Habitare’s Protoshop will present 13 up-and-coming designers and the prototypes they have created for future products. In addition to products from traditional categories, the event will present, for example, a birdhouse. In the exhibition, designers get to present their prototypes to potential manufacturers and buyers. Habitare will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki from 9 to 13 September 2020.
Protoshop is a curated exhibition co-produced by Imu Design and Habitare, which will, this year, be held for the twelfth time. The mission of Habitare’s The Block area is to discover great product ideas, to present them to companies and the public, and to help good ideas find manufacturers. Almost a whole generation of Finnish designers has already passed through Protoshop, with dozens of product ideas making it into production with Finnish and Nordic manufacturers.
“Protoshop has typically featured works that open up new, insightful perspectives on the world of objects in homes and public spaces, and this is the case this year, as well. Traditional product categories from light fittings to tables and chairs are represented, but exhibits also include, for example, a birdhouse and a space divider, which also lends itself to building playhouses. This year’s Protoshop will feature 12 new prototypes, all of which demonstrate an insightful way of finding new solutions for today’s homes and public spaces, and the ability to turn an idea into a product that will stand the test of time. Since 2009, the event has presented a total of 140 product ideas from 130 designers, and it has established itself as an annual review of new Finnish design”, say Imu Design’s Elina Aalto, Krista Kosonen and Saara Renvall, the curators of Protoshop.
The designers to be featured at the 2020 Protoshop are:
KITA | Tatu Laakso
Kita is a multifunctional side-table set that is suitable for both homes and public spaces. The two-level table acts as both a worktop and storage space. Its half-closed lower part can be used for storing, for example, magazines or a bag. Due to its shape, the taller model can be pulled partly over a sofa, so that it doubles as a casual worktop or coffee table. Tatu Laakso graduated as a designer from the Lahti Institute of Design in 2017, and he is currently completing his Master’s degree in interior architecture at Aalto University. Laakso’s aim is to design functional furniture that is simple to manufacture and that stands the test of time both physically and visually.
FLOW| NG Wing Yin (Didi)
FLOW is a wooden lounge chair made of birch plywood and solid wood. Its hollow frame highlights the tension and strength created by the plywood part. The geometric base structure creates an effective contrast to the curved lines of the seat. The empty space between them creates a visual balance and a harmonious end result. Originally from Hong Kong, Didi is currently studying for an MA in interior architecture at Aalto University. In addition to designing spaces, furniture and other objects, he is also fascinated by art.
dd-ng.com | @dd_ng
BASIL | Essi Aalto
Basil is a set of two different-sized vases. The starting point for the design was to create a large vase in which flowers would stay upright and not droop over the sides. A teardrop-shaped body, made of mouth-blown glass, has been paired with a wooden, perforated lid. The holes in the lid keep the flowers upright and give the vase a distinctive look. Essi Aalto is currently completing her Master’s studies in interior architecture at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. In her design, Aalto aims to solve problems using simple insights and a straightforward and timeless design idiom.
BIRDBOX | Tautvydas Petruškevičius
Birdbox is a new kind of folding birdhouse that does not use glue or metal parts. Birdbox, which consists entirely of wood and plywood, easily lends itself to mass production. The product is made up of eight pieces of plywood, which are bent and connected with two wooden pins to create a shell-like nest. Tautvydas Petruškevičius is a Lithuanian industrial designer who is studying at Middlesex University in London, and has completed an Erasmus exchange programme at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki. In 2018, Tautvydas was selected for the Junior Achievement Europe mentoring programme as one of sixteen young European influencers. Thanks to his varied experience, he is a good problem-solver and a designer who believes in long-lasting and efficient design solutions.
LINNOITUS | Elina Parmakoff & Katarina Westerlund
Linnoitus (‘Fortress’) is a space divider designed for the kindergarten environment, which can also be used to improve acoustics and inspire new games. The magnets at the ends of the product enable the parts to be connected, allowing them to be used for building a playhouse or a fortress. The material used is PET felt, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Elina Parmakoff and Katarina Westerlund graduated as furniture designers from the Lahti Institute of Design in the spring of 2020. As designers, they are interested in timeless, user-oriented design, and sustainable development.
ALVARI | Maiju Räty
Alvari is a flatpack plywood ceiling lamp. Its timeless design idiom, combined with the beautiful wood material and the manufacturing method made possible by water and laser cutting, create an interesting combination that will stand the test of time. The ceiling lamp, with a reduced Scandinavian aesthetic, is suitable for both public spaces and home environments, creating beautiful light and shadows around it. Maiju Räty is a fourth-year student of interior architecture and furniture design at the Lahti Institute of Design. For her, design is problem-solving and interaction with the environment.
LOU | Laura Kuusajoki
Delicate and poetic in its design idiom, Lou is a classic table lamp with a modern twist. A geometric arc supports the shade, creating an impression of lightness and buoyancy. The light source is hidden in a cylindrical leg, allowing light to be reflected through the shade. Laura Kuusajoki is currently studying on the programme of interior architecture and furniture design at the Lahti Institute of Design. Her work draws on the use of colours, durable materials, and a variety of shapes.
MATAMI | Miika Ruotsalainen
Matami is a low side table made of birch. The starting point for the design was to do something artistic but still functional. The legs of the table are lathed, and one of the legs is hollow, so it also doubles as a vase for flowers. The table is inspired by Japanese ikebana art. Miika Ruotsalainen is a Helsinki-based interior architect who is completing his Master’s degree in interior architecture at Aalto University. As a designer, he is interested in combining art and practicality, imperfection, and ecological values.
T03 | Aleksi Peltonen
T03 is a light but durable solid-wood table for homes and public spaces. The set includes two coffee tables of different sizes and a taller bar table. Aleksi Peltonen graduated as a designer from the Lahti Institute of Design, and he is currently studying on the Master’s programme in contemporary design at Aalto University. Aleksi has a degree in cabinetmaking, and wood is indeed one of the most important materials for him.
SAMMAL | Lilli Ilmavirta
The inspiration for the Sammal (‘Moss’) rug comes from a desire to bring a piece of nature indoors. The rug plays with volume, colours and textures, but still retains its earthy feel. As a material, wool feels soft underfoot, just like real moss. Lilli Ilmavirta is a textile designer who graduated from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Her works are often colourful, rich, and earthy. She uses plants and nature as sources of inspiration, both from her travels and from her own backyard.
NAKU | Veli-Antti Virtanen
NAKU is a playful coat rack inspired by nature. The design process addressed the form and function of the unit using the means of sculpture and composition. As a fresh and sculptural element, it is suitable for both homes and public spaces, and when placed in a row, it also doubles as a space divider. Veli-Antti is a student of interior architecture and furniture design at the Lahti Institute of Design. He approaches design from the perspectives of ecology, function and mood, and is inspired by nature and everyday observations.
UNISONO | Virpi Heikkinen
The idea for the shape of the Unisono lamp came from an old object used to cool freshly baked bread. The use of three different basic shapes in the shades creates a timeless and clean-lined, yet visually intriguing design. It is easy to adjust the lamp by scaling it up and down or rearranging the shades. The underlying idea is how different individual parts complement each other and can together form something completely new. Virpi Heikkinen is studying design at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The dialogue between forms, materials and function inspires her to seek new and sustainable everyday solutions in her design.
This year, in addition to Imu Design’s Elina Aalto, Krista Kosonen and Saara Renvall, the jury included the creative director of Habitare, Laura Sarvilinna, and the editor-in-chief of Glorian Koti magazine, Saila-Mari Kohtala. The 2020 Protoshop call for entries attracted 108 proposals, from which the jury chose ideas that combine a fresh and original vision with strong product potential. The exhibited designers are Finnish and foreign design students at the end of their studies, as well as newly graduated designers.
The main partner of the Protoshop exhibition is Glorian Koti magazine.
Images of the designers: Aino Huhtaniemi
Habitare: communications manager Eva Kiviranta, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 40 775 6609
Habitare, the largest furniture, design and interior decoration event in Finland, will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki, from 9 to 13 September 2020. Habitare offers experiences and ideas on interior decoration, and on the functioning and look of homes and other spaces. Habitare highlights the ideas and works by a new generation of designers, and sparks discussion. The International Friend of Habitare in 2020 is Joseph Grima. In 2020, the 50-year-old Habitare celebrates the history of Finnish design and living. | www.habitare.fi | @HabitareFair | www.facebook.com/habitare | #habitare2020