The Finnish Design Shop rocked up at the residence of the Finnish ambassador –
currently Päivi Luostarinen – in London to showcase new and contemporary pieces of Nordic design.
On the catwalk – a long carpet in shades of blue by Woodnotes – were designs by Muuto, Nikari, Hay and Artek amongst others, which contrasted with the traditional surroundings of the ambassador residence. On display were also objects by &New, a furniture brand created by Jo Wilton and Mirka Grohn. Their colourful and welded metal pieces are a departure from the more natural – whether in colour or material – designs often associated with Nordic furniture; that said, the duo label themselves as British.
Gustavian furniture meets new at the Finnish Ambassador’s residence (images, @mepaivi)
Some of the furniture pieces showcased clockwise: Hay Uchiwa Lounge Chair, Nikari Chair, Muuto’s Fiber chair, Mini Robot table by &New
With many guests having either an architectural or interior design background and, well, being Nordic, talk naturally turned to the subject of the seemingly unstoppable worldwide success of Nordic design.
Teemu Kiiski, CEO of Finnish Design Shop, said: ‘We have grown from a small 50sqm storage faciltity to a large warehouse shipping to almost everywhere in the world.’ When asked if there were ever handling problems due to the size of some pieces, Kaisa Kivelä, Finnish Design Shop, said: ‘No – UPS just turn up and ship it, all the way to Singapore or Kazakhstan if you want. It’s truly amazing’.
Brian Lindholm, Muuto’s UK contract representative, has also seen ongoing interest in Nordic design. ‘It’s perceived as the ultimate in cool and modern’, he said. ‘And companies want to be part of that. Interestingly, we have many requests from what you would call conservative companies, who want to update their image and attract a variety of employees with contemporary surroundings.’
Co-host Flow Festival Helsinki provided music via Finnish DJ Katerina – her decks overlooking a traditional British lawn made for another interesting contrast. The lively mood was further enhanced by cranberry gin & tonics (created with Helsinki Dry Gin) and delicious canapes such as salmon on rye bread or miniature Karelian pies made by the ambassador’s chefs. Everybody walked off with a goodie bag, and one lucky winner with tickets to the Flow Festival 2016.
Genteel house music for those British summer nights (image, @KaterinaAndonov);
The smallest Karelian pies ever, complete with egg butter, served on a wooden Alvar Aalto tray by Iittala A history of Nordic furniture design in a bag (image, owl’s house london)
Blog post by Päivi Kotro-Brenner @mepaivi