As part of a product development project course, Koskisen’s Panel Industry gave wood technology students at Lahti University of Applied Sciences the assignment of designing interior furnishings from birch plywood according to a ‘Tiny house’ concept. The dwellings could be no larger than 7.5 m2.
A total of 12 wood technology students took part in the project. They formed two groups of six students each, and basically were given free rein to design the tiny houses as they wished. The only stipulations were the size of the space and the materials used: the entire interior had to be designed with birch plywood.
In the assignment, the students were encouraged to be innovative and cost-effective, to make maximum use of the space, and to think of the many opportunities birch plywood offers in interior design.
“Koskisen’s ‘Tiny house’ project is an excellent fit for our product development project. The most important thing about these projects is that they are truly co-operation projects, where the students gain practical experience working on customer projects and taking part in creative teamwork,” says Jari-Pekka Suominen, Principal Lecturer in wood technology at Lahti University of Applied Sciences.
Despite some initial challenges, the students were also very open to the project, as it was something totally new to them.
“This has been an interesting product development project, even though it was challenging at first to wrap our heads around all the building regulations and other things that need to be taken into account in interior design,” says wood technology student Paula Toivonen.
Through the project, the students gained first-hand knowledge of working with birch plywood as a material. Although birch plywood was a familiar material to many of them, the different coatings and their suitability for different end uses were new.
Koskisen was also pleased with the project. “Co-operating with students gives us new perspectives on work, and at the same time, they get to know our company. There is currently a lot of interest in ‘Tiny house’-type homes, so it was interesting to see how the students approached the concept. It also increased their product awareness, which will hopefully bear fruit down the road, wherever they end up working,” says Riitta Ahokas, Manager of R&D for Koskisen’s Panel Industry.