Lasse Kosunen

Apartment Building in Vuores, Finland. Architectural Office Lasse Kosunen with artwork by Tuula Lehtinen.

Lasse Kosunen has been running his own architectural office focusing on construction of public buildings and spaces since 1985. In conjunction with his professional field practice, he also worked as a teacher of architectural engineering and cultural heritage management in the Tampere University of Technology’s School of Architecture for 14 years, till 1995.

In 2007 Lasse Kosunen and artist Tuula Lehtinen established an enterprise that specializes in managing construction of public art. In 2015, Kosunen withdrew from the director’s post in his architectural office in order to be able to focus fully on his chores as a facilitator of public art. The company Frei Zimmer functions as a constructor and a link between the different stakeholders in the process of realizing public art. It has initiated art programs to enrich different residential areas being built around Finland, and has also been awarded for its positive interference in urban planning. Frei Zimmer has also coordinated internationally curated competitions set to commission public art.

Maybe one of the most visible effects Frei Zimmer has had on the Finnish built landscape are the art programs Kosunen and Lehtinen designed along the highway E18, and for an underground lane in Tampere City. Additionally, in the Vaalimaa area close to the Russian border, packed with heavy-duty traffic, Frei Zimmer coordinated a competition to build a sculpture in a roundabout. Within these projects, over 80 public works of art have been commissioned and realized in Finland. Hence the company has been able to help employ dozens of visual artists in the country.

Organized and commissioned by Frei Zimmer, the artwork by Kislow and Kreemos at the Porvoo Culture and Congress Center.

At the moment, Lasse Kosunen is interested in expanding his knowledge on street art, as it is probably the most ubiquitous of all the public art forms. New York is one of the street art capitals of the world, where the concept has expanded to include not only commissioned or illegal, physical pieces but also the more temporary performances and events. During his one-month stay in New York, Kosunen is going to focus on acquainting himself with these new, multidisciplinary artistic phenomena taking place within the city structure. Moreover, he will research American models for financing art acquisitions. The information Kosunen will gain is primarily going to avail his endeavors in bridging art and architecture in public space.

Lasse Kosunen is FCINY’s artist-in-residence for the month on January.