Interview on March 25, 2011
Hi Mikko, how are you?
Thank you, very well! I recently started work on a new, interesting project. My work in progress, among others, is a series of conference chairs and a table.
Your works are better known than your name. Tell us three sentences about you.
Hmm, I am a happy man. I come from the scenic capital city (Helsinki,Finland). I like many kinds of rhythm music, good food and the sea.
Latva -wall coat-rack (2006)
How does your home look like?
I live in Helsinki’s Töölö area, very close to my office. My home is quite white and the furniture is mainly prototypes of my designs.
What is your favorite object?
I cannot pick just one, but my favorites would include the Dobro guitar I designed in school, all my records, and my kitchen knives.
Kola -chair for Inno (2010)
Your design, the Kola chair series, recently received the Good Design Award. Congratulations! Please tell us about the birth of the series?
Kola was born in a conversation with the manufacturer Inno. I had earlier designed for them the Case series of magazine racks, so it was natural to design a chair for them as well. I believe long-term relationships between the designer and manufacturing company help considerably in allowing good products to emerge. Inno liked the draft of the Kola chair. Thereafter, we discussed the material and realized that we both thought of the felt material asbeing ideal.
Kola has a long lifespan and its ecological footprint is small. Formulation and design of ecological thinking these days can no longer be ignored. I believe that the best ecological thinking is to design products with a lifetime as long as possible. Gio Ponti once said of all the objects in the world, art is the longest lasting. In the future, new versions of Kola will be available at the Milan Fair.
Magazine rack/waste-paper bin for Casamania (2009)
You've done a lot of cooperation with Italian companies. Why just Italians?
Italy is one of the best design producing countries, if not the most important. Also, I like Italy, Italian food and wine - the whole package!
One of the fruits of cooperation with Covo has produced an excellent Latva coat hanger. How did the collaboration with Covo begin?
I was with my friends in the Milan Salone Satellite show where I did the first prototypes of Latva. Covo’s representatives saw a rack there, after which westarted to think about how it could be smartly produced.
Eno -chair for Covo (2009)
Who are your role models as designers?
I admire Tapio Wirkkala and Eames’s work. Newer designers I follow are
Jasper Morrison and the Bouroullec brothers. They seem to be continuously introducing great products to the market.
What would be your dream project?
To design great products to a large prestigious design firm, such as Vitra or B&B.
Rinne -chairs for Zilio Aldo & Co. (2010)
What do you expect for the upcoming summer?
I expect that I will take my sailboat to the sea. Last summer, I could not get to sail more than twice, because all summer long I had a residency in Paris. Sailing is best when you do not need to do anything else but sail. On the sea you do not need think anything else. It is great to navigate the waters without an engine. Also, the idea that, in principle, I am only a sailboat’s journey away from, for example, Fiji, is fascinating.
Interview: Anna Korpi-Kyyny
Translation: Darby Thomas
Photograph: Heikki Rautio