How Does Design Reflect the Finnish Mindset? – Habitare 2017
The annual Habitare expo is one of the highlights of the year in the Finnish design world. Habitare is Finland’s leading event for furniture, interior decoration, and design, so we at Design From Finland are always looking forward to the event and spare no effort planning for Habitare. But our stand this year revealed something unexpected and new about how Finnish nature and design interact and how the Finnish mindset works.
Our hall featured items from 60 leading Finnish designers. All the design objects we showcased were gathered around the concept of home, and they were sometimes combined together in unexpected ways. It was wonderful to see how well Finnish design from such different designers went together, even though the materials they use varies from hard plastic to organic wood.
Walking into our expo hall in Habitare felt like stepping into a fairytale and it was divided into six different theme segments: Some reflected the four changing seasons we get to witness in Finland, from intense summers to serene winters, but other sections highlighted the most beloved aspects of Finnish nature, our archipelago and rich forests.
First segment was Field, where we wanted to show that even though Finnish and Nordic design might be known for its sparse color scheme, there are exceptions:
Finnish people love floral patterns – they tend to remind us that even during the dark long winters, our intense summers are just around the corner. The tide of Finnish design is again shifting away from the all-white-furniture decor and into a more bohemian color palette, where bright colors are welcomed.
Our second segment was called Snow. The segment showcased warm, high-quality bed covers and snowballs made out of teacups. The teacup snowball installations highlighted one of our themes for this year’s Habitare: We wanted to highlight individual design objects, like single cups, through repetition.
Sea showcased several practical yet stylish Finnish-made bathroom faucets, shower walls, and sinks. And to make Sea special, one our partners, Tikkurila, constructed a custom floor reminiscent of the ocean and its foam-crested waves.
Forest is a place of relaxing calmness for Finns. When our expo visitors moved from Sea to the Forest room, they were surrounded by comfy pillows with animal prints, different shades of green, and Finnish furniture inspired by Finnish nature, such as adorable mushroom stools that also work as a space for storing children’s toys.
If one got tired of all the expo energy, our Marketplace offered a nice place to relax for a while. Marketplace also acted as a place of honor for the Finnish men’s fashion brand FRENN, who was awarded with the Design Deed 2017 award.
The most dramatic part of our expo hall was named after the polar night, a natural phenomenon Finnish people are painfully familiar with – when the sun doesn’t rise beyond the horizon. It’s quite something: It’s dark when you wake up and dark when you go home from work. The Polar Night segment we built in Habitare was a mixture of dark matte textures and light-reflecting glass surfaces.
Rough conditions create delicate design
Finland might sound rough from the outside: It’s a small country where sun doesn’t come up for over six months, where population is scattered, and mental illness and alcoholism are relatively general phenomena. It, then, seems amazing Finnish people are still attracted by design that is joyous and delicate. However, Finnish designers are not afraid to show their darker side either, with design featuring rough edges and dark colors.
And even though art and design have found their hotspots at Finnish cities, nature and interior decoration have an unbreakable bond in Finland. A staggering 40 per cent of Finnish people say that they draw inspiration from the Finnish nature when decorating their apartments. The design at our expo hall proved that designers, too, are inspired by the surrounding Finnish nature and the results might be surprising and that influence goes beyond nature-themed patterns. Nature-inspired deco can be both modern and organic feel to it.
All in all, our expo hall this year was a showcase of the wonderful cooperation between Finnish designers – our showroom was unique in a sense it didn’t only present items from one designer. But it also presented how Finnish design reflects the Finns: nature-loving, sometimes dark and edgy, sometimes bubbly and colorful, sometimes conventional, yet never dull. The expo hall was designed by the Design Agency of the Year 2017, Pentagon Design.
The Finnish design brands that participated in Habitare expo were:
Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd, Annala Oy, BOBI.COM Oy, Durat, E.T. Listat Oy, Familon, Grado portaat, Hella Lighting Finland Oy, IDO, ORNA by johan, Korpela Flooring Oy, Kutuluoto® by Westanqvarn, LumoKids, Nord Design, Oras, Pentik, Pihlgren ja Ritola Oy, Sovella@home, Temal, Ulvilan Kaihdin, Univisio Oy, Polaria, Vallila, Shapes, Aarikka, Kuovi Oy, Melaja Oy, Pedro Oy, Punkaharjun Puutaito/Punkalive, REJ Design, Sanka Oy, Solulight, By Johanna Lehtinen Oy, Coolcenter Forssa Oy, Dekorando Oy, Design Duster Oy, Designkaluste Finland Oy, EPuntari Oy, Flora of Finland, Hattulan Kaakelitehdas Oy, Kasviportaat | Plant Steps, Kliks Design®Kokokidi, Kupilka/Plasthill Oy, Lasisirkus, Leino Design, Lennol Oy, LifeSaver, Loimu Design, Marudesign / Marja Aalto-Setälä, Mosho Oy Ab, Muoto2 Design & Manufacturing, Muurla, Paperivalo Ky, Plantui Oy, Puttipaja Oy, Salli Systems, Softcare, Soften Oy, Taiga Colors, THINK TODAY, Tolotech Oy and True Colours Design