Join Saana Sipilä and Olli Sallinen, the Finnish designer duo known as Saana ja Olli, as they share their latest news and favorite holiday traditions with Design Stories. Get a sneak peek of the pair’s winter highlights and pick up their gift ideas from Finnish Design Shop!
Hi, Saana and Olli! How are you?
“Despite these turbulent times globally, we're doing well. Recently, the highlights have been our child's birthday celebrations—observing and marvelling at their continuous growth. Over the past few weeks, we've been doing design work for Japan, drafting a baby book for Finnish publisher WSOY, conceptualizing coffee packaging designs, acting as local tour guides in our hometown, Turku, and of course, getting ready for the upcoming holiday season.”
What traditions do you or your family have for end-of-year celebrations?
“We've cherished the holiday season since childhood. Family gatherings have always been at the heart of our holiday season. It's a delightful tradition to connect and meet distant relatives during the holidays. When our first child was born, the traditions have taken on an even more profound meaning.
“We enjoy the darkness, and part of the holiday atmosphere is candlelight and the warmth of the fireplace.”
We start Christmas celebrations with the morning sauna and ice swimming. During the holiday season, our thoughts also turn to those who have passed away, and visits to the cemetery are significant rituals. We enjoy the darkness, and part of the holiday atmosphere is candlelight and the warmth of the fireplace. And let's not forget the food, it takes centre stage in our festivities! Olli prepares seitan, and Saana cooks carrot fish, which is known as "porkkala" in Finnish, eggplant herring and a veggie version of toast skagen, made from tofu.”
What is the best Christmas gift you have received or given?
“Olli's most memorable gift was in first grade when a puppy named Redo appeared under Santa's beard. The dog became his trusted childhood friend in many adventures. Typically, we spoil friends and family with our own products and also with second-hand books that match the recipient's interests. Those books we discover throughout the year.”
Saana and Olli’s gift tips:
Saana ja Olli’s Kaukana kotoa cosmetic bag
“Of course, we give our own textiles as gifts! The cosmetic bag from our Kaukana kotoa collection, which translates to “far from home”, is a practical and durable present that finds use in every household.”
Hario’s Buono kettle
“When Saana was studying abroad in Kyoto, she fell in love with the Buono kettle by Hario. Since then, it has been the most-used tool in our home. We are both heavy consumers of tea and different infusions.”
Phaidon’s Piet Oudolf at Work
Vaarnii’s 001 stool
Iris Hantverk’s broom
Hetkinen’s salt soap
Text: Design Stories Images: Suvi Kesäläinen and manufacturers