Lönnström Project 4

Floating Island

Raimo Saarinen | 2019–2022

Floating Island is a portrait of a small island. An environmental artwork sited at sea, it pays tribute to the abundance of the natural world while investigating our conception of nature and the changes our actions have made in the natural environment. Massive construction projects all over the world have irrevocably altered landscapes as well as habitats of plants and animals alike. Is there anything in our built environment that we could still call authentic, original nature?

The body of the floating island is made of a concrete pontoon that imitates natural rock. The artificial island is about 30 square metres in area, and its moorings allow it to gently sway on the water. Real plants are planted on the island, and we will see whether they thrive there as well as they would on a natural rocky islet. And how will animals react to the new island in their environment?

Population growth, climate change and the increasing prevalence of cities on coastal areas have generated a widespread interest in opportunities to build on water. Floating structures are a burgeoning industry today. Artificial islands have been proposed as a solution to the increasing demand of land.

Floating Island will be moored in front of Fåfänga headland in summer 2022. The best spot for viewing the work is about a kilometre’s walk from the museum.

Raimo Saarinen (b. 1984) specialises in using plants as material in his artworks. He graduated with an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts. Saarinen lives and works in Helsinki.