This year the London Design Festival is host to ‘Unwrapped: Contemporary Finnish Design and Photography Exhibition’ at London’s Rag Factory. Designer and photographer Jani Kaila has selected 19 leading Finnish designers from a variety of fields, ranging from industrial design, furniture, lighting to even shoes, to bring a cutting edge showcase to the UK.
Jani states that he wanted to pick the pieces that really epitomise Finnish culture and design, ‘I aimed to get an understanding how the designers work, what their inspirations are and how they relax.’ He has photographed the designers in their working environment to reflect the Finnish way of life and give a new perspective to the exhibition.
Aki Choklat is a designer who resides in Florence and London, and his work combines the best aspects of all three cultures. He loves to use Finnish materials in his designs and these felt shoes are vibrant, practical and fun. Manufactured from sheep’s wool from a small local farm, the idea was to promote the fun side by creating something more contemporary.
Another London based designer, Maria Jauhiainen, displays a variety of pieces at ‘Unwrapped’ that showcase her skill of intricate design. Working from home Maria started with delicate jewellery pieces but has now branched out into interior installations.
What inspires Maria? Always passionate about intricate details, she likes to explore the unexpected creations that can evolve from materials. She dissolves metal down and starts from scratch, producing these beautiful delicate yet surprisingly strong products.
Unique is the only word to describe Finnish designer Julia Lundsten. Already a successful designer, she is currently based in Soho and has been running a production line in these extravagantly wonderful shoes for several years. What inspires Julia? She feels passionately about designing shoes that women wear for women, for themselves and not for men. Bright, bold and very exciting Julia’s shoes have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga.
These quirky baskets by designer Mika Tolvanen again celebrate the wonderful Finnish material of felt. They also use recycled glass as the middle layer for reinforcement, producing some wonderfully strong and aesthetically pleasing baskets. Inspired by his philosophy of ecological design, these baskets capture the best elements of Finnish design; they are fun, bright and natural.
Designer Jonas Hakaniemi loves to work with lighting and shows passion for finding the beauty in reclaimed materials. All of his pieces are manufactured from old windows or factories, before being remoulded into any shape, size or form desired. We like this product so much due to its versatility: pieces range from ceiling lighting to decorative patio or nightclub blocks and can give that sparkle to any space.
Uhtha Design is a company that specialises in antiques from nature. They state, Kelopuu, otherwise known as deadwood products, ‘are natural antiques.’ Cut straight from the forests, wood that has been dead for 500 years is brought back to life in these beautifully crafted furniture pieces. True to his Finnish roots and passionate about timber, Jonas Hakaniemi has created a range of simple, timeless pieces, each showcasing unique characteristics that really encapsulate Finnish culture.
Paivi Raivio and Veera Kulju are more experimental designers; their leather rug and coat pieces are inspired by the source of the material. We gain leather by stripping it straight from the animal and this idea of stripping is taken forward, and developed to produce a very raw item of clothing.
Also produced by Veera, is another experimental piece, this popcorn inspired bowl, a particularly favoured piece due to its combination of fun, elegance and uniqueness.
Finland is a land full of forests and lakes, and all Finnish people live with, and are therefore inspired by, nature. This exhibition certainly achieves its aims with each piece as intriguing and visually beautiful as the next.
Unwrapped continues at the Rag Factory until 25th Sept 10am-8pm, free admission.
Contact; Jani Kaila at firstname.lastname@example.org