Design Enabled Ecosystem for Prototyping Sustainable Futures

The Pink is a design-driven ecosystem where applied research for society is carried out. It is a platform for spearhead innovation and sustainable social transformation, located in the centre of Northern Scandinavia, Umeå. The Pink is an experiential window towards the future, where prototyping risk and navigating complexity are everyday practices. Making, creating and exploring are key to the activities here in The Pink: skills, knowledge and facilities for these practices are provided.

This ecosystem is part of RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) and, as such, has relationships to both public and private sectors, with connections to cultural institutions, academia, NGOs, industry and SME’s in the region, nationally and internationally.

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The Ecosystem

The ecosystem provides a platform where partners are able to use facilities, methodologies, tools and services provided within the building, and where everybody is expected to bring his or her own expertise and interests alive for others, within the community.

Being part of the ecosystem means

  • Having access to a network and innovation landscape;
  • Belonging to a life-long learning environment;
  • Being able to actively participate in workshops, events and seminars;
  • Being in a design driven environment, where futures are prototyped
Read more about the ecosystem


The Pink offers both spaces and an ecosystem. In these spaces, people can work, make, meet and connect. These spaces are beautiful, pregnant of a meaningful history and cherished by the citizens of Umeå. It is perfectly located with respect to services. The ecosystem is formed by people, spaces, facilities, methodologies for collaboration and the activities that are generated.

Being part of this ecosystem provides access to the local, national and international innovation landscapes, through RISE. Being part of the ecosystem means belonging to a life-long learning environment, where new skills and competences are constantly formed, through active participation of the members to workshops, events, collaborations and seminars.

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our ecosystem



Scharinska is an experiential window to the future. Here, the latest applied research results are accessible, and most of all, are applied in the daily work environment. This active engagement with the latest results and findings offers us ways to explore different potential futures on a daily basis, resulting in an open and accessible testing and experiential environment.




Prototyping the future is no guess work. It takes people – the right people – to be there, talk and make together constructively. At The Pink, we work with Transformative Practices, the cutting-edge methodology of design research for prototyping sustainable futures. We work on an international level that support diverse multi-stakeholder innovation processes.In such collaborations, professionals constantly develop new competences and are empowered to address contemporary and upcoming challenges, that are complex and require a systemic approach.




Prototyping can be done in many different ways, and may take many different forms. The results of prototyping can be a video or a story, a play or a model of a product. Creating these prototypes helps us to envision and explore new, unknown perspectives. In Scharinska, we are imbued with the spirit of prototyping: to work together and make and experiment with concrete proposals of what we can put in the world.




RISE is Sweden’s innovation partner, and Scharinska is the portal to RISE in the North of Sweden. Through Scharinska, members have direct access to the biggest pool of researchers and scientists in Scandinavia, with a finger on the pulse of innovation.

Scharinska Villan

A pink diamond in the North of Sweden

In the middle of the northern Swedish town of Umeå is a large pink building. In the past it has been a family home, a student house, a club for world-class jazz music, a stage for the emergence of hard core and straight edge rock, a blossoming hip-hop scene and a location that has experienced more legendary parties than most.
In 2018, the house enters a new role. A role that respects all these past manifestations, however looking into the future. But what is it to be? Who is going to walk its corridors and rooms, what will be made and shared from this unique cultural location?

Located in the center of Umeå

Roots of famous artists

Revived heritage

A brief history

Scharinska villan was designed by the architect Ragnar Östberg and it was constructed in 1904-1905 for Egil Unander-Scharin and his family. In the 1950s the building also housed the family business AB Scharins Söner. The front door at the main entrance has a scene in relief that is designed by Ragnar Östberg. The subject is an abundant foliage with the faces of seven kids with a stork in the middle. The seven faces symbolize the seven children in the Scharin family Scharinska villan is considered one of Östberg’s best works during his youth. Besides being a residence during its early years, the villa served different purposes such as a house of Umeå’s student community (1960), a music store, a guitar museum, rock bar (2006), night club and restaurant. During these times several famous bands (Refused) and artists (Ella Fitzgerald, Tove Styrke) found a stage in Scharinska. Umeå Kommun sold Scharinska Villan in March 2017 to Nordiska Centrumhus, current owners of the house.

an initiative of RISE

Our 3,000 employees support and promote all manner of innovative processes. RISE is an independent, state-owned research institute that offers unique expertise and about 130 testbeds and demonstration facilities, instrumental in future-proofing technologies, products and services. RISE is a non-profit organisation. The headquarters of RISE are located in Gothenburg, but we have employees all over Sweden.

For more information about RISE, visit the website:

The Pink is RISE’s Design Hub. By being part of Scharinska, members gain access to an experiential window into the future, where innovations, prototypes and knowledge of all of RISE are ubiquitous and have an ever-changing presence. The higher membership levels of Scharinska provides direct access to services offered by RISE.

RISE is the Swedish Research Institute and innovation partner. In international collaboration with industry, academia and the public sector, we ensure the competitiveness of the business community and contribute to a sustainable society.