Finnish design brand Finarte’s latest collection was created in collaboration with illustrator and textile designer Minni Havas. The rug and throw designs are infused with bold colors and striking forms that merge in fascinating ways – the central theme and the name of the collection is Blending.
Hi Minni! Let’s start from the very beginning: how did you become an illustrator and designer?
“Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved to draw and create things. I took art classes my entire childhood and even studied at the Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts, if only for a year, before finding my path in fashion design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, which nowadays is part of Aalto University.
I already did some illustrations for magazines and advertisements during my studies, and after graduating, I founded my own fashion brand Minni f. Ronya together with my colleague Anne Törnroos.
“I don’t really need to dig for creativity; I always have my eyes open for my surroundings and my own feelings.”
Inspired by pattern designs created for my own brand, I began gravitating toward print design. My first client was the Finnish fashion brand Vimma, for whom I’ve created over 20 prints so far. Creating prints allows me to combine illustrating and my understanding of colors and trends. At some point, I also got interested in designing rugs and throws.”
Where do you find inspiration and creativity for your work?
“I don’t really need to dig for creativity; I always have my eyes open for my surroundings and my own feelings. I make notes of anything that grabs my attention. There are days and times when I’m more prone to inspiration. If I’m deep in the technical part of the process, I might be more closed and focused on polishing than creating something new.
If I’m working for a specific client, they often have a theme or idea in mind that should guide the design process. These kinds of designs require more research, and I usually look for references and background material to complement my own ideas, in order to deepen the story or to find new perspectives for the given theme.”
How was the Blending collection’s visual world created? Of course, we already had a tiny taste of it in the Paletti cushion from Finarte’s earlier Atelier collection.
“This visual world was originally created a counterpart for the very geometric Zeniitti design, but it fit perfectly to the collection’s main theme of blending. In both Paletti and the new collection, the starting point was a felt-tip drawing of a fantasy fruit that I started calling ‘pear’. I had already created many fruit-themed drawings for my first-ever throw designs, and if my memory serves me right, my first suggestion for Finarte was also a fruit-themed throw. I’m particularly intrigued by the texture and organic shapes of fruit.”
“In regards to the fruit motif, I’m particularly intrigued by the texture and organic shapes of fruit.”
In addition to the bold forms and patterns, the collection is characterized by vivid, contrasting colors. How did you choose the color palette?
“The original design is most prominent in the Pome rug, and its colors are also the closest to my first ideas. The final colors are based on Finarte’s color palette that they use for their entire range of products. It’s important that my designs go with the rest of the Finarte line – I always kept that in mind during the design process.
Certain color combinations have a timeless feel to them, and this was also the case now: the colors we chose still look and feel good, even after the long development process.”
Did you have a specific type of space or interior in mind when creating the designs?
“I think the Pear rug, for example, works well in both minimalist and maximalist decors. On a dark floor, the colors shine brighter, but lighter-colored floor materials underline the rug’s shape. If you fall in love with a form or a color, I believe you can always make it work in your own home – we quickly get used to things that at first seem strange and make them our own.”
What kind of prints or patterns do you like yourself?
“I’m intrigued by multidimensionality, appealing color combinations, and technical skill. Of course, simple patterns like stripes are also great as such. if their colors and proportions match my taste.
In my own home, I don’t really use prints, but I do like to have some patterns and colors in rugs, throws, and decorative cushions. For bed linen, I tend to go for subtle, calming colors and while they can have a print, it shouldn’t be too glaring.”
What are you currently excited about?
“New collection ideas and a knit project I currently have going on. Dancing. Fall is always an exciting and inspiring time for me. I’m also looking forward to traveling to Los Angeles in October.”
3 x Minni Havas’ favorites:
1. Color: red orange
2. Movie: In the mood for love, Wong Kar-wai
3. Scent: CK One Summer Daze
Text: Emmi Ratilainen Images: Kaisu Kaplin and Finarte