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“People Flow is like cleaning – you don't pay attention to it when it's done properly. But when it doesn't work, you notice straight away," says Minna Piironen, service manager in KONE’s People Flow Consulting team.
Buildings are taller than ever before and expectations for a smooth user experience are also on the rise. Modern constructions may incorporate offices, restaurants, homes, hotels, and shopping areas – all under one roof.
In order to meet the growing requirements, facilities need to be functional, easy to navigate, and highly adaptable. Understanding the people who use a building is key for Piironen.
"These modern, complex buildings serve many different types of users and if the people flow doesn't work, it creates huge problems. We don't just offer technical planning – people are at the core of what we do, and the idea is to support the architect in their work," she explains.
When Piironen and a team of data scientists and architects begin a new project with an existing building, they start by collecting data using various methods such as heat mapping, where camera sensors collect data and create images to demonstrate how and where people move at different times.
"People flow is quite an abstract subject but when we visualize the data, it's a lot easier to understand and analyze. We then make a report to show the customer how the building currently functions and in what ways the people flow can be improved,” says Piironen.
A planning project normally lasts from six to eight weeks and the team works globally. Traveling is a crucial part of the job for Piironen, who is currently involved in construction projects in Finland, Poland and Australia, and recently came back from a cruise ship project in the Caribbean.
"I enjoy the varied job and being involved in different types of construction projects all over the world. That just wouldn’t be the norm in a regular design office job in Finland."
Service manager in KONE’s People Flow Consulting team. Interior architect. Employed by KONE since 2011.
What you didn't know about her
Piironen is an avid gardener and she grows tomatoes, herbs, potatoes, currants, apples and cherries in her backyard – just to name a few. She wrote her thesis on making use of rooftops in urban agriculture.
What gets her up in the morning
"I live in the middle of nature surrounded by pine trees and I love waking up to that view. It's usually my cat Kisu who greets me first thing by biting my toes when the alarm clock goes off – she just won't wait for her breakfast."