We've reported on modern skate parks before, but rarely have we seen such a perfect marriage of skating and landscape design as the one embodied by the Finnish Janne Saario. Saario started skating when he was six, eventually got sponsored, and through his experience riding around the world he developed an interest in designing landscapes. He's got his own firm now, with a specialty in skate parks. Check out our slideshow of some of his designs as well as this great video that shows him at work and at play.
The massive Moon skate park will be part of a big multipark in Leppävaara, Espoo in Finland. It is made out of concrete, granite and steel and is a mixture of soft crater shaped transitions and common street obstacles. Construction is estimated to be ready in Autumn 2013.
Steelpark was built in the northern Swedish town of Luleå in the summer of 2011. Luleå is a harbor town which is famous for it's steel industry. The site has been a backyard meadow for the existing apartment buildings of the area, but over the years, the meadow had turned into city's stockyard and a random dirtbike track.
The design was assigned by a local skateboad club. They helped out finding the way to the junkyard of the steel factory, where all the old factory parts were collected for the park. A big ladle was placed on the highest part of the site to serve as a landmark and also a starting point to the pool feature that flows down to the main space. The materials are gray concrete, pigmented yellow concrete, gray granite, steel beams, and pipes and old factoryparts that are suitable for skateboarding and leisure.
Micropolis is a public park in Helsinki. The starting point in the design was to create a collage-type garden with shapes suited for skateboarding. Micropolis consists of various forms from the streets, of green areas and an organically shaped pool. The objective was to preserve all the trees in the area.
Completed in 2011 in Fiskars, Finland, Striitti is an indoor skatescape.
Skatepark Hilleri is located in Herttoniemi on the eastside of Helsinki. The renewed skate park is fully built out of concrete with steel and granite edges for grinding. The whole masterplan for the open space will be finalized in spring 2013.
”For me, skateboarding works as a good counterbalance for design work," Saario told Wastelands magazine, "and it used to work the other way around too; if my tricks weren’t hitting it, I knew that I can always go back to my drawing board.”
For a dynamic look at Saario as both a skater and a landscape designer, check out this great video made by Element Skateboards. You'll see the designer riding his deck, laying out the Steel Park skatepark in Luela, Sweden, and even working in the woods near a summer house in Finland. All in all it's a lovely portrait that charts how a youthful passion has led to a concern for spacemaking, a desire to give kids a place to play, and the beginning of a career in design.