The most important building material in Kiasma is light. Architect Steven Holl was fascinated by the natural light in Finland, the way it lives with the changing seasons and times of day. The shapes and textures of the building were designed with light in mind. The character of natural light changes depending on the direction it is coming from, and artificial lighting in the building adapts to the natural light. Light in Kiasma is uniform in all its diversity.
The main entrance near the statue of Marshal Mannerheim brings the visitor into a high lobby under a glass ceiling. The underlying design principle was the idea of Zen-like peace coupled with a human scale. Staircases winding in different directions, curving corridors and ramps lead the viewer through all five floors of the building.
The unit in the scaling of spaces at Kiasma is the human body. One of the standards in the design of the building adopted by Steven Holl was eye-level at 165 cm. The height and width of doors, the grid on sliding doors and the proportions of the galleries are all based on the golden section.