Ville Auvinen is a Helsinki-based designer and maker that moves effortlessly between sculptural expression and industrial production. Working on the quaint island of Lauttasaari in Helsinki, he seeks beauty and harmony through simple expression. Ville is most at home working with his hands and realising new ideas – seeing a vision come to life. Creating and finding the right ways to express his ideas is a driving force for him. Since starting his studio, Studio Ville Auvinen in 2016, he has been busy designing new products for furniture brands and for his own collection of furniture, and most recently, unique sculptural works. His aim is to create objects that feel good to the user and honour the materials used.
”My aim is to create objects that grow naturally from the materials and feel effortless.”
Elisa Defossez is a textile and product designer based in Helsinki. She studied Industrial Design at ENSAV La Cambre in Belgium and got her Master in Textile Design from Aalto University in Finland. After working for a few years as a designer at Hermès, she decided to carry on her quest for cosiness in design by establishing her studio in 2021. She currently works between Finland and Japan.
With a multidisciplinary approach, Defossez seeks to bring emotions and a feeling of cosiness into life through subtle shades of colours and materials, giving singular importance to the object’s role in everyday life. The piece exhibited at Institut finlandais called Meri is a printed fabric inspired by the sea surface and its horizon, a profoundly present landscape in Finland. The design has been drawn by hand, dot by dot, in order to create a vibrant and soft gradient surface, from the deep blue of the sea to the soft pink of the sky’s light.
Laura Itkonen is a designer and artist living and working in Helsinki, Finland. The main focus of her work is on visually detailed, tactile architectural ceramics and on collectible, sculptural design. Itkonen finds the intersection of art and design to be the most compelling place to work, as it allows her to explore the potential of materials. This area offers an exciting opportunity to push boundaries creatively and experiment within the context of different projects. Itkonen’s creations blend art and design, combining handmade sculptural elements with the precision of 3D printing. Her use of materials highlights their unique characteristics, while carefully crafted shapes and forms tie everything together. Contrasts are a unifying factor in her work, creating dynamic and visually striking pieces.
“Working with clay is a collaboration with the material that requires compromises. It’s very inspiring to me with all its challenges, but especially with its endless opportunities.”
With international recognition, Itkonen’s works have been exhibited e.g. in Milan, London, Paris and Tokyo and her works are included in the Finnish State Art Collection as well as in private collections in Finland and abroad. She is currently working on a large-scale public art project commissioned by Helsinki University Hospital (HUS). The project will be completed in 2024.
Dylan Katz has been blowing glass since he was twelve years old. He met his partner Greta in the United States, and in 2013 they decided to move to Greta’s homeland, Finland, where Katztudio was founded in 2016. Their aim is to deliver high end products to fit any budget, with the idea of making glass art more accessible. Dylan Katz is passionate about glass and the infinite possibilities it offers as a creative material.
“Everyone deserves to have beautiful and unique things in their lives.”
Each of the Katztudio pieces are carefully handcrafted and are born from the fire and magic of the glassblowing process. For example, the unique form of the Illusia vases is created by heating the glass just past the point at which it begins to collapse, and then carefully bringing it back from the edge. These pieces are an exploration of what happens when we are pushed outside of our comfort zone. They examine what beauty can be found past the boundaries of failure. They capture the fluidity and ethereal nature of hot glass.
Päivi Keski-Pomppu is a designer, interior architect, and goldsmith based in Helsinki. Curiosity for understanding the unique character of different materials and deepening her knowledge of various scales and details in the design field brings endless inspiration to Keski-Pomppu. Artisanship is deeply embedded in her designer identity, shaping her thinking in many ways.
Päivi Keski-Pomppu is the founder and independent designer for the jewellery brand Keski-Pomppu and the co-founder of Studio Bom. In 2002, Keski-Pomppu received her goldsmith degree, and in 2013, she graduated as a designer (BA) from the Lahti Institute of Design. In 2021, she graduated as an interior architect (BA) at Aalto University. At the moment, Keski-Pomppu is pursuing her Master of Arts (MA) degree at Aalto University, Helsinki.
Päivi Keski-Pomppu creates high-quality jewellery at her studio, using carefully chosen recycled precious metals and traditional working methods. To ensure the longevity and timelessness of the collections, the products are made in small series with attention to the smallest details. Inspiration and ideas come to her from experimentation and her everyday surroundings.
Keski-Pomppu also creates candle holders and snuffers with the aim of finding balance between the soft shapes of glass and brass lines. “The inspiration behind this series of candle holders is derived from the compositions in the paintings by Miró. Dialogue with the material is also important; it gives a certain freedom to the design. I let my background as a craftsperson be shown, as I think it adds more value and character to the final work, giving it a hint of honesty and a certain human element.”
Glass parts are made in collaboration with Kaappo Lähdesmäki/Lasismi, Riihimäki, Finland.
Viivi Lehto is a Helsinki based artist, working widely in the creative field from art to commercial projects. The main focus of her artistic work is in glass art and painting. Her art often represents the themes of growth, time and fantasy. The key elements in her multisensory process are music, playing and working with hands. In addition to visual arts, she publishes her own music as a singer-songwriter.
The Garden series she is currently working with, is consisting of colourful and multidimensional glass sculptures. The garden repeating in her works is representing the themes of inner growth, importance of play, feelings and traditions. Her work is featured in many events, collections, exhibitions and galleries including Chart Art Fair, UU Market, Helsinki Design Week and Topelius Gallery.
Lehto graduated as a Master of Arts in Visual Cultures, Curating & Contemporary Art Programme, Aalto University 2020. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design in Lahti Institute of Design, University of Applied Sciences 2009. In 2010, the Finnish government presented Lehto with the remarkable Sammontekijät Award.
“As an artist, I am interested in playfulness, unique interpretation and sensuality. Through art, I want to offer qualitatively special experiences, without which our perceived environment would become monotonous repetition of processes. I hope my art can help the viewers to pause at the uniqueness of life.”
Kati Peltola is a glass artist who has graduated from Aalto University with a Master of Arts degree in 2020. She uses the flameworking technique and works mainly in her studio in Vallila, Helsinki.
Intuitive manipulation of material and curiosity towards the process form the basis of Peltola’s artistic work. As a craftsperson, the process of making the work is equally important as the final form. Peltola is still in the process of getting used to the unreliability of glass as a material. It shapes her making and the connection to her work.
Kati Peltola makes jewellery and glass sculptures, both of which have some qualities of the potential function, yet they are somehow unsettling and dangerous. Peltola finds this balance intriguing. Glass in itself is full of polarities; it is both mundane and luxurious, durable but sometimes brittle, soft when molten and hard when cooled down.
“The resulting glass objects are often subtle and quiet. They require a little more of your time but will give you a meaningful aesthetic experience in return, especially under direct sunlight.”
Paula Pääkkönen is a glassblower and a glass artist. She chose glass as her main material for its challenging aspect – the glassblowing techniques are an endless source of inspiration for her. As an artist, she is currently working around the theme of childhood, memories and imagination. In her work, she is chasing the moment, when common things still have a hint of magic and the proportions of the world may vary. Pääkkönen did her BA studies in Design and then studied glassblowing in the famous glassvillage of Nuutajärvi, graduating finally as a glassblower. She is now working as a freelance glassblower for other designers and artists, as well as working on her own art.
Pääkkönen’s works have been exhibited abroad at IDÉE shop in Tokyo, the Venice Glass Weeks, at CHART Art & Design Fair in Copenhagen as well as by many galleries in Finland, such as Lokal Helsinki, UU Market and Auran Galleria. In the latest issue (Aug-Sep 2023) of Scandinavian Vogue Pääkkönen was presented in a four page story about her practice as a glass artist.
“Glass demands for you to be in the moment”
Milla Vaahtera is a designer and an artist working in Helsinki. The themes of her works extend from body image to intuition and dialogues in the creative process. She is most known for her Dialogue series, mobiles and stabiles, in which she combines bold glass parts with delicate brass. Vaahtera began to work on this series in May 2017 together with several glassblowers from Nuutajärvi Glassvillage. Vaahtera is passionate about reviving the Finnish heritage of glassblowing and giving the young generation of makers new opportunities to deepen their skills.
Vaahtera graduated as a Master of Arts in 2010 from Aalto University. Her work has been featured in several exhibitions, galleries and museums internationally, including the Design Museum Finland, Artek Helsinki, Minä Perhonen, Lokal Helsinki, Galerie Philia and UU Market.
”Glass is like me, spontaneous and organic. ”
Hannakaisa Pekkala is a designer and the Co-Founder of UU Market. For the past six years, she’s been passionately working to promote contemporary Finnish design and art internationally. She believes in the power of cooperation: one can’t conquer the world alone. In her work, she seeks to bring talented people together, to form a network that brings out the best of Finnish design: the most relevant themes, techniques and aesthetics of the new generation.
Hannakaisa’s background in furniture design gives her a personal touching point and wide understanding of the field.
”I feel that the designer’s role has changed drastically during the past ten years. The focus of many has changed from mass production towards more sustainable, independent small scale production. This leads to an interesting change also from the artistic side: the freedom of expression outside of commercial needs. I think we’re in the beginning of a new era.” she says.
Pekkala graduated from Lahti Institute of Design in 2017 and is now finishing her Master of Arts studies in Aalto University, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Her work has been awarded internationally. In recent years she has been producing exhibitions for CHART Art and Design Fair in Copenhagen, Helsinki Design Week, and Finlandsinstitutet in Stockholm.