Finnish Design and Lapland
Design museum, Helsinki
- 31 December 2017
The exhibition “The North - Finnish Design and Lapland” investigates the relationship of Finnish design with Sámi culture from the north of the country.
The instigation for the exhibition was the observation that Finnish design takes place in the centres of industry and modern consumer culture and has few points of contact with the traditional culture of the Sámi - even though Finland is known throughout Europe for it.
Having said that, there are a few designers who are not involved in the thick of consumer culture and who have been inspired by these traditional handicrafts.
The exhibition itself actually shows only a few everyday objects from Sámi culture and focuses rather on the relationship of various artists and designers with their cultural origins. Tapio Wirkkala (1915–1985) cultivated a close relationship with the wilderness of Lapland by spending summer there every year. Kaj Franck (1911–1989), one of the major Finnish designers of the 20th century, discovered his fascination for traditional glass art which inspired him to undertake numerous experiments. The results in filigree glass are arresting in their carefully composed worlds of colour included in tradition glass vases. Young designers are discovering a new way of approaching Sámi culture, including Noora Niinikoski, who designs for Marimekko. For her, interaction with Sámi culture is a rediscovery of traditional ways that are no longer known on the one hand, but which are also linked with a feeling of deep connectedness on the other.