Our Top 5 Finnish Design Discoveries

Lapland probably isn’t the first place you’d think of going in order to investigate the Nordic design scene (unless you live in a log cabin and it’s permanently Christmas). But that’s just it – Lapland, more specifically Finnish Lapland, isn’t a tinsel tastic tacky explosion it’s a tasteful, charming and authentic place with a design and interiors scene that extends far beyond baubles and bells. Having been lucky enough to land a trip to the city of Rovaniemi (read more about our Lapland for Grown Ups adventures here) we weren’t quite sure what to expect on the design front. Liz has a long-standing obsession with all things Scandi so hopes were high that their Nordic neighbours would be equally as sharp in the style stakes.

We weren’t disappointed. Having already explored the likes of Finnish giants Marimekko and Iittala we stumbled upon a small concept store in the city called Mainoa which bills itself as a ‘Design shop that offers high quality Finnish craft and design‘. It was here that the real local gems were discovered, we only arrived 20 minutes before closing but left with a bag full of goodies each…

The Finnish design scene is definitely thriving and should certainly be more celebrated. So in a small bid to raise it’s profile we have compiled our top 5 Finnish design discoveries.

 

1. Kauniste

Kauniste means to decorate or to make beautiful – a pretty apt name if you ask us. This independent Helsinki based company works with talented and award winning illustrators and artists to create a paper goods, fabrics and homewares. Lucky for us they have an online store, but incase you want to browse in person you can find a list of UK stockists here.

kauniste 2015 Finnish design kauniste 2015 Finnish design kauniste 2015 Finnish design

From the top: Note book set €12.00, Calendar 2016 Kitchen Towel Mint €15.00, Mökkilä Blue Cushion Cover €24.00

 

2. Mifuko

A certified member of the World Fair Trade Organization Mifuko’s products are all handmade by women’s self help groups in rural Kenya. Combining contemporary Finnish design with traditional Kenyan handicraft techniques to produce colourful baskets, bags, rugs and ornaments.

Mifuko finnish design Finnish-design-Mifuko Finnish-design-Mifuko-ornaments

Kiondo baskets From €29,00, Ornaments 3pcs €20.00

 

3. Lovi

This family run company based in Northern Finland produce 3D figures from the highest Finnish quality birch plywood. They come flat pack so it’s your job to assemble them but I imagine it’s slightly more enjoyable than our experience with Swedish flat-pack furniture… Take a look at their online shop, there are loads of different ones to choose from – our favourite was the famous Finnish Moomin character, ‘Snufkin’.

Lovi Finnish design Snufkin with Hattifatteners

Snufkin by Lovi €14.50

 

4. Polkkajam

A family company run from a studio in an old dairy on Kimito Island (southwest Finland), talented creatives Kristiina Haapalainen and Sami Vähä-Aho produce playful imagery inspired by their surroundings (which sounds pretty idyllic to us) and then applied across variety of products including stationary, postcards, posters and wrapping paper.

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polkka jam finnish design  polkka jam finnish design

 Postcards €1.30, Wrapping paper from €4.50

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Posters from €12.00

 

5. Mark Roberts – Photographer

Mark hails from Blighty, but has made Rovanemi, Finland, his adopted home town, as he goes hiking in the Lapland wilderness searching for the perfect shot. We picked up some of his limited edition prints at Mainoa Design Shop, but you can get your paws on them online, via his online store.

Misty Island photograph by Mark Roberts

Photograph of landscape with trees

 Prints from €12.40

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Liz and I are longtime fans of the village of Saltaire in West Yorkshire.  Not only is the UNESCO World Heritage Site home to Salts Mill and host to our beloved Bradford Beer Festival, but it’s also boasts a great range of independent shops, making it a hotspot for design and vintage lovers.

Rad Studio on the Saltaire main street is a riot of colour and fantastic spot for picking up design-friendly homewares and gifts that suit a range of budgets.

I stop in every time I’m in the village and find it very difficult to leave empty handed – I’ve picked up cards, jewellery, an iphone case, gifts and some pretty little copper and ceramic bowls which I use to house my earrings and bracelets.

earrings in small green and copper bowls

It’s got a great laid-back vibe, which I love, as my pet hate is high-design concept shops that make you feel intimidated or under pressure to buy. It’s lovely owner Ali is on twitter over at @radstudiouk, so you can follow her there for updates on special offers and new items in store.

I’ve selected some of my favourites below (under the cut), from their website, but if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping in for a mooch around as they have an even bigger range in store…

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