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