Laura Juslin and Lilli Maunula are the creators behind the exhibition Carte blanche à Juslin Maunula – Jumble, presented in our gallery until 18 November 2023.
We spoke with the duo to find out more about their story and creative process.
How did the collaboration between you two start and could you tell us more about the creation of your studio?
Laura: The studio was created in 2015, but we met in 2004. We studied fashion together at university. Lilli studied there for two years and I then graduated in architecture in London.
Lilli: That was 10 years ago.
Laura: 10 years after university, we met again. After working for many companies, we found it interesting to do something together with the idea of integrating a multidisciplinary aspect. We wanted to put fashion at the centre of our project, but with a new approach, combining architecture.
So your common interest is fashion?
Lilli: We felt that fashion wasn’t just about clothes, it was more than that. At the same time, we wanted to bring a new design to our works across our fields, and create with a fashion-oriented point of view. For us, fashion can be handmade objects, as well as interior decoration objects or various installations. In our opinion, it’s more than just clothes, it’s sharing our vision of the world, our experiences, it’s expressing our style.
Laura: We started by creating experiences, magical experiences with installations that provoke emotions. And that’s what we wanted to establish: a connection between the product and the surrounding space. That was the main purpose of our brand.
Lilli: We tried, and we could see that this first project idea turned out to be a success. We had very good feedback, we did a good job together, we were able to share our vision.
Laura: That’s how we continued with the creation of the studio and continued to work together.
Lilli: It was very organic work, we started with a collection and very few installations, and now we collaborate with big companies.
Is it hard to work in the fashion industry?
Lilli: Yes, the fashion industry in Finland is very small, which is why it is crucial for us to work internationally. We are fortunate to work in Finland, but it is still imperative to leave Finland in order to develop. It is important for us to have international recognition.
It can be hard to make a name when competing with many other companies in the business.
Laura: Yes, it’s a very tough and present competition between the many emerging brands and the powerful and timeless ones that are rooted in the fashion world. We felt very quickly that it was important to have our own point of view, our own opinion that will be communicated through multidisciplinary collaborations.
Where do you find inspiration?
Laura: Everywhere! It can come from anywhere around us.
Lilli: I think we are particularly inspired by the materials we use. We have a lot of materials in our office, and from these we carry out an artisanal work, by hand, to test and compare them. What results will we get if we paint it, if it is extensible, if we turn it in that direction? We manipulate it and try to find innovative solutions to style it at our convenience.
Laura: Yes, we express ourselves very freely with materials and colours.
Lilli: We aim to create unique art by offering limited editions of our products, for example.
Could you tell us about your exhibition at Institut finlandais?
Laura: We will present a new collection in which textiles will be highlighted. Through this collection, we highlight the notion of sustainability. We made a similar collection last year, but it was interesting to be inspired by new materials this time. It consists mainly of products intended for the home.
Lilli: We are reviving textile waste from Finland but also from Scandinavian countries. From this, we create products for the home but also coats and bags. We make everything that is good to produce from textile.
You have been granted the Young Designer of the Year award in 2022 by Design Forum Finland. What does this prize represent to you?
Laura: We were very happy to know that our work had been recognized.
Lilli: Yes, we were very surprised because sometimes, when we work from our office, we don’t know if other people appreciate the work. And this award has represented the public’s appreciation of our work. Moreover, it has also made it possible to give credibility to the quality of our products and to make different people understand the particularity of our work.
What messages and values do you want to convey through your various creations?
Laura: Sustainability is the first.
Lilli: The second would be to be confident in our projects and proud of what we can achieve, even if it may seem crazy to others. Even if it goes against “traditions”. Just be proud!
How do you see the future of your studio?
Lilli: We want it to grow. Find spots all over the world and expand our market.
Laura: We’d like to expand the team.