April 23, 2013

ADD CAFE Could Change Your World

To the joy of all the cappuccino lovers in Otaniemi, a cafe was opened at the Aalto Digital Design Laboratory (ADDLAB) at the end of January.

The cafe has the same objective as the laboratory: to bring people together. While ADDLAB provides a meeting place for people interested in digital product development and manufacturing technology, ADD CAFE welcomes anyone who happens to be in the neighborhood. Random encounters can result in success stories.

ADD CAFE represents a new type of learning environment thinking and it is part of the Aalto University Library Learning Hub network. The spaces belonging to the network are adaptable and easy to approach, and they provide you with the opportunity to use the campus in an entirely new way.

Good ideas are often born over a cup of coffee

Cafes and studying have gone hand in hand for ages so it is justified to ask the founders of ADD CAFE what makes it so special.

Kivi Sotamaa, the director of ADDLAB, says that the team decided that there was no room for compromises during the design phase: the cafe should be made as good as possible. For this reason, the interior of the cafe has been invested in and the coffee drinks served are made using an Italian espresso machine, a masterpiece of engineering in itself.

The coffee beans, the most essential raw material of the cafe, are sourced through a carefully selected partner company. Hannes Kallioinen and Heikki Sjöman, the ℠fathers´ of the cafe, say that they spent days performing background work and trying to find the best coffee in town by visiting cafes in the Helsinki metropolitan area in the summer of 2012.

The heart of ADD CAFE is nevertheless formed by the people who pop in, either to enjoy a moment of refreshment or attend an event. Naturally, the role played by staff should not be forgotten either.

According to Hannes Kallioinen, the Aalto University Student Union is responsible for running the cafe and a group of approximately ten students mainly from the School of Engineering will work as part-time baristas during the term.

People and ideas need meeting places

The long opening hours of ADD CAFE will probably please a lot of people, but the challenging part may prove to be finding the place: the cafe is located in the remotest corner of a yard surrounded by buildings in the K block of Puumiehenkuja. Although the location may seem difficult to find, it has been strategically selected.

℠ADDLAB is a design-driven laboratory for applied research, and its credibility is largely based on the know-how in fields such as materials research and mechatronics that is available in the immediate vicinity of the laboratory,´ says Kivi Sotamaa. The fact that the Department of Engineering Design and Production is nearby is extremely important to the operation of ADDLAB.

The activities organized at the laboratory constantly take on new dimensions. Recent events include Build It, a 3D-printing hackathon organized in collaboration with Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, and the ADD METAPHYSICS publication series was also freshly introduced.

Heikki Sjöman sums up the idea of ADDLAB, its cafe and the Learning Hubs by saying that a change in our culture and way of thinking requires people and meeting places and platforms.

The terrace of the cafe will open once the temperatures rise after the First of May and the cheerful buzz of conversation from the terrace will no doubt attract people to visit the ADD CAFE and enjoy its delicacies.

ADD CAFE is open until June Mon—Fri at 8 am — 6 pm. On Monday 29 April ADD CAFE arranges a Pre First of May event.


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