Did your childhood home steer you towards design?
I grew up in a very standard Finnish household and my childhood was almost hyper-normal. My family had no ties to design, arts or music. It’s not like anyone stifled or denied artistic inclinations, but my parents hadn’t really ever been in touch with the arts, so I wasn’t brought up in a particularly cultural household. I didn’t have much interest in design personally, either. To be quite honest, I’ve always been quite normal. Growing up, I went through all of the obligatory team sports and did what young kids always do – I played floorball and football and drove around on my moped. It never crossed my mind that I could and would become a designer. I’ve had to grow into the role of a designer through multiple schools and stints as a paperboy and a backpacker.
‘Immaterial – studies about glass and light’ is an exhibition that showcases the process of harnessing a material to serve an immaterial outcome. By studying the optical qualities of Iittala’s glass, the designers and glass blowers created countless iterations and experiments to find the right shapes, forms and sizes in order to reach the desired visual outcome. The exhibition is in the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre from 30.11.2017 – 4.2.2018
When and how did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
It didn’t hit me like a lightning bolt. I actually had no idea what I wanted to be when I was young. When I was a teenager, I was interested in the things every teenager is interested in: drinking beer and partying. I didn’t have huge plans and visions for my future. Despite that, I remember always having a fascination towards doing and fixing things with my own hands. For as long as I remember, I’ve loved building things and although I never had hobbies that were related to design or crafts, I remember loving the process and losing myself in it even as a child. When I was a child I realised that I spent way more time on my handiworks than anyone else. My pieces weren’t necessarily the best ones, but I spent the most time on them. What others thought was a waste of time, I thought was important.
What objects do you hold dearest?
Oddly enough, despite my profession, I’ve never had any interest in owning objects. I’ve also never been that interested in collecting famous designers’ pieces. It’s not that I don’t respect or admire them, I’ve just never felt the need to own cult design. I have very little furniture in my own home and the little I have is made by me. It actually feels a bit alien to own furniture – I’ve moved around a lot and a home that fits in a couple of suitcases is my ideal. Furthermore, I don’t like to fill spaces with things. To me, an empty space is beautiful. When I finally buy an object, it’s like making a pact with it – a pact to keep it forever. I only want to own things that last a lifetime.
I like peculiar things.
The most interesting object I own is a fertility doll from West Africa that I bought from a gallery in Tel Aviv that specialises in African art. It has an exceptional story to it. Fertility dolls are used by women who are having trouble conceiving. They visit a famous local healer, who crafts a doll that resembles a child and then carry the wooden doll around like a child to fool the fertility gods to gift them with a real child. The one I own has visibly been used for this purpose, and its history makes it remarkable.