Interior architect Eliisa Korpijärvi shares seven meaningful gift ideas with an emphasis on sustainable and careful choices. “I like it when items actually have a function instead of only being used for decoration.”
Hi Eliisa! How are you?
“I moved to Northern Italy two years ago and at the moment, my life is a fun juggle between Italian day-to-day life and Finnish projects. I have a studio in our village, and I also have a pottery workshop here, while my dear co-worker Lauri runs our daily operations in Finland. Just recently, my husband and I have started to run an artist residency in an 1870s villa, and the first guests have already been warmly welcomed.
Especially during the coronavirus restrictions, it became obvious that my projects and their customers, co-workers and communication are mentally crucial and so rewarding to me. I’m in a happy situation in that I’ve been able to work on cultural and restaurant projects in both Finland and Italy – the worlds where my passions and strengths are. In recent years, I’ve been thinking a lot about the significance of my work and how to design sustainable, meaningful spaces. This has helped me to become more calm, focusing more on quality rather than quantity.”
How are you going to spend Christmas this year?
“In Italy, Christmas culminates on Christmas Day, which is when you have a festive meal with the family and give presents. In Finland, this usually happens on Christmas Eve evening, and I personally prefer Christmas dinner because it’s got just the kind of mystical and solemn feeling. So we are mixing traditions from both countries: on Christmas Eve, we cook Finnish Christmas food for our friends, and on Christmas Day we spend time with our Italian relatives for lunch, usually consisting of fresh seafood.
I love parties, and I think there’s always some reason to celebrate. My own Christmas took an entirely new meaning when I started spending it with my husband and dog – previously I used to run off somewhere to enjoy the sun and the feeling of freedom. These days the main thing with Christmas for me is to slow down and spend time with my loved ones, stare at the fireplace, listen to music, read books, and eat and drink in candlelight.
“I decorate with moderation and with natural elements, such as cones and spruce branches, and I enjoy simple linen tablecloths and candles.”
I start lighting candles and Christmas lights and spend more and more time at home already in November, because it makes this dark time of the year more special. My Christmas is always decorated with natural colors, not red. I decorate with moderation and with natural elements, such as cones and spruce branches, and I enjoy simple linen tablecloths and candles. Our home has high ceilings, so we get a huge Christmas tree from the marketplace. It brings a wonderful fragrance in the house, creating just the right kind of Christmas feel.”
What’s the best Christmas gift you have ever got?
“Two years ago, at Christmas, we got our dog Lumi, who’s a key figure in our lives, bringing joy and wonder into every day. The best item that I’ve received was from my husband: a pair of antique earrings. I’ve never had any jewelry to wear at parties, so these earrings were just the perfect present for me.
I always consider carefully what people need or might need. In my view, pointless presents should never be bought, because they are just a strain on the environment. I buy presents whenever I see good ones and set them aside to wait for the right time to give them.”
Eliisa Korpijärvi’s gift tips:
Marimekko: Puteli candleholder
“You can never have too many candlesticks, and you can’t go wrong to buy one as a gift, especially at Christmas. The Puteli candleholder is especially great, because it doubles as a small vase. I like it when items actually have a function instead of only being used for decoration. Glass objects are also classic interior decoration elements that create beautiful surfaces and reflections. Marimekko is one of my eternal favorites, and recently they’ve had a new, wonderful international drive.”
GUBI: Tynell 9602 lamp
“The Tynell 9602 lamp invites you to sit next to it and start reading a book, either on your own or with someone else. I think people should read more, and this beautiful lamp could encourage people to do so. Paavo Tynell was an incredibly talented lighting designer, and I’ve always admired his work. I finally got this lamp in our home in Italy, and it gives me joy every day with its beauty, light and materials. Classic items are a good investment into the future. They are made from durable and high-quality materials, and always have high resale value.”
Tove Jansson: Moominland Midwinter
“I love books, there can never be too many of them. They can transport you to other worlds, and you also learn from them. Books are the most common gifts among my closest friends and family, and it’s wonderful! Tove Jansson is my great idol – a strong and wise woman who was not afraid of adventure. She was able to use text and pictures to create amazing worlds that I dive into over and over again. There’s something particularly magical about Moominland Midwinter: it’s a white, magical winter, and strange things are afoot in Moominvalley.”
Artek: High chair K65
“The Aalto high chair K65 chair is my absolute favorite. I’ve used it for dozens of projects because it simply does the job so brilliantly. I’ve got a vintage version of it in my kitchen and I use it every day. The chair’s durable materials and the design are simply so functional, and everyone needs a stool at home. Alvar Aalto was obviously hugely talented, and he’s one of my favorite designers.”
HAY: Twist candles
“Candles are a great gift to anyone, because you always need them, and they come in handy in the dark Nordic winters. I think HAY is a pioneer as a creator of wonderful colors and light atmosphere, and they always seem to have fun when it comes to design.”
Ferm Living: Ripple glassware
“There’s always a reason for a glass of bubbly, especially at Christmas! The Ripple champagne saucers have at the same time an old and a modern feel, so they are suitable for many homes. These glasses have been extremely popular here at our artist residence, and when our friends come to visit us, they always want to raise a toast with these glasses. I like many of the Ferm Living products, because they are carefully designed and beautiful items for everyday use.”
Artek: Lucia candleholder
“The Lucia candleholder can be used for both festive and everyday occasions. COMPANY, consisting of Aamu Song and Johan Olin, has such a fun approach to design. They design truly beautiful items with a twinkle in the eye, which is extremely welcome in the design world, which can sometimes be so black-and-white and serious.”
Text: Design Stories Images: Suvi Kesäläinen, Finnish Design Shop and manufacturers