Monday, November 12, 2007

Bianco Blu ~ Modern Finnish Art Glass

Bianco Blu makes various glass products, including adornments, utility items, and works of art. They produce business presents for enterprises and manufacture items on order. BB designs all their products by themselves or co-operate with glass artists and designers, including Ristomatti Ratia, Pauli Partanen, Camilla Moberg, and Martti Aiha. BB also co-operates with Italian artist Mauro Capitani and Yong-Phil Lee from South Korea.

Tarmo Maaronen, the owner of Bianco Blu, has been blowing glass since 1979 when he started as a apprentice in Nuutajarvi Glassworks. In early 1990's Maaronen worked for several small glass studios in Finland and also taught Scandinavian glass blowing techniques in Florence Italy for a couple of years before opening his own studio, Bianco Blu in 1997. He has become one of the most respected and skilled glass-blowers in Scandinavia.

Reima Maaronen, Tarmo's older brother joined Bianco Blu in 2002. He also has a long career in glass blowing. Reima started blowing glass in 1972. He spent years in Nuutajarvi Glassworks before joining his brother in Bianco Blu.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Finnish Linen ~ Traditions In Modern Style

Elegance, durability and practicality are features that Finns have always demanded from the best interior design products and Finnish linen does not make exception!

Even the best weaving equipment will never replace skilled textiles professionals. The ability of the mill staff, the designers and the suppliers to cooperate seamlessly is a constant source of new ideas. Product development requires open-mindedness and the ability to deal with risks associated with innovation. Courage is required in order to question old practices, and this is a rare quality found in a select few. It is the designers’ job to courageously create linen interior design textiles for Scandinavian homes. In Finnish linen designs tradition and old world elegance unites with fresh modern ideas, creating curious and timeless beauty for any home.

Today, there are two major linen weaving mills Jokipiin Pellava and Lapuan Kankurit in Finland, both in traditional Ostrabothnia weaving area.

Jokipiin Pellava Oy is a family company founded in 1920. Until 1989 the company was known by the name "Jokipiin Villa- ja Pellavakehräämö Oy".

The raw material that we use is increasingly linen yarn that has been grown and refined in Finland. This is called Nord Lin linen. Linen farming re-started in Finland in the 90's. The largest areas in Finland are in the Ostrobothnian region.

Jokipiin Pellava is specialized in weaving linen terry towels and other linen textiles that fulfill the demands of home and public interiors.

Lapuan Kankurit Oy, founded in 1973, is a modern Jacquard-weaving mill seeking product ideas from current needs while paying homage to the strong Finnish textile traditions. Using the natural fibers of linen and cotton, they aim to design and manufacture modern, high-quality decorative textiles as well as textiles for everyday use.

All linen products are designed, manufactured and finished at companies’ own weaving mills in Finland.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stone Age ~ Rock Painting Design Stoneware

One of the most stunning new design Finnish stoneware is Stone Age series by Pekka Antikainen. The design is honoring Finnish and Sami heritage and it is based on 4000 - 7000 years old rock paintings in Finland. Kisil stone is quite heavy and has absolutely delightful smooth surface! All products are hand painted with vivid colors.

Pekka Antikainen lives in Inari at the moment, even though he was born in Kuopio. He finished his studies on photography in Lahti, and his career started off in 1976. In 1996 he took an interest in nature based occupations and Lapland. As a sincere photographer he wanted to get closer to his objects, the people of the north, and not just photograph them as an outsider.

Antikainen has published ten photographic exhibitions in Finland, and he has taken part in several joint exhibitions during the last 20 years of his career. Antikainen has also had exhibitions in Czech Republic and Portugal. During his long career, he has been working as a photo journalist and as a photographer for ad-agencies. He has also worked as a teacher of photography and as a lecturer, as well as an independent artist. Pekka Antikainen is a founding member of On-Line- Photography Agency Leuku.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gorgeous Iittala New Design Taika "Magic"

The strong decorative style of the Taika series may surprise those who are used to seeing Iittala representing traditional Nordic functionality and simple design forms. To counterbalance the exuberance of the decoration, the design adopted for the pieces in the Taika series is that of Heikki Orvola's Aika with its classic, clean lines, which was launched 2006.

Taika adds a distinctive alternative to the Iittala range, taking further the concept of mix and match. The Taika objects are available in two color schemes which both mix well with for example the new Iittala colors, sand and ultramarine. Taika is a simple way to bring a touch of magic to any home, and add a little joy to everyday life.

Klaus Haapaniemi ~ an international Finn!

Klaus Haapaniemi (b. 1970) has had plenty of coverage recently in the Finnish as well as foreign media. His CV of design work is impressive: garment prints for Diesel, Levis, Marimekko, Dolce & Gabbana, Cacharel and Bela's Dead, a new brand. He has also worked as Creative Director of the Italian fashion house Bantam, published a book entitled "Giants" together with the Finnish writer Rosa Liksom, produced illustrations for the Observer newspaper, shown his work in exhibitions and done a few other things in between. The international WGSN trend analysis service has dubbed him as one of the most important rising stars in illustration and design.

The international media often refer to Klaus Haapaniemi's Finnish roots, and even the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, has been mentioned. It is true that his illustrations have references to folklore; both Slav and Japanese influences also have a strong presence.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The myth of Finnish design

According to international studies, Finnish industry today is among the front rank for competitiveness: state-of-the-art information technology and high levels of innovation, combined with excellent research and education, create a strong competitive edge and a basis for industrial success now and in the future. In the 21st century, an increasingly important part of this overall competitiveness has been played by industrial design and the added value it confers: it is frequently what makes a product the first choice.

Finland became known as a leading country of design in the mid-20th century largely thanks to glass blowers' innovative approach to design. In the middle years of this century, Scandinavian design became celebrated for its reachable approach to modernism, and the warmth and humanity of its products mesmerized an international market.

The myth of Finnish design began with Eliel Saarinen’s national-style interiors and Aalto’s functionalist furniture, progressing towards Wirkkala’s somewhat more romantic style and the sculptural forms of Sarpaneva. The legend of a small, northern country’s struggle against the forces of nature and the pressures of history provided a basis for marketing design with mythical elements: snow, ice, forests, lakes, the summer of light and sisu (perseverance) were an inspiration to designers.

In the 50s and 60s, the Finnish national identity was internationally built up largely through design, architecture and music. The images arising from this made Finland stand out between East and West and created a unique identity for it. Distinctive industrial arts became an export also in an imaginative sense. The myth of Finnish design was complete.

by Anne Stenros