Laura Seppänen designed an interior for the Lumitiikeri house at the 2020 Housing Fair, which stands the test of time and soothes with its minimalism. She struck a common chord with the future owners of the residence right from the start.
ONE OF THE GEMS of the 2020 Housing Fair in Finland is Lumitiikeri (Snow Tiger), designed by Laura Seppänen. Known for her minimalistic style, she became interested in the modern housing fair building by Hevi kivitalot (Hevi stone houses) particularly because of its curved walls, varying room heights and extraordinary spatial solutions.
For her first housing fair project, Seppänen selected neutral and harmonious colors, plenty of natural materials and unique works of art by Finnish artists and designers. Finnish Design Shop Contract Sales had the pleasure of supplying the furniture, light fixtures and accessories she chose for Lumitiikeri.
Hi, Laura! The Lumitiikeri interior is ready, and people can come and see your creation in August. How do you feel now?
“Hi! Thanks for asking, can't complain. This has been quite a spring in all respects."
How long a project was the Lumitiikeri interior all in all?
“My first contact with Hevi kivitalot was in early 2019. This is my first-ever project for a housing fair, and I decided to go for it when I saw the house drawings. A two-story, fair and modern stone house impressed me with its innovative architecture.
I met the owners, the Nylund couple in spring 2019, and then started drafting. I place a lot of value on the first impression – it’s usually the most intuitive and delicate signal in terms of visual goals. In the early stages of projects, I spend a lot of time on creative work to allow plans to build and change as the project goes along.
"In the early stages of a project, I spend a lot of time on creative work to allow plans to build and change as the project goes along.”
The first months were spent on spatial design, placement of water and electricity outlets, dimensioning of wet areas and fixtures, and general design. The surfaces and materials were discussed early on, too, and after the fixed elements I went over to lighting.
I considered furniture choices early on. In my view, furniture and small furnishings play an important role that is too often undervalued. Furniture and individual items have a direct effect on how people behave in a room and what the atmosphere is.”
What were the starting points for the interior design?
“I always start from the people who will use the space and the building itself, but in this project I also wanted to express my view on the Finnish construction culture by bringing in the experience and expertise of Finnish small and family businesses.
"My aim was to create a kind of ode to Finnish expertise, in terms of materials, design and the actual construction.”
My aim was to create a kind of ode to Finnish expertise, in terms of materials, design and the actual construction. This house was designed in partnership with Finnish businesses, and my job was to create the framework and curate the local experts to work together.
My design hinges on simplification, timelessness, harmony and soothing minimalism. This generally means using structural solutions that hide any extra technology, tailored fixed elements, plenty of bespoke furniture and consistent color choices and surface materials.”
How was your cooperation with Finnish Design Shop's Contracts Sales?
“This was by no means my first project with Finnish Design Shop, but it was probably a first for us both to create the interior for a house in a housing fair. Finnish Design Shop’s extensive range of products has something for a variety of projects. I’m eternally indebted to Johannes Nieminen for his excellent customer service, patience and all the hard research he put into this project.
When creating the interior for the housing fair project, or indeed all my projects, I prefer to use, whenever possible, brands that are lesser-known in and new to Finland, and brands that have only recently been launched in the international market. The Finnish Design Shop is in this respect an extremely open-minded and innovative company which, in my experience, has always been happy to accommodate my curious wishes and moods.”
What wishes did the Lumitiikeri owners have for the interior?
“We had a uniform vision right from the start with both Hevi and the customer. The customer’s wishes, in a nutshell, were: neutral color palette, natural materials, harmonious feel, ecological choices, Finnish products and luxury for daily life. To complement the stonewalls and high ceilings, they wanted furniture and fittings that have a homey feel, warmth and soft acoustics.
As to the owners, he is an engineer, and values versatile things of technically high quality. I paid particular attention to this with regard to lighting. For example, the height and brightness of the Aim pendant by Flos is adjustable, and the String Light pendants can be mounted in a number of ways. And the DCW éditions Mantis BS5 wall lamp can be turned and adjusted both at the shade and the arm.”
One of the 2020 Housing Fair themes is art. How does it show in this project?
The Lumitiikeri decor consists of several pieces of furniture and light fittings that I would consider works of art in themselves. These include the April tables by Nikari, Bastone sideboard by Poiat Studio, and lamps by Muller Van Severen. To go with the small furnishings, I curated art, graphics and items by Finnish artists and designers.
The house includes wall art by Niina Kratz and Ari Pelkonen, graphics by Reeta Ek, ceramics by Hanna Heino and Pasi Kärkkäinen, natural clay sculptures by Henriikka Leppänen, pots by Udumbara and wooden objects by Hanna Saari. These unique, handmade items, some of them specifically for this house, give an added touch.
What is your favorite thing in the house and/or its interior?
“As you come in, you first notice the stairs I designed. I’m particularly proud of them. The steps up to the landing are crude concrete coated with microcement, with unusual dimensions. The next flight of steps consists of ‘floating’ oak steps.
If you can select one item from the Lumitiikeri interior decoration, what would it be?
That’s a tough one, because I was also able to pick plenty of furniture that I like very much. But intuitively my first choice would be the Bastone sideboard by Poiat.
Shop the style
Johannes Nieminen, you were Finnish Design Shop’s Contract Sales representative in the Lumitiikeri project. What was it like to work with Laura Seppänen?
Laura was very particular about the look and feel she was creating, and it was great to help her achieve it. The end result shows first and foremost her fantastic vision, complemented by the almost perfect design represented by our products.
Were there any particular high points or challenges during the project?
I’m particularly happy we were able to provide Laura with lamps by Valerie Objects. The sculptural luminaires designed by Muller van Severin were not yet in our collection when Laura said she was interested in them. I decided we would make it happen, and indeed at the Stockholm Furniture Fair I was able to secure them to our collection. We had no idea we were going to have a pandemic on our hands at the time, causing problems with, for example, the availability of fabrics and marble, and the timetable.
What are you favorite items in the Lumitiikeri decor?
My favorites are the Standing Lamp by Valerie Objects, the Plinth tables by Menu and the Mineral coffee table by Ferm Living, all found thanks to the project. I’m sure I will remember them as Lumitiikeri products.
• Tuusula Housing Fair, August 3–30, 2020.
Text: Laura Hallikainen Photos: Mikael Pettersson and Mona Salminen