The ingredients of Finnish elegance

What do you picture when someone mentions the word elegance in a design context? Fancy dresses, classy interior design or maybe cultivated jewelry? No doubt, elegance includes all that, but cultures also transform it to mean vastly different things. In this article, we’ll dig deeper into what elegance stands for in Finnish design.

Finnish nature shines through

“Finnish elegance is constantly influenced by our nature. Natural materials with an organic feel are a key element.”
Designer Katri Niskanen

With 188,000 lakes, four distinct seasons and 75 percent of our land area covered in forest, it’s no wonder nature is a major influence for Finnish designers. Using local raw materials or finding inspiration from natural shapes and textures, our designers constantly shape and bend the boundaries of elegance to arrive at a version that is essentially Finnish – natural, first-rate and articulate.

Functionality over frills

“At its core, a Finnish design item is ageless, uncluttered and practical.”
Katri Niskanen

The straightforward attitude of Finns is reflected in our design too. In an unforgiving climate, items have traditionally been designed to last and perform a function. Located between the decorative Russian tradition and the refined Scandinavian style, Finnish elegance absorbs qualities from both and also adds an extra layer of practicality.

Honkatalot/Polar Life Haus, arkkitehti: Seppo Mäntylä / Lumoava.

This combination of practicality and grace guarantees that elegance is present everywhere. It’s not uncommon for families to use cups and plates from high-quality brands at breakfast. Strolling along the streets of Helsinki, you can’t miss the Finnish designer apparel. Where someone might feel elegant in a stunning evening gown, another Finn considers the design of their all-year-round cottage to elevate their life to another level.

Take a look at four Design from Finland member companies that showcase their take on elegance.

Katri Niskanen is an award-winning Finnish fashion designer who offers ready-to-wear and bridal collections as well as unique evening gowns.