Alden Jaakola

Alden Jaakola

Minneapolis, MN, US

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Alden is a multimedia artist-designer fabricating works that ask viewers to interact and consider the way their bodies interact with the built environment. By imposing use on objects, what forms are produced by ergonomic imperative, and which by culture? Where does culture inform ergonomics? 

Alden works most often in wood and cast metal, traveling around the United States as a visiting artist to public cast iron art events that engage the public with the craft of small scale blast furnace operation and cast iron sculpture. In their free time Alden uses their leatherwork experience to make their own custom workwear and safety equipment.



Softline Brand Partners, Minneapolis, MN, US, Leatherworker

Followed written instructions to Worked independently on assigned tasks that utilized both heavy machinery and delicate hand-tool work to make small leather goods with a high standard of quality while tracking time for efficiency

Jul 2019 - Feb 2020

Design U - Student Design Consultancy, Minneapolis, MN, US, Design Team Lead

Led teams of students to provide nonprofits and startups with product design consultation based on the design thinking process. Produced design documentation for consumer products, built custom furniture and developed physical prototypes for ergonomic furniture

Sep 2015 - May 2018

University of Minnesota College of Design Photography Lab, Minneapolis, MN, US, Lab Attendant

Aided design students in the use of photography equipment to facilitate project documentation, organized and maintained equipment, and independently used equipment to film lectures

Sep 2016 - May 2017

TEDxUMN, Minneapolis, MN, US, Stage Designer

Designed and led the construction of two sets by coordinating with stage managers and the TEDxUMN Board to create a stage suited to the themes of each event

Nov 2015 - Nov 2016


University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, US, Bachelors, Bachelors of Design Architecture

Sep 2015 - May 2019


School of Architecture/Bachelor of Design in Architecture Team Award, Award

This year, 14 BDA students, guided by three instructors, partnered with Art Shanty Projects to design and build a new Welcome Shanty for this non-profit organization's annual Art Shanty Projects 2018 On-Ice Program—this year on Lake Harriet/Bde Unma for the first time. Art Shanty Projects board members estimate 40,000 visitors to the event over its four weeks on the ice.

This team of BDA students represented the School of Architecture in the College of Design, and the University of Minnesota more generally, as wonderfully creative, dedicated and professional collaborators. They worked with one another to focus myriad ideas into a single resolution; they worked countless hours to meet deadlines and to get the shanty on the ice (on a frigid Saturday!); and they learned more about the design process by being challenged with the need to realize their drawings and models at full scale. We are so proud of these 14 students and grateful to their instructor-team who took on this project: Adam Jarvi, Sam Clausen, and Sean Wagner.


Areas of Specialization