Three inspiring Finnish winter phenomena
Finnish people might occasionally love complaining about the weather – the long dark winter, the snow and slush, and even summers that are too rainy or hot. However, deep down, we’re glad our seasons and nature keep shifting. Besides, sometimes-extreme conditions can stir inventiveness. We wanted to present these unique natural phenomena that keep on inspiring designers time after time. Which one is your favorite?
The Finnish mindset keeps shifting with the amount of light available. One coffee table topic that’s never out of style in Finland, especially during autumn and winter, is the weather. A frequent question is: “When was the last time you saw the sun?” It makes sense, since the annual cycle of light can be extreme: Lapland’s nightless night means the sun literally never sets and the polar night, in contrast, means that the sun never rises.
Finnish people tend to love shades of black and white when it comes to their clothes and design. In fact, if you want to look like a Finn in Helsinki, buy a black winter coat. If you want your home to look Scandic, decorate with white. However, the everlasting love for designs that have both black and white might originally be inspired by the Polar night. There are many natural sceneries where this color contrast occurs: White snowflakes against the black sky, shadows of bare leafless trees against the crusted snow, and freezing water in a hole in the ice that covers the lake are just some examples.
Designers Saana and Olli know that Finnish people respond well to black and white designs. A monochromatic palette also works as a balancing force: “Black and white gives our design pieces the timelessness we’re seeking. Our hand-drawn prints can sometimes be large and complicated, but a plain color palette makes them harmonic”, Saana and Olli explain.
Four different seasons
Finland has something called subarctic climate, which means four very different seasons, warm summers and freezing winters. Because of our varied seasons, being a Finnish clothing designer is hard work. Not only do your customers love beautiful patterns and designs, but their clothes need to be fit for very eclectic weather conditions.
However, according to Sari Perttunen, Chief Creative Officer from Reima, the leading brand in functional kids’ wear globally, having four seasons is actually a competitive edge for a Finnish clothing company: “Nowadays, our schedules allow us to design winter clothing during winter, so right now we’re designing the winter 2019 collection. This means that we can actually draw inspiration from the beautiful Finnish nature and weather surrounding us”, Perttunen explains. “We can experience and see the changing seasons, which means we can draw from experience when we design functional clothing for a huge range of conditions. And, of course, we can test our clothes in appropriate weather!”
Even if many details in clothes change depending on the season, some rules apply for Reima. “Visibility and brightness in children’s clothing make people happy. But it is also a safety issue – during all seasons. Bright colors make it easier for adults to spot kids in all situations. Even darker clothes must have highly visible reflective surfaces.”
Finnish design celebrates stark contrasts, like black and white, but also bright colors. Reima’s designers agree wholeheartedly: “Even though the darkness can be quite melancholic in the winter, we can always bring joy and fun into children’s lives with color”, Perttunen states.
Many Finnish designers draw inspiration from one of the most marvelous light phenomena in the world – the northern lights. These colorful curtains are drawn across the sky every winter, especially in Lapland. Did you know that scientists still are not completely sure how auroras are born? We do know that they have something to do with the interaction between solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere, but the process as a whole is still unclear.
For many people, northern lights are a once-in-a-life-time experience and for some, they also mean extremely good family luck. But although incredibly beautiful, not all myths and beliefs concerning aurora are pretty. Indigenous Finnish people, The Skolt Sámi, used to believe that northern lights were actually blood that bled from people who died because of wounds.
It is no wonder, then, that these mystical lights have inspired countless artists. Northern lights are the subject of many paintings and fabrics, but their color schemes can also be spotted in a more sophisticated form. These functional babushka glasses by Nord Design shine in the blue and green hues of northern lights. So even during the darkest winter season, it’s possible to bring bright colors inspired by Finnish nature into your home.