The Finnish design duo Studio Finna conceptualised the Pujo series on the basic structure of a wild plant in the Nordic nature. We talk to the team behind
When talking about nordic design, there is no way around the Finnish influence on the scene. With their strong heritage and nuanced design language, we were over the moon to meet the Helsinki-based duo Studio Finna founded by Anni Pitkäjärvi and Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä. Although the two women at first glance may seem as different as night and day, they have found common ground in a vision of creating products that solve fundamental needs and become part of your life journey. From Japan, over design school, to working with us on the product line Pujo – we sat down with the power couple in our Copenhagen showroom THE HOME one sunny morning to talk about their journey.
Although representing a very clear and precise design vision, there are no straight lines in the story of how Anni Pitkäjärvi and Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä reached the point they are at today. Lucky coincidences and a pottery class led the two together, and since their first meeting in 2014, they have worked together on a variety of design projects.
“In any case, we are complementing each other very well”
The good balance
With a background in architecture, Hanna-Kaarina moved to Japan to work at an architecture studio. On the weekends, she attended a pottery class, and the connection to the materials and a hands-on approach led her away from architecture and into product design. Upon returning to Helsinki, she took a week off work to do the mandatory five-day test at the Aalto University before being accepted to their famous product design line. This is where she met Anni, a student of spatial design, for the first time, working together on making the school's fair stand at the Salone Satellite, a part of the famous Salon del Mobile in Milan.
“Hanna is the crazier of us. I will always try to drag her back down from the clouds,”
Today, their different backgrounds are visible in their approach to design: Hanna-Kaarina's work starts at a conceptual level, with an eye for the bigger picture, whereas Anni is more into the smaller details.
"It may not be so evident in our day-to-day work," Hanna-Kaarina tells, "but maybe it's an overall thing. In any case, we are complementing each other very well." Anni takes over. "Hanna is the crazier of us. I will always try to drag her back down from the clouds," she laughingly adds. Hanna smiles. "It's a good balance."
Same problem, different context
Founded on a vision of creating designs that are long-lasting and solves an actual need, Studio Finna covers a wide range from basic products to pieces that have an individual and strong character.
"It's difficult to summarise our design philosophy," Hanna-Kaarina says, "but it is our mission to create products that will become a part of people's life journey."
"but it is our mission to create products that will become a part of people's life journey."
From the fundamental question: "How would you like to organise your hallway?" the duo started sketching ideas. A day later, the first mock-up for what would become the Pujo series was reality. With their inspiration found in the Nordic nature, the series is created from the basic structure of pujo – the Finnish word for the wild plant mugwort.
Uncertain whether or not to bring the new design to the fair Salone Satellite in April 2017, they finally decided that it was too beautiful to let it stay in Finland. And good that they did, because it was here that our founder Trine Andersen discovered them and saw the potential in their hallway series. One year later, the first two products, the Pujo Wall Rack and Table was introduced as part of the ferm LIVING Spring/Summer '18 collection.
IThis season, the Pujo Coat Stand joins the family, which now offers sculptural and functional pieces for the large and small hallway. And even beyond that, Anni says:
"It's nice that the Pujo series is so versatile – basically, you can use the products anywhere. All four of them represent the craftsmanship behind while allowing each design to be a little piece of art. That way, they can be used in all places of the home."
"We have the same problem with storage and wardrobe in different contexts," Hanni-Kaarina adds. "The series solves that and offers different solutions because we all have something we want to hide and something we wish to display," she says.