki Heinonen inserts a plastic light shelter into the waste pipe. It makes a pattern in the concrete which is poured inside.


2006-06-13. The Neo Greek pillars are ready. Because of the ”cheap” construction method they have a rough and ”ruiny” feeling. The pillars are a comment to the classical architecture as well as the much disliked postmodern style and the ruin architecture of the 18th Century Romanticism. Visual artist Susanna Peijari assists in making the ornamentation.


2006-06-14. Inspired by the successful casting of the foundation ornaments Jan-Erik designed ornaments for the walls of corridor between the kitchen and the bathroom. The shower ornaments also uses the plastic cones used in the casting of the walls. The ornaments are thus integrated in the tectonics of the walls. Visual artist Susanna Peijari assists in making the ornamentation.


2006-06-16.The wall before the concrete casting. The mark left by the yellow plastic cones, which are a structural part of the casting, along with the white cones and sticks, will be a part of the ornamentation.


2006-05-19. Siku Leinonen and Adrian are testing the prototype for the ”apples”, which the environmental artist Trudi Entwistle is planning for the garden.


2006-05-25. The ornamentation for the concrete foundation for the smaller building is taking a more expressionist direction compared to the almost classical ornaments on the foundation of the main building. Here the marks are made with different electrical tools and a chainsaw.


2006-06-02. Esa Juvonen dismantles the casting mold. The ornaments came out successfully!


2006-06-05.The front pillar, designed by Jan-Erik, arrives from the Saarenhovi metal workshop.This is a new version of the greek pillar with the primary forms; the triangle, the circle and the square as pipes welded along the main pipe.


2006-05-05. Making of the ornaments around the concrete foundation. The plastic sticks and cones will leave marks in the concrete after the casting.


2006-05-06. The question why the web camera wasn’t working during the winter months was answered; a small animal had bitten through the Ethernet cable under the snow! IT expert Mika Vuokko and his son figure that you can’t beat the nature.


2006-05-07. Italian artist Karin Andersen imagining the kitchen desk on which she will make a digital image work.


2006-05-17.Heinonen and Juvonen start the casting.


2006-05-05. Art student Sara NIlsson and her boyfriend helping to fasten the ornaments, which leave marks in the concrete foundation after the casting.


2006-05-03. Jan-Erik makes designs for the front pillar, inspired by the builders’ advices about different kinds of additions he can make into the building structures.


2006-05-03. Heikki Heinonen and Esa Juvonen start to make the concrete foundation of the building.






2006-04-28. A water pipe, which had been ”forgot” to put in the ground when the earth works were done, is being installed before the casting of the foundation can begin.


2006-04-16. Work on the 1:5 scale model continues.


2006-04-13. Skärgårdens brunnsborrning AB is drilling the 160 meters deep hole into the rock for the pipe containing the geothermal fluid tubes.The Life on a Leaf house will be warmed by a geothermal heat pump, which taps into the earth’s surface to use the energy and relatively consistent heat found in soil and rock. This means that the house doesn’t have to rely on electricity or oil for heating.


2006-03-22. A few quiet months.


2006-03-08. A design for the floors made of computer cut plates of linoleum combined with primary coloured concrete surfaces. Might be too expensive to make!


2005-10-16. The concrete pillars need to be covered from the cold so that the frost in the ground doesn’t get to move them.


2005-10-13. Marjo Malin helps to shelter the concrete pillars with sheets of styrofoam.


2005-08-05. Work on the concrete foundation.


2005-08-07. Andersson designs ornamentation for the concrete base of the building.


2005-07-27. The Pikisaari road needs to be cut through, to connect the building to the communal sewer and water pipes.


2005-06-15. The ground work begins.


2005-06-15. Environmental artist Trudi Entwistle from Leeds is visiting the site to plan her work around the building.


2005-04-12. Andersson and Pitkäranta (above) build a model of the house in the scale 1:5, which makes it possible to solve problems with the construction.


2005-04-12. Andersson tries out how it feels to be inside the leaf shaped house!


2004-05-27. The small scale model is useful for trying out different interior solutions.


2004-04-28. Artenom Anu Mäkinen helps to make the dining table for the house in Andersson’s studio. First the table, then the house!


2003-06-17. Architect Oliver Walter (right) discusses the 3D model of the house he is making, together with architect Erkki Pitkäranta (left).


2002-04-23. Architect Jyrki Tasa attends a seminar, where he suggest an even more organic touch to the design.


2001-10-24. Architect Erkki Pitkäranta makes the floor plans for the Life on a Leaf house.


2001-10-08. Design student Dafna Maimon works with the roof for the small scale model.



The house is heated by geo thermal heat. A 170 meter deep hole is drilled into the rock from which energy is retrieved. The thermal heat pump is situated in the small Leaf house, which also functions as a storage space. Because the small building is also heated by the pump, it is used as a laundry, where the wet clothes dry up very fast.

The heat is delivered to the main building by a systems of water pipes in the concrete floors. Most of the windows are sealed and The air circulation is mechanically driven by a system which transfers the heat from the outgoing air to the incoming air. No air conditioning is needed.

The building is founded on pillars. Under the supporting concrete platform is a 150 mm thick layer of Polystyrene. On the platform is a 50 mm thick layer of Polystyrene and a 80 mm thick layer of concrete, which holds the pipes for the heating system. The stiffening structure between the ground floor and the first floor is reinforced concrete and the pillars steel and concrete.

The structure inside the outer walls are seven meters long 200×51 mm Glulam wooden beams, made in the shape of the walls, which are curved both horizontally and vertically. The insulation inside the walls is a 200 mm thick layer of natural thermal insulation, which is made of recycled newspaper. The production of Ekovilla abides by international ISO 9002 quality norm. On the outside there is a 25 mm thick drywall made of wood fibers, fastened on the Glulam beams. Linen insulation is used to insulate the window- and door profiles,.
The bearing structures of the roof and the Bluebell winter garden are also Glulam beams.The inner roof is made by a layer of 39 mm thick plywood sheets. Insulation is the same as in the walls, thickness 400 mm. Almost all the windows are made of sealed triple pane glass elements.

The ”ball shaped” structure of the house is also good for the energy efficiency because the ratio of the surface of the outer core compared to the volume remains small. The percentage of the surface area of windows to the whole facade area is 12,7 %. The Blue bell winter garden is not taken in account, because it is not heated to room temperature the whole year around.

In planning the house, all spaces not necessary needed, have been excluded, for example there is no sauna (exceptionally for being Finns, we don’t use sauna!), no car garage (our van stands outdoors), no cellar( we support a minimal life style). Including the Blue bell winter garden the house is 147 m2.

Symbolically the interior design of the house points out the importance of recycling and reusing. All the wash basins, toilet stools and the bath tub are from recycle centers. The family’s old furniture is reused, the living room sofa covered with a new fabric.



One of the purposes with building the house has been to investigate ways how to gradually mediate the outdoor nature into the house through culture: To create an ”Iconic Space” by using pictorial elements as the leaf shaped ground plan, leaf and drop shaped windows, ornamentation based on natural forms, as well as the curved indoor walls which create a feeling of walking on a pathway in natural surroundings. We are interested in how these elements, along with several art works incorporated in the structures, help to create a mental state in the inhabitants, which makes them more connected to the place and even create a feeling to dwell more emotionally in the house, thus inspiring a more local, poetic and sustainable life style.



Invited Artists

Invited Artists

All the artists invited to participate in the project are people I have met and made friends with during the years I have spent in the art world. They have all participated with no fee and I am happy to be able to present them on this web site as well as having the opportunity to have their works as a part of my daily life. All the works proposed are planned specially for the building, many are designed to be an organic part of the building, being incorporated in the building structures.

Frank Brümmel

Bee Dance

Platform + Table

Through a bee-dance, the bees tell their nestmates where to find best food-sources. The duration and intension of the dance show the quality and location of the place. As orientation serves the sun.

The work was made possible by a project grant from the Academy of Fine Arts.

brummel3 brummel4brummel1

Frank Brummel is a German sculptor living in Turku.

Shawn Decker

Sound work for Life on a Leaf

A process for developing a site-specific sound component for the house is to some degree dependent on being able to respond to the site/finished architecture. Completely designing a piece from plans is simply not possible. I would therefore propose a process which allows the maximum flexibility for making decisions about the piece once the structure has been completed.
The piece would have 4 components to it:
1) sensors placed at an outdoor location which would monitor environmental conditions such as temperature, sound, wind, etc.
2) sensors placed inside the house, which would monitor temperature, domestic sounds, etc.
3) An indoor array of speakers (like those we have discussed in the context of other works) which is sufficiently distributed to create the feeling of being surrounded by small sounds when one is in this location of the house.
A primary spot of interest for me would be the bridge part of the space, with the many tall struts on either side. This array would be connected to the outside sensors, and the sounds it makes would be influenced by these sensors.
4) An outdoor array of speakers – possibly fit into architectural panels – which in some way mirror those inside the house – these would be designed to help create a connection between the outdoor nature and the indoor architecture – so the siting of this should reflect this connection. These speakers would be connected to the interior sensors, and would be influenced by their readings.

Shawn Decker Sound work for Life on a Leaf

Decker is a sound artist who is working as professor at the Art & Technology and sound departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Johanna Kunelius

Textile patterns for the sofa in the livingroom

Johanna Kunelius is a textile designer from Jyvaskylä, Finland. She studied textile design at the Helsinki University of Art and Design and finished her Master of Arts degree in 2004. Now Kunelius works with her own textile concept in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she combines the influences of Finnish and Russian culture in innovative ways.

Leijonat sohvalla
-Leijona ja Lehti -kuosit-

Johanna KuneliusJohanna Kunelius lehti

”Tutustun värikkääseen, inspiroivaan ja oivaltavaan Life On a Leaf –taloon syyskuussa 2009. Jan-Erik on kutsunut minut suunnittelemaan vanhaan sohvaan uuden kuosin. Sohva on upealla paikalla kirjavan valaisinryhmän alapuolella. Sen edessä lehden muotoisesta ikkunasta avautuu näkymä suoraan luontoon. Tiedän, että minulta odotetaan vahvaa ilmeikästä kuosidesignia tilaan. Ehkäpä tuulahdus idästä mietin mielessäni.

Palaan Pietariin ja vanhoihin luonnoksiini. Löydän kuvan leijonasta, jonka piirsin kesällä hylätyn leijonapatsaan innoittamana. Sen surumielisyys houkuttelee minua ja haluan antaa sille uuden onnellisen elämän Jan-Erikin, Marjon ja Adrianin lehdenmuotoisessa kodissa. Sohvalle syntyy Leijona –kuosi ja sen rinnalle koristetyynyjä varten Lehti –kuosi.”

Kiitos Arazolle kuosien digitaalitulostuksesta kankaalle.
Kiitos sohvan taidokkaasta verhoilusta Riikka Palmunen.

Trudi Entwistle

Apple Heart


”My installation for the ‘Life on a Leaf’ project is inspired by the apple trees in the old orchard and also by the love story of the ‘king and the castle’, a fable related to me by Jan-Erik Andersson as one of his own major inspirations.

The installation is a simple translation, taking the form of a repetition of two minimal red rings, gently curved to lean against each other. Designed to sit on, and portable, they provide either an individuals solitary retreat or the place for a group gathering. From their vantage point in the orchard, the Leaf House can well be viewed, especially in the evening when the sun creates strong silhouettes and enhances the warmth of the red wooden rings.

Seen from the Leaf House the title of the installation reveals itself. From above, the minimal forms suggest the outline of apple cores. Walking down into the meadow from the house, heart-shapes appear from the void of the rings.”


Earth mounding for Life on a Leaf


The Leaf House stands prominently on a foundation plinth rising above the orchard meadow against a steep backdrop of woodland. The remains of cut and fill from the house construction had left disjointed levels and pockets of fragmented areas in the surrounding land. The height of the building complimented the scale of neighbouring trees, but the space in between needed to integrate these two elements through its scale, form and line. I felt my role of sculpting the earth for ’Life on a Leaf’ was to both connect the building with nature as well as creating a landscape with its owns unique form.

Heavy rainfall during spring and summer produced streams of surface water from steep slopes and collected in one big ditch which ran through the site. Topographically this cut the site in half, creating a scale that didn’t work with the presence of the building. I redirected the ditch to the edge of the site, allowing more dramatic sweeping lines to descend the slope. This inspired bold crescent terraces to open up at the back of the leaf house providing ease of access. These crescents echoe the bold perspective of the house. This sweeping topography continues until its descent into an elliptical mound enclosing the flat area of the meadow and apple trees.

The sweeping bands of earth will vary in tone and texture, from short bright green turf, wild meadow, to the ferns from the understorey of the surrounding woodland. Bands of fruit bushes and plants from Jan Eriks childhood memories will also structure the landform.


Earth mounding for Life on a Leaf

The Apple Heart Installation has developed from Entwistle’s earlier proposal for an environmental work around the Life on a Leaf house.

Half heart shaped earth mounds (one side grass and the other red timber), sweep down the slope increasing in size, ending in the orchard where one can look back at the house. They become sheltered areas to sit in, to lie on the grass. The heart shape is developed from the fable of the king in the castle.

Entwistle is an environmental artist who works as a Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Alice George

Alice George´s poem for the house is written during the hectic moments to get the house ready. She was present, helping with everything from cleaning to painting the ornate floor.


Working Play Song

Finish the bones and apples!
O vertical boat of noise!
sighed the sculptor painting a floor
the greenest of grass greens.

Unbreak this funny heart,
this mess of love unfinished!
prayed the poet painting ducks
the whitest of wet whites.

O when shall they live their lives?
And shall the coffee be done?
begged the boy on the roof,
paint dripping from his tongue.

Make a world of wild quiet-
A house with trembling ears!
sang the sound man low
to his softly clicking bridge.

And the leaf man sang love
And leaf woman sang mess
And leaf boy laughed around
waking every word alive.

Leaf House August 2009

Alice George is a poet living in Chicago.


Alice George

Kari Juutilainen

Light Fixture in the kitchen

Light Fixture in the kitchen Kari Juutilainen

Yuichiro Nishizawa

“I am drawn to the idea of constant sunlight in the summer and the minimal light in the winter. That is an inherent part of living in Finland. I would like to make a piece that plays with that. I picture a piece that is made of fine golden threads or wires and some parts of them are tarnished to black. I hope to create an illusion of the sun hitting on the dark threads or wire. I took pictures of trees at Paimio. The bark of the trees had peeled off in such a way that the trees looked as if they were glowing with the sunlight even on the grey and rainy day. The size of the piece is yet to be determined. However, I would like the piece to be installed behind a wall so that the piece is visible through an opening or a slit in the wall. I envision the piece appears as if the sunlight is hitting the wall.

As this is possibly a piece for Marjo’s room, I like the use of golden and black wires. They, in my mind, relate to her and her liking for black. Also, it is part of my wish that during the long winter, the piece provides some ”sunlight” in the house.”

Yuichiro Nishizawa2

Yuichiro Nishizawa

Yuichiro Nishizawa is a Japanese artist and furniture designer.

Leah Oates

Leah Oates is a media artist living in New York.

For the flower house I would like to propose that I ”adorn” the spiral staircase with digital photographs taken while in Finland next summer. I would like to photograph around the area that the house is in and on a broader level aroundTurku. The images would then be more specific to the house and the location that it is in and not just of ”nature” in a general sense.

The work would be printed digitally upon returning to NYC on my studio printer. I would then send all the prints laminatedand ready to mount and then Jan-Erik can decide how to install them and essentially curate the final outcome.

During a residency at the Titanik gallery in Turku in the summer of 2006, Oates photographed a series, which will be mounted around the pillar of the central staircase.


The Transitory Space Series

The work I create first originates as a response to locations that are transitory and ignored such as piles of trash, alleyways, overpasses, abandoned structures etc. In most instances the locations that I have shot in are not desirable travel destinations, are generally poor or working class and are in areas with factories, fishing or forestry industries. I’m interested in this type of space for several reasons. They have a personal resonance for me as I grew up in a very similar American town and thus I have a strong emotional connection and knowledge of this type of place.

These transitory spaces have a life of their own where people can do things that they would not do in public spaces. Thus they have an inherent freedom that many public spaces do not have. In most instances public space is cleaned up or presented in a pleasant manner where as transitory space allows people the autonomy to do as they please. In this way they simply exist and change as people go about their daily business of living and striving. They show how a place can be a reflection of a community.

In this way transitory space more accurately document the mood of a place and a country than public space which can be sterile and lifeless. Transitory spaces have a messy human energy that is always in the present. This energy is both beautiful and ugly at once. In these places time passing is at its most beautiful as individuals or groups try to make a fragile mark on their surrounding. This attempt is a powerful and very human urge that can transgress established social boundaries. I’m not interested in transitory spaces for political reasons. I simply find them endlessly interesting, alive spaces where there is a great deal of beauty, fragility and human striving. They are temporary monuments to the ephemeral nature of human existence.


Finglass, 2007

Posts14, 2007

Posts14, 2007

Susanna Peijari

The Dance

“I think there are some similarities in living, dancing and building a leaf-shaped house.
– Some things must be done by the rules.
– Some things must (and should) be improvised.
But the only way to get the best of it is to enjoy it.

My gift to the house are the dancing footsteps on the bottom of the bridge (which is connecting the second floor front bedroom to the other parts of the house). The footsteps dance diagonally over the bridge making a quick, light turn in the middle. Which way they dance is not important. They can be arriving from day´s work to rest, or they can be on their way to give a new morning their best wishes. Which dance are they dancing, or are they dancing it correctly is not important either. The important thing is just dancing.

A bridge is (for me) a symbol of life. We are constantly moving from one phase to another, building new bridges, big and small, leaving some behind etc. I try to remember to dance over my bridges (and not to burn them behind me.)”

Susanna Peijari graduated from the Turku Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. Along with her installations and graphic art works, she has been doing wall painting projects for schools and illustrations for books.

Robert Powell

Leaf House Welcome

Wecome poem for teh leaf house written on the inside of the entrance door. The poem can only be read through the mirror opposite the door.

I am Leaf.
I unfurl, flag-fly, spin sun
into breath, come
adrift to sail, return.
The world hangs from me.

I am House —
a beached boat of needs. Rain
takes my shape, I melt snow, fold
love & pain inside
to become home.

I am Leaf House —
root house, sky house.
Enter me, be
safe & wander, dream.
The artist’s eye is all our I’s.

Jyrki Siukonen

Stuttering Modernist Shit.

Assemblage made for the toilet. Installed in the toilet on the first floor.

Jyrki Siukonen is an artist who and makes installations and assemblages. He is also writer and researcher.


Jyrki Siukonen

Pierre St. Jaques

The video is filmed from the roof of the Grand Central Station in NY. It will be shown under a slit in the floor as shown in the sketch.

Pierre St-Jacques is a video artist living in New York.

Pierre St-Jacques2Pierre St-Jacques





Pertti Toikkanen

Light Fixture in the kitchen

Jan-Kenneth Weckman

Drawing on the surface of the owen

Jan-Kenneth Weckman is a visual artist from Turku, Finland, mostly concerned with painting and drawing

“To do something for Jan-Erik and his project Life on a Leaf, his, Marjo’s and Adrian’s new house, was a major pleasure.
Honored to be invited to manipulate the surface of the open-fire structure, in Finnish “takka”, it took only a couple visits. First, we tried out, with the help of Juha Konkka, the expert on the materials, how I could make a tight surface by drawing directly in the wet plaster.

In this drawing I was actually using the same shapes that I had been using for my next exhibition of paintings, which in itself is something new, or actually something really old. I started out with the same kind of expression in the 1960:ties. But it was forbidden in the art school. I was to be educated in abstraction with a geometric or cubist flavor. So this drawing style, somewhat in the direction of the Moomin creator Tove Jansson having a nightmare, disappeared from my work for some decades. Now it is back!

Some years ago I had the experience to paint similar kind of shapes on huge ceramic eastern eggs! The images on the Takka-piece is, then, a continuation of both my earliest and the latest interests in painting and drawing. The Takka has no coloured contrasts except what the light makes to the relief drawing. The shapes resemble a little bit some kind of organic form, but they have no specific source. The drawing evolved only as in a dialogue with its own restrictions, corners, sides, up and down, openings and edges. Contrary to my first plans, I left open areas without drawing and the winding forms became more visible this way. The Takka got images, not a texture. This happened quite naturally as I made the traces with a wooden stick.”

Jan Kenneth Weckman august 27th 2008 in Rusko


Jan-Kenneth WeckmannJan-Kenneth Weckmann ja muurari


Jan-Kenneth Weckman (right) is making a try out with the brick layer Juha Konkka (left), to see how a drawing can be made on the plaster surface.

Joonas Mikola

Buxo Birdhouse

”Buxo Birdhouses, yellow. Limited edition of ten birhouses were made in 2011. The idea was to make a bit illegal environmental art around the Finland, and this ’yellow’ birdhouse is proudly a part of ”Life on a Leaf” project. Material: concrete and steel. Weight ~8kg.”

Joonas Mikola, born in 1987 in Turku. Works, lives and studies art education in Rovaniemi. I’m a young artist from Northern Finland and I’m inspired by many very different kind of things. Hot air balloons, Finnish nature, film material, silence, motorcycles, birds, birdhouses, boots and American old west itself. I like aerial things, spaces, space, and conversations between different elements and (ever-lasting) materials. I like to play around and experience.

Burtonwood + Holmes

Wallpaper for the toilet in the second floor


Karin Andersen

Science Kitchen

A digital image for the kitchen working table of Jan-Erik Andersson’s Life on a Leaf house.

The image is meant to create the illusion that the table is not a surface but a ”window”.
The virtual space under the kitchen table shows fantastic creatures and objects floating in absence of gravity.
Inspired by both science-fiction or space flight visuals and baroque frescos with trompe-l’aeil effects, the image tries to simulate a fantastic, science-fiction like situation, featuring digitally manipulated zoomorphic characters and everyday elements like kitchen equipment that will turn into alien hi-tech devices with peculiar functions.
The composition should be like an irregular pattern, creating a sensation of spacial depth but no classical central perspective: just like life in a space module interior where everything is weightless and concepts like upside or downside have no real meaning.

Karin hopes that her project will not affect the quality of the food that will be prepared on the kitchen table in future…

Karin Andersen Science Kitchen

Karin Andersen is a media artist living in Bologna.

Doctoral study

Jan-Erik Andersson: LIfe on a Leaf -Iconic Space
My House as an Architectural Artwork

Demonstration of Knowledge and Skill for the Doctorate in Fine Arts, 8.11. 2008. Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Department for Postgraduate Studies.

Feel free to download the study in PDF format.

The Summary is in English, Swedish and Finnish.

The study, written in Swedish, consists of three different parts; Inledningen (Introduction), Dagboken ( The Journal), Teoriboken 1 & 2 (The Theory book 1 & 2).

Kindly, respect the copyright of the author. Without permission from the author no copying and/or distribution of the written material is allowed.

The study has been published in English and Finnish:

Life on a Leaf -book

The book is based on Andersson’s Doctorate
in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.

Life on a Leaf -book


Turkulainen taiteilija Jan-Erik Andersson yhteistyökumppaneineen suunnitteli ja rakensi lehdenmuotoisen talon, joka on herättänyt suurta kansainvälistä huomioita. Andersson kuvaa koko prosessin mukaansatempaavasti ja kertoo valaisevin havainnoin, millaista on asua kokonaistaideteoksessa. Hän haluaa osoittaa, että tulevaisuuden rakennukset pitäisi tehdä taiteilijoiden, arkkitehtien, käsityöläisten ja käyttäjien yhteistyönä, lähtökohtanaan unelmat, tarinat, mielikuvitus, vapaus, yllätykset ja ekologia.

Elämää lehdellä -kirja


The stories written by Jan-erik Andersson influenced the design of the house.

Erik XIV and Karin Mansdotter

It’s autumn and the blue colour abandons the leaves of the trees and disappears up into the sky, turning the leaves yellow and the sky deep blue. A strong wind moves along Vita Bergen in Stockholm, where August Strindberg stands painting. The wind hurls the leaves in spirals into the air. The restless atmosphere is suitable for painting, not for writing. Strindberg brushes away the dancing leaves with his paintbrush and a few droplets of paint fly off and land on a leaf. The paint seems to give the leaf extra energy. It’s thrown further up in the air and is caught by a strong gust which carries it eastwards, towards Finland, towards Turku. The city towers up like a grey, silent wall of stone against the Russian empire. A part of Finland, the godforsaken and lost part of the Swedish kingdom. Strindberg sees the leaf disappear, then returns to his reverie of canvas and paint.
The great walls of Turku castle tumble away when Erik XIV outlines her contours with a light hand on a dirt-coloured slip of paper. She is so beautiful, so soft, with a voice that creates music in his head. There is no drawn line that can equal his memory of her naked body when it shivers in the chill of the morning. But the drawing, despite its clumsiness, makes her presence real to him. And the very activity of drawing provides a moment of release from the disturbing thoughts that form like clouds in his mind at times like these, storming those insensitive walls. At moments he can smell her skin as she emerges from bathing in the sea, but it is soon replaced by the smell of dank stone, sweat and wood that surrounds him, filling his body with relentless fear. He will never see her again. Looking out through the barred window to the far side of the river provides no peace. She lives there. Even from here he can distinguish the small human creatures, ant-like in the distance, impossible to control. One of them might even be her, Karin Månsdotter.
Erik XIV looks out through the prison window and sees a leaf that has reached higher than the others, twirling outside the bars, beyond the glass pane. Suddenly it is stuck flat against the glass, like a herald for the mild and weak, its strong veins forming a geometrical pattern. He puts aside the piece of charcoal he’s been drawing with, and reaches towards the window. With his forefinger he draws out the contours of a heart around the shape of the leaf where it clings on the outside. He bends forward and gives it a kiss.
The surface of the leaf seems to come alive. The veins turn into small paths, the dark flecks into houses, the colours into fields and meadows. He sees a little house in which he and Karin are hiding, far from the fortresses of power. The house takes its shape from the leaf and melts into the scents and shapes of the air and woods around it.
Then the storm unfurls itself over the landscape and lashes of rainwater grasp at the leaf on the prison window. The leaf loses its grip and is thrown once more into the wind, which carries it over the River Aura to the far shore. There, it drifts gently down into a quiet valley in front of a wooded cliff.


Karin Mansdotter and the snails

Karin Månsdotter is walking on the shore, back and forth in the wild patterns of increasing hysteria. The autumn wind is already so cold that she would normally need to cover her head. But since her head feels overheated by thoughts about the transience and randomness of existence, it gives her a sense of freedom and oneness with nature to let the wind bite at her skull and numb her mind.
Her beloved, King Erik XIV, is still imprisoned in Turku castle on the far side of the water. Uncertainty about his fate has changed her life and created new, desperate habits. Several days a week, when the weather permits, she rows over to the island opposite the castle, the one that the local inhabitants call Hirvensalo. From there she can see the tower of the castle and imagine Erik sitting by one of the barred windows, perhaps watching her. Sometimes, standing there, she imagines flying up into the air and meeting Erik on one of the clouds in the clear blue sky, where they make love joyously and weightlessly. But then the cloud becomes ice-cold and she drifts alone back to earth, like snow.
Now, back in reality, she walks in the cold autumn wind into a little clearing that forms a protective haven below a steep rocky cliff. She sees something gleaming on the ground next to one of the wild apple trees. Although she knows she should get home quickly before the darkening weather gets worse, her curiosity gets the upper hand.
She leaves the safety of the path and ventures out on the wet ground towards the apple tree. But she trips on a protruding root and falls, gashing her leg and hip on a stone. She screams in pain and loses consciousness. Waking later from pain and cold she tries to get up but can’t. Providence, that has given her so much of love and power in her life, now seems to have abandoned her, helpless and alone on the ground in the woods. Time passes, panic grows. This is a road that few people use, and she has no idea when or even if they will start looking for her.
Lifting her head she notices that her white dress has provided a painterly canvas for the red blood as it meets and mixes with the blue-brown wet clay into various shades of umber and autumn. And despite her predicament, in a kind of reverie, she cannot help but reflect on the unexpected beauty of the deep red where it meets the intense white. It makes her think of the beautiful colours of life in the royal court, which she had experienced for such a short intense time.
She has fallen close to one of the apple trees, whose trunk has been turned almost black by damp and decay. There are still patches of grass between the flecks of newfallen snow that are already being stained a dirtier white by the heavy clay on the ground. The green colour of the grass has gained a brilliant intensity against the white of the snow. Near her is a fallen apple, so black that no animal has touched it. The last thing she sees is an army of small black creatures crawling slowly up her torn dress. She had never thought of snails as dangerous, but seeing them now in their hundreds, she loses consciousness and waits for death.


Pehr Kalm

It was extremely warm and the stench of the city was unbearable, even though the worst heat of summer was long past. So as to get some fresh air and make a last
inspection before the winter, Professor Pehr Kalm had decided to row across to the garden that he had created out on Sipsalo manor in Hirvensalo, an island in the River
Aura. The garden was an outlying annex to the botanical utility garden that he,
together with Johan Leche, had created near the Turku Cathedral in 1757. After all the problems that he had had during the summer germinating the seeds he had collected in America, it was necessary to carry out the hibernation correctly. Despite all his efforts to protect the plants from frost, he knew that many of them would probably not survive. Yet it was worth the effort.
Kalm decided not to row all the way, but to go ashore by the little village opposite the castle, and then make the rest of the journey on foot. He knew that in the Renaissance the castle had been a residence, modest but still unique and impressive in a poor country like Finland. Now it served only as a prison – and no longer for kings, as before, but for common criminals.
Kalm was an optimist. He believed that by investing in science and education, a better future was possible, even in a country at the periphery of civilization, like Finland. That is why it was important to make sure that the garden would flourish. His vision was that it should be feasible to develop useful plants that can stand this climate, and he had the University’s full support to explore new cultivation methods.
Kalm started walking along the road in the woods towards Sipsalo, thinking fondly about the garden’s rational, geometrical structure, when he noticed how illogical and organic the route of the winding road was. It should really have been straight – then he’d have saved some time! There is beauty in simplicity, he thought. His botanical utility garden was shaped around a rectangle, a divine geometry that distinguishes us from Nature. Mankind is, after all, the pinnacle of Creation.
He breathed in the scent of hundreds of different flowers and trees. Just then, he was reminded of his physical existence by a pressure in his groin. He had to stop to relieve himself. He stood in a clearing where some wild apple trees were growing, haphazardly directing the stream of his urine to the south, so that the sun, which had just appeared from behind the grey clouds, made it glow strangely. At the same moment he thought he saw an object gleaming on the ground a short distance away. It was not easy to discern, obscured as it was by a particularly thriving stock of giant hogweed. Furthermore, the ground in which it grew had an oddly familiar, human shape – the shape of a woman lying just beneath the soil!
Buttoning his trousers, Kalm pushed into the giant hogweed towards the spot. Using his walking stick to strike at a particularly large plant, he broke its stem and was immediately enveloped by an indescribably sweet and sour odour. His nostrils dilated and he staggered back, gasping for breath. His last sensation was of a rainfall of small, sharp needles shooting from the stem of the giant hogweed, and a liquid that flowed over him in an unbridled stream.

The blue ferry

The little boy lies on a hill. In the bright moonlight of the Brazilian night the hill is not black but white. His father has disappeared, gone with Alzheimer’s into the silence. The boy gazes up at the stars that look different here in the Southern hemisphere than they do in the North. He turns his head 180 degrees and admires the silence that speaks from outer space in the steaming night that smells of hot sand, palm-leaves, decaying wood, and oil from the generator in the village. He remains slumbering the whole night on the sand. In the morning he is woken up by a colibri that has stopped in midair in front of his eyes. Everything is still, safe in ultra-rapid. Today the boy is due to go to meet a teacher who works with the children in the little village on the island off the Brazilian coast.
He sets off, but when he reaches the place where the school is supposed to be, the only thing he sees is a big tree. Then he hears laughter coming from the tree, and discovers a group of children – ten of them – sitting in the branches. One by one they jump down onto the ground, followed by their teacher, a young woman from Sao Paulo who has come here as a volunteer to teach the children. Why yes, the school works in the tree, she says, but we also have a table with benches here next to it, where we can work with paper and pencil. The boy sits down and starts drawing what life looks like in a country that has ice and snow. Meanwhile the other children draw their reality, with colourful fish, turtles and canoes.
After some time the boy leaves school, carrying in his mind images of sun and sand, leaving behind a sheet of drawings filled with black, white, grey and blue. The boy wanders for a long time along the abandoned sandy beach, with the ocean on one side and the impenetrable jungle on the other. He sees no one, except for one man who approaches him wielding a huge machete. But the man passes by without pausing or saying a word, just as a woodsman might back home in cold, old Finland.
The boy reaches a village that has a ferry connection to the next island. The ferry only goes a couple of times a day, and is just about to leave. It’s small, made of iron, its deck a rectangular plate on which wooden benches are fastened, just like in a church. Blue painted posts sprout from the deck, holding up a roof. The boy sits down among the other passengers, mostly very dark-skinned women dressed in white. The ferry chugs slowly out from the harbour. The boy thinks of his father, a ship’s captain who sailed the seven seas. He remembers seeing photos of his father tarred black, a ritual that was carried out on cargo ships whenever they crossed the equator, heading south. Now, in a way, he feels he’s following in his father’s voyaging footsteps, but doing it his own way.
The boy wakes from his daydream and discovers that the ferry is not heading towards the next island at all, but out into the open sea, the Atlantic Ocean. He also notices that nobody else is with him anymore. The ferry moves forward, ghostlike, the coast behind disappearing and the waves ahead growing bigger. This was the way that the Portuguese had come when they first arrived in South America. Now the boy is heading on the same route but in reverse, back, straight towards Africa. The little ferry moves steadily onwards, under the huge blue sky.


Hidden in the Prow

The little boy held his legs tightly together, bending them closer to his body to keep whatever little warmth was left in him. His fingers were white, even though it was the middle of June. But summers in Finland can be cold when the wind comes in from the ice sea in the North. Under him he felt the hard, uncomfortable construction of the little tree boat, hand carved by his uncle. His eyelids fell slowly in time with the rhythm of the waves, and he was lulled into a dreamlike anguish in that little boat, sensing the immense black sea beneath him. He was vaguely conscious of the a mild smell of wood varnish mixed with the steam of the old Seagull engine that slowly, but loudly, moved the boat forward through the narrow coastal inlet.
The boy held his breath to hear the waves better, lapping against the prow of the boat, a quiet churning so different from the waves that hit the boat with a roar and a bang in stormy weather. Here he lies, the son of the sea captain, under the little bench in the bow of the boat. This is his place; he is safe here. There is no need to talk, only to be, with his father steering the boat. The boy looks at his thin white fingers; not the fingers of an old sea dog from the salty seas, alas, rather they are sensitive and very pale. He believes this is because there are so many thoughts in his head that all his blood is needed there: his fingers and toes just have to do without it.
If I could ever build a house, he thinks, I would build it shaped like the bow of a boat. Then it would be a house where I could sleep without nightmares.
But it was summer now and the sky was clear blue. The terrifying school is gone, the one that turns his speech into a jumble of stuttered vowels and consonants, and into a silence so loud that it seems to speak – yet never says what he wants, wants, wants, wants, wants.
Looking up, he notices that his father is wearing a funny white seaman’s cap. An ordinary seaman’s cap on a captain! And the thought occurs that perhaps his father doesn’t really want to be captain. A captain has to make decisions, always know where he is heading, has to sit and eat alone. Maybe he would rather be an ordinary seaman, just following orders. And just then – hey! – there goes the cap up in the air, heading over the water towards land!
His father steered hard to one side, so that the small wooden boat lurched heavily, because he wanted to get his cap back. Luckily the boat happened to be close to land and he and his father went ashore on a small stretch of sandy beach that lay between the surrounding dockyards. The cap had disappeared a little higher up in a clearing near the steep cliffs, and father and son ran after it with little hope of getting it back.
On and on the cap travelled, up the cliff and into some woods. The boy wondered whether it was worth all this effort to get the old, yellowed cap back. But his father continued further into the woods, where walking became difficult. Maybe Daddy needs a new hat, thought the boy, and saw in front of him a huge over-nourished bluebell, whose colour was so bright it competed with the sky. Maybe this could make a new hat for Dad! The boy snatched the bluebell from its stalk and was just about to give it to his father when suddenly they halted in surprise. They had arrived in a clearing, with two blackened shapes on the forest floor in front of them. The shapes looked like grave mounds and were surrounded by giant hogweed plants that seemed to stand guard over them.
On the ground, between the mounds, an object gleamed strangely. Both the boy and his father remained still, breathless, looking. They could feel that this was a special place, haunted yet calm, a solemn place where something significant had happened, maybe long time ago.
On top of the first black mound there was a very large birch leaf. Without thinking, the boy reached out and put the bluebell, not on his father’s head, but on the leaf. This is what my house will look like, he thought, a house in which it is possible to make silence speak.



Architect Erkki Pitkäranta
Construction planning (Building and foundation) Mikko Siren
Construction planning (Foundation/partly) Pentti Savolainen
3D modelling & CAD drawings Oliver Walter
CAD drawings Heikki Pietiläinen
DWV planning Timo Vättö
Electricity planning Antti Koponen
Web site design Marjo Malin
VRML modeling Pasi Kivimäki


Project consultant Veijo Honka
Building master in charge Pekka Kallio
Carpenters/concrete work Heikki Heinonen & Juvonen
Construction measuring Reijo Kautonen
Electrical installations Turun Kiinteistösähkö Oy
DWV (Drain, Waste, Vent) works Turun Tasokaivuu Oy
Wooden window profiles Puutyöliike Reijo Rasi Ky
Window glasses Lasiluoto


Painting assistant Aino-Maria Niemelä
Small scale model building assistant Dafna Maimon
Dining table building and planning assistant Anu Mäkinen
Assistant for making the concrete ornamentation Sara Nilsson
Assistant for making the cabinet-wall-sculpture Viktor Nylund
Assistant for making the ornamentation on the second floor Matilda Ekman



Konepaja Veljet Saarenhovi ( All metal works)
Rakennuslaskenta NHL (Project supervisor)
Finnforest (Glulam wooden beams for support)
Carrier/Warmia (Geothermal heat pump/floor heating)
Contesta Oy (Outdoor concrete table)
Nikkarimarkkinointi (CNC cutting for the dining table)
Hakulan puu (Provider of wood products)
Ovitehdas Vihanto (Provider of wooden doors)
Kurkelan metallituote (Provider of the chimney)
AD LUX (Provider of full spectrum lights)
Forbo (Linoleum pattern on the second and third floors)
Lightpress (Wallpaper printing)


Vesa Aaltonen
Matti A. Kallio

Main Supporters

The generous support of Liisa and Reijo Joronen has in a significant way made the house project possible.


Finnish Cultural Foundation
Arts Council of Finland
Svenska kulturfonden
Academy of Fine Arts



Life on a Leaf -book

The book is based on Andersson’s Doctorate in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.

Life on a Leaf -book


”Mikä pakottaa meidät viettämään elämämme suorakaiteiden sisällä? Mihin jäivät jugendjulkisivujen sammakot ja hirviöt? Miksi emme voisi asua hatussa, kukassa tai lehdessä?

Turkulainen taiteilija Jan-Erik Andersson yhteistyökumppaneineen suunnitteli ja rakensi lehdenmuotoisen talon, joka on herättänyt suurta kansainvälistä huomioita. Andersson kuvaa koko prosessin mukaansatempaavasti ja kertoo valaisevin havainnoin, millaista on asua kokonaistaideteoksessa. Hän haluaa osoittaa, että tulevaisuuden rakennukset pitäisi tehdä taiteilijoiden, arkkitehtien, käsityöläisten ja käyttäjien yhteistyönä, lähtökohtanaan unelmat, tarinat, mielikuvitus, vapaus, yllätykset ja ekologia.”

Elämää lehdellä -kirja

Life on Leaf -small book

”Taiteilija Jan-Erik Anderssonin rajoja ylittävä kokonaistaideteos, lehdenmuotoinen omakotitalo Life on a Leaf, valmistui Turkuun elokuussa 2009 kymmenen vuoden prosessin jälkeen. Uniikki talo, joka toimii Anderssonin perheen asuntona, on suunniteltu yhdessÄ arkkitehti Erkki Pitkärannan kanssa.”

Life on a Leaf -small book


”Celebrating the ultimate masterpieces of modernist design, from the Arts and Crafts movement up to the twenty-first century, Total Design offers an intimate tour of houses conceived as complete works of art. Each of the spectacular houses making up Total Design demonstrates how an architect realized a unifying vision through all aspects of design—architecture, furniture, fittings, decorative objects, color, and gardens. Presenting masterpieces of modern architecture conceived as complete works of art inside and out, author George H. Marcus, a veteran chronicler of modernist design, delivers a highly accessible tour of the creations of some of the twentieth century’s greatest architects and designers, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Gio Ponti. Together these masterworks of design offer a stunning survey of the many modes of modernist design, from the inventive refinement of Pierre Chareau to the colorful Nordic forms of Finn Juhl to the twenty-first-century expressionism of Daniel Libeskind.”

George H. Marcus: Architecture and Interiors of Iconic Modern Houses 


”Vi behöver en arkitektur som är baserad på färg, fantasi och överraskningar. Bland finländska arkitekter har ordet Wau-arkitektur fått en negativ klang. Men jag tror att arkitekterna borde lära sig – just precis det – att skapa byggnader som får betraktaren att säga Wau!”, säger Andersson.
Ett sätt att göra detta är att ta med konst och konstnärer för att utforma byggnaderna till överraskande helheter där ornamentik och konstnärliga inslag genomsyrar hela byggnaden, även dess form.
Andersson gör en resa börjande från Tölöviken till olika byggnader i Finland och utomlands där han träffar arkitekter, självlärda byggare och även beslutsfattare för att diskutera varför vår byggda miljö är så steril, tråkig och likformad. Andersson påstår att det inte primärt handlar om pengar, utan är resultatet av ett slappt och rigoröst tänkande och en arkitektkår som med en skråliknande pietet bevakar vad som ska anses vara god smak och vad inte.”

Wow åsikter om finländsk arkitektur


”Miksi emme näe hatun- ja kukanmuotoisia taloja? Missä ovat luovuuden rajat arkkitehtuurissa? Mihin katosi ornamentiikka? Taiteilija Jan-Erik Andersson ja kuraattori Jen Budney etsivät vastauksia näihin kysymyksiin.

Kuvataiteen ja arkkitehtuurin suhdetta valottaa myös Wäinö Aaltosen museossa Turussa 25.5. – 16.9.2007 esiteltävä kansainvälinen näyttely WILD – Fantasia ja arkkitehtuuri. Fantasia-arkkitehtuuriin keskittyvässä kokonaisuudessa on mukana suurnimiä 1900-luvun alussa vaikuttaneesta Antonio Gaudista aina tämän hetken maailmantähtiin kuten Vito Acconciin ja Will Alsopiin.”

WILD – Fantasia ja arkkitehtuuri


You can also buy books directly from The Life on a Leaf -house. Please contact

House tours

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Photo: Vesa Aaltonen

Experience the Unique Leaf House

Guided tours of the Leaf house are arranged for groups. Artist Jan-Erik Andersson presents the building process and the house. Maximum group size is 25 people, and the price is 300 €.
If you are interested, please contact Marjo Malin to discuss a suitable time for the visit or +358 40 7021 390.

Elämys Life on a Leaf -talossa

Life on a Leaf -talossa järjestetään ryhmille tunnin kestäviä innostavia ja ajatuksia herättäviä opastettuja kierroksia. Taiteilija Jan-Erik Andersson kertoo taloprosessista ja talo esitellään kokonaisuudessaan. Kierroksen aihetta voi myös kohdentaa, jos ryhmä on kiinnostunut esim. luovuudesta, rakennusprosessista, materiaaleista tai tekniikoista.
Ryhmän enimmäiskoko on 25 henkilöä. Kierroksen hinta on 300 euroa.
Sopivaa aikaa voi tiedustella sähköpostitse: tai soittamalla numeroon +358 40 7021 390. Tervetuloa!
Yritykset ja yhteisöt voivat myös käyttaa talon alakertaa halutessaan poikkeavan ja innostavan ympäristön palavereihinsa. Tiedustelut: tai soittamalla numeroon +358 40 7021 390.

Upplev det unika Life on a Leaf huset

Vi arrangerar möjligheter för grupper att besöka huset. Konstnär Jan-Erik Andersson presenterar huset och byggprocessen. Vi kan även skräddarsy presentationen mot olika specialområden; byggteknik, kreativitet, de inbjudna konstnärerna, arkitekturfilosofi etc.

Var god, kontakta Marjo Malin för att diskutera en möjlig tidpunkt för besöket marjo.malin(at) eller ring +358 40 7021 390.

Vi kan även erbjuda firmor en möjlighet att använda husets första våning som en stimulerande mötesmiljö.


Life on a leaf

Pikisaarentie 4
FIN-20900 Turku

Mobile: +358 40 7021390