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Lönnström Project 4

Floating Island

Raimo Saarinen | 2019–2022

Raimo Saarinen’s Floating Island is a large environmental artwork sited at sea. The sculptural work is about 25 square meters in area and it is kept afloat by a polystyrene core. The shell imitating natural rock is made of stained concrete. Living trees and other plants have been planted on the island, such as pine trees, juniper and mountain hemlock.

Set in the sea, the artificial island invites us to reflect upon the Western idea of nature. We humans have for a long time set ourselves, our culture and all the things we produce apart from nature. We glorify untouched nature, yet places where it can still be seen are very rare today. We have altered our environment so thoroughly that it is difficult to grasp all the changes that have taken place. Is it possible then to imitate nature? What should we think about a replica of nature created by an artist? Raimo Saarinen’s work examines the relationship between constructed and natural environments in a world where the imprint of humanity is found everywhere.

Floating Island is anchored in the Otanlahti bay, and City of Rauma has granted a permit to keep it there to the end of 2024. The work can be viewed from many places along the bay and its beaches, and is closest to the shore between the Fåfänga Pavilion and Merikylpylä saunas (Suvitie 4).

The island will be exposed to the weather conditions and seasonal changes of the west coast, living and changing with them.

Raimo Saarinen (b. 1984) specialises in using plants as material in his art. His works balance the vitality of environmentally sensitive plant life with the tangibility and permanence of sculptural materials. Floating Island is his first major public artwork.

Floating Island was towed to the Otanlahti bay in Rauma in June 2022. Filmed by Timo-Olli Airevuo.

Floating Island in autumn 2022. Filmed by Niko Tiainen.

Floating Island in winter 2022. Filmed by Niko Tiainen.

Floating Island on the map