The Helsinki Metro’s Kamppi metro station bears more than a passing resemblance to an enormous cave. This similarity is only bolstered by a prominent art installation that has been located on the station platform since 2013, featuring hundreds of signs pointing to the birthplaces of current Helsinki residents, which loom from above and form crystal-like stalactite structures.
The signs are the creation of artist Otto Karvonen, who was commissioned by the Helsinki Art Museum to create the piece. Spanning six continents and more than half of the world’s countries, “Roots of the City” prominently features many obscure towns that may be totally unfamiliar to most viewers. In this way, it emphasizes the diverse and cosmopolitan population of Finland’s capital city, and by extension, the welcoming place that Finland as a whole has become in the twenty-first century.