Project Description

Background & Challenge

In March 2018, six design students and three teachers specializing in ceramics from Aalto University’s Department of Design, travelled to Jingdezhen, China—the source and birthplace of porcelain manufacture, where they created 24 unique vases on the spot during a 24-day workshop. One of the vases, “Pikkupomelo” by Saija Halko, was commissioned to be a VIP gift, which Dr. Pekka Mattila, the Managing Director of Aalto EE, will give in person to international executive leaders while travelling abroad. The challenge was to design a package that complements the “Pikkupomelo” vase –  a package that communicates the Aalto University Executive Education values, the premium-ness of the vase, while abiding by the gift-giving rituals.


After rigorous research into the client and the definition of quality and luxury, the brief was turned into a design goal – to create a memorable unboxing experience by activating the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch. Together with the vase, the package was to be considered a work of art.

Five concepts and more than 20 prototypes were explored throughout the entire process. In the end, the final design was produced, where the colours of the package became a reminder of the Jingdezhen porcelain, and beautifully echoed the vase colours of the “Pikkupomelo”. The iconic slanted edge of the package is a subtle nostalgia of the Gaoling mountain terrains, hinting at the story of the vase.

Student Team:

  • Nga Nguyen
  • Lilla Tóth
  • Johanna Tarkiainen
  • Cecillia van Dongen