Finland is famous for the high quality, style, and functionality of its objects made for the home, as well as the creative resourcefulness of its designers. Note the craftsmanship in the ceramic vessel Inverno II by Kati Tuominen-Niittylä, the recyclability of the Kenno cardboard furniture by Heikki Ruoho, and the durability of the leather-covered HK 002 chair by Harri Koskinen. Nature themes and natural materials are prevalent, from the wood used in the dome-shaped Octo 4240 lamp to Maija Louekari’s Kaiku fabric featuring birch trees, common in Finland’s forests.
Rest and recreation are central to Finnish life, facilitated by summer homes, sports, and places for everyday meditation and rejuvenation, such as home saunas. Juhani Pallasmaa’s secluded House of Silence and the micro-vacation house by Verstas Architects help people connect more closely with nature, while the Fiskars X 25 Splitting Axe and Rapala fishing lures are not just recreational standbys but important Finnish design exports.
Art jewelry and fashion embody key elements of Finnish identity. Tarja Tuupanen’s white opal brooch and Terhi Tolvanen’s Printemps necklace of wood and unpolished quartz emphasize the beauty of raw natural materials. Marita Huurinainen’s Emo dress and Ivana Helsinki’s feathery Velvet Lake dress are inspired by nature and mythology.
Finns are rejuvenating urban life with an eye toward ecology and the greater good, weaving new architecture into the historic fabric of cities, creating public saunas, promoting alternative transportation, and taking advantage of natural resources in the development of new structures—without exploiting them. Pelago’s Brooklyn bicycle and the sensitively designed Saaristokatu (Archipelago Avenue) in Kuopio, for instance, respect nature while encouraging walking, biking, and public transportation.
Finnish designers are known for their innovations in technology, cuisine, graphic design, and systems design. Rovio’s Angry Birds has become a major export in game design and a catalyst for further Finnish game development. Seungho Lee’s Beef Finland project offers a strategically designed approach to sustainable food production. Esa Vesmanen’s Balance chair showcases an ecologically friendly way to lounge and listen.
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