Nordic Baltic design exhibition “16 steps closer”


Vilnius Academy of Arts Exposition Halls TITANIKAS, Maironio st. 3

One will never guess who we are. We’re peacefully exquisite like a bright summer night filled with gentle shadows and warmth that comes from the heart of the sea. We’re glaring and rebellious like the alarming Northern winds. We’re unpredictable and unstoppable and that’s how we live. It’s our sea which defines us as a people who are in love with versatility: the excitement of the forever changing seasons and the simplicity of the day spent by the seaside. It’s our aim to keep constantly changing.

However, we share one thing which is unbendable and fixed; it’s the future of the North and there is a place for the sea in it. In the winter of 2012 we come sixteen steps closer to our vision of a clear and living Baltic Sea.

There are many faces of design – it can be fashionable, industrial, functional or even controversial. What if all these characteristics of one field of creativeness could be brought together in one project dedicated to our vision of the future of the North? We believe that it could be a gateway to success. That’s why sixteen renowned design professionals from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have been selected to develop sixteen different projects with one goal in common – a clean and beautiful Baltic Sea. There were no limitations to the mode or the scale of the projects. The projects define us as responsible and future orientated inhabitants of the coasts of the Baltic Sea.Sixteen designers are exhibiting their ideas developed especially for the exhibition as well as their prior works.

Exhibition organizer: Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania.

Exhibition partners: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, The Royal Norwegian Embassy, Embassy of Denmark, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of Sweden, DSV Transport, AAS Gjensidige Baltic, VDA Exhibition Halls Titanikas.

Curator of the exhibition: Kari Korkman (Helsinki Design Week).

1 Step – Sailing boat with canting keel and rig by Björn Dahlström, Sweden

Björn Dahlström works with graphic and product design in the industrial and furniture sector both two- and three-dimensionally. Began in mid 1970s with animation and graphics for film and TV productions. In 1978 employed as art director and graphic designer in an advertising agency working mainly with printed design.Started his own company in 1982 concentrating on graphic design for clients like Ericsson, Scania, Atlas Copco etc. Today 80% of the work consists of industrial design.

Among the clients are Atlas Copco (building industry), Krups (electrical appliances), Playsam (wooden toys), Skeppshult (bicycles), Ittala (kitchenware), Magis Italy (plastic products), Plank Italy, Lammhults, David Design (furniture), Marimekko (printed textiles) and Swedish Museum of Architecture (exhibition design).

Björn Dahlström has been teaching at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design and at the Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm. Member of the Swedish Industrial Designers.
In 2001 was awarded the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg design prize, one of the most prestigious Nordic design prizes. 12 times has received the Excellent Swedish Design Award.

2 Step – Picnic bag by Cecilie Manz, Denmark

Cecilie Manz is a Danish industrial designer, one of the leading Danish furniture deisgners of her generation. Her work includes furniture, jewellery, lamps and sculptures. In addition to industrial products, Cecilie’s experimental prototypes and more sculptural one-offs make up an important part of her work and approach.

Cecilie Manz has studied at the Danish School of Design in Copenhagen and at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland. In 1998, a year after her graduation from the Danish School of Design, she started her own studio Manz Lab, which has been her work platform ever since.

Cecilie Manz’s strong feeling for functionality and insistence on quality made her an obvious choice for Fritz Hansen. With her products that successfully combine beauty, function, humour and craftsmanship she has exhibited with Issey Miyake Design in Tokyo, at Vitra Design Museum in Basel and is permanently represented in the exhibitions of MOMA and the Danish Design Centre.

3 Step – Baltic Mermaid by Hannu Kähönen, Finland

Art professor and industrial designer Hannu Kähönen is a versatile design professional, the founder and CEO of the Creadesign agency. His perspective ranges from practical and artistic design work to active participation at the national level, holding positions of trust in Finland and internationally. He also writes about design and teaches at institutions of higher education.

Hannu Kähönen is known as a versatile designer, professionally involved in work ranging from strategic design to the design of products and corporate images. Kähönen emphasizes the concept of Design for All, with accessibility and environmental impact as prime considerations.

The low-floor trams designed by Hannu Kähönen have a conspicuous presence in Helsinki public transport as well as many other public design works by Creadesign. In addition to the City of Helsinki, Kähönen’s clientele includes Assa Abloy, Bombardier, Siemens, Martela, Neste, Suunto, Tulikivi and Vaisala.

Kähönen’s design expertise has been widely acclaimed both in Finland and internationally. In 2001 Hannu Kähönen was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal by the President of Finland. In 2009 Kähönen received the Kaj Franck Design Prize, which is the most important design tribute in Finland.

4 Step – Exposed to the ocean by Helle Frogner, Norway

Helle Frogner is creative director of the Norwegian design brand Fabel. She works with high-end fashion, living in a remote farmers’ and fishers’ community Ervik, situated on the western coast of Norway. Her work reflects vast contrasts between the extreme environment of the North Sea and the hectic city life.

Helle Frogner holds a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Oslo. After working with film she proceeded with studying art and photography, eventually becoming a photographer. However, coming from a home with a long tradition in textile industry, she went into business to bring on the heritage of Fabel.

Last spring Helle Frogner left Oslo to settle by the ocean with her family and to work with her projects in a new setting.

5 Step – The Mirage by Ieva Kalēja, Latvia

Young Latvian designer Ieva Kalēja studied visual arts in Latvia and design in Milan.

In her creative work she uses natural materials and finds new ways of applying these to make her quirky and very stylish designs of light objects. She makes use of the intriguing contrasts within the materials – their natural harshness and perfect refinement alike.

Ieva’s light objects show a contemporary interpretation of the ‘handmade’: although manufactured by machine technologies, the light objects appear as handicraft – without being unnecessarily adapted or beautified.

Each of Ieva’s light objects designed for the Latvian design company Mammalampa – be it the paper-braid Bride, the corroded and gold-plated Queen, the hollow wood log Wise One or the painted canvas Sisters – speaks a different language while staying true to a common design ethos.

6 Step – Warming portraits of the Baltic sea by Jessica Signell Knutsson, Sweden

Swedish journalist Cia Wedin wrote about Jessica Signell Knutsson: “For Jessica, form comes first in the process. And from the form, function is materialized. Her method is to shape and structure first, scaling up and down, trying out different materials – often those she does not know much about.”

Jessica Signell Knutsson is a Swedish industrial designer. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Konstfack in Stockholm and has also studied product design at Central S:t Martins, London. During her studies she was an intern at several Swedish design studios and at James Irvine’s studio in Milan. She has also worked as an assistant to Anna von Schewen.

Now Jessica runs her own studio making designs for such legendary manufacturers as Covo (Italy), Asplund (Sweden) and LK Hjelle (Norway). She has also made several design projects for large companies – Absolut Vodka, Telenor and Statoil.

She lives in an old, traditionally red wooden house in Stockholm suburb Äppelviken, which she has filled with modern objects. Summers are spent in Gotland, in a 19th century lighthouse guard’s cottage standing on a cliff, which opens a 210° view over the Baltic Sea.

7 Step – Skipping stones by Johan Carlsson, Denmark

Johan Carlsson is a designer, an architect and the founder of the JAC studios – an incubator and laboratory for multidisciplinary practice and learning. The studio focuses on sustainable design and architecture of varying scale.

JAC studios’ projects range from participatory architecture, interior, exhibitions to events and workshops. The projects are comprehensive, and the relationship between concept, form and application is crucial. Their approach estimates possible consequences through built interventions and theoretical discourse.

Education: Danish Design School (Copenhagen Denmark), Architectural Association (London, United Kingdom).

Awards / Competitions:

  • 1st place – State Museum of Defence History, Denmark; architectural restoration and exhibition
  • 1st place – BOTÆT, “Living close does not necessarily mean…” a 3 min. film on sustainable living forms
  • Short-listed – DATE / Design Against the Elements, sustainable housing, Philippines
  • Short-listed – Solar Park, sustainable reuse of highway system, Italy
  • 1st place (in co-op with Morten Ludviksen, NABU, Norway)- Future wooden buildings.
  • 1st place – Bo-mobil, pneumatic dwelling scale 1:1, Stockholm Cultural Capital of Europe 98. Real Dania / Future farms, convivendi, Denmark

8 Step – Sharing by Juozas Brundza, Lithuania

Juozas Brundza is a conceptual designer and an associate professor of Design Department at the Vilnius Art Academy.

Most famous works: Auga (hanger), Coatrack (coat rack), For two (mirror), OP (hangerhook), Artist (cutting board), Lya (outdoor chair), Tasty (light), Magnet money-box, Luna (key box), Sketch (coat stand).

5th place in the UNESCO visual arts competition The Free Movement.

2nd place in the placard contest Tax-Free World Exhibition (France).

Winner of the International Bicycle Design Competition in Taiwan, 2004, with his “Multifun” bicycle-scooter, which is currently being manufactured by a Chinese company.

Grand Prix at the “Neformate 2008” design contest, Vilnius Design Week (hanger “Auga”).

In 2001 designers Juozas Brundza and Gediminas Stoškus established a proffessional designer group LTD Studio. The studio specializes in the field of industrial design, manufacturing and interior design of public spaces.

9 Step – Sea and ocean collection, (Part 2); Water remembers; Feathers from the land of nod; Precious by Kaija Poijula, Finland

Kaija Poijula is an art professional, sculptor and textile artist working with a variety of materials. The scale of her works range from life-size installations to miniatures. Work themes: life and death, rites of passage, joy and sorrow and rituals of everyday life.

Kaija’s textile work can be seen in the churches of Kuulosaari (Helsinki, Finland), Herttoniemi (Helsinki, Finland), Harju Funeral Chapel (Mikkeli, Finland) and the Palestinian Cultural Centre (Bethlehem, Palestine).
Kaija Poijula graduated from the University of Art & Design in Helsinki and has exhibited her art across Europe, USA and Japan.

10 Step – Sea Monsters by Katrin Olina, Iceland

Katrin Olin has worked predominantly as a graphic artist and illustrator in the fields of industrial design, fashion, interior, print and animation. Her work has also been featured in several prominent museum and gallery exhibitions around the world.

Katrin Olina studied Industrial Design at the E.S.D.I. in Paris and worked in the design studios of Philippe Starck (Paris) and Ross Lovegrove (London).

She has developed a rich visual language that builds on research, experimentation and intuitive creative drawing processes that combine the use of technology with hand drawings. Her imagery and graphics are often centered around natural elements and the imaginary.

In 2008 Katrin Olin created Eulespiegel – an animation featuring otherworldly landscapes and imaginary creatures. Another recent project has been Crystal Bar in Hong Kong, which has won numerous international awards: the Forum Aid Award in Stockholm, the SEGD Merit Prize in San Diego and the DV Culture Prize in Iceland in 2009.

The range of clients is wide and varied: the National Gallery in Oslo, the Print Magazine, Die Gestalten Verlag, Rosenthal, Fornarina, Dupont Corian(R) and the Montreux Jazz Festival, to name a few.

11 Step – Sea monsters by KRADS, Iceland

KRADS is a young architects practice based in Denmark, Iceland and periodically in New York, USA. The international setup provides a dynamic work environment drawing on a whole mix of cultural influences.
Founded in 2006, KRADS has completed a number of successful projects, received critical acclaim and awards – from building design to urban planning. Their work excels in strong and clear concepts, meticulously followed through down to every detail.

Working with both public and private clients KRADS promote close collaboration between the parties. Trying to develop interdisciplinary networks and a holistic approach, the young architects encourage collaboration whenever it could benefit the project at hand.

KRADS is led by founding partners & architects: Kristj?n Eggertsson, Kristj?n Örn Kjartansson, Kristoffer Juhl Beilman & Mads Bay Møller.

12 Step – Beach towel; Sun screen by Mare Kelpman, Estonia

Professor, textile designer and researcher Mare Kelpman is head of the Textile Design Department at the Estonian Art Academy. Is well-known even outside Estonia as the author of contemporary and innovative textiles. Kelpman’s creations include laser-cut window treatments and room dividers, 3D woven fabrics, curtains glowing in the dark, pillows and jewellery, as well as clothing and accessories made with a so-called aging technique.

Mare Kelpman’s textile studio provides services and consulting in relation to textile design. Products: interior textiles and clothing accessories.

13 Step – Firemat by Martin Pärn, Estonia

Martin Pärn, leading partner at the ISEASI design consultancy, has worked with a wide range of industries over the last 15 years – from industrial design projects of medical equipment to the design of office furniture and retail environments. Has been a strategic design consultant to numerous Estonian companies.

Education: a degree in Industrial Design from the Helsinki University of Industrial Arts, 1995.

Visiting professor of Strategic Design at the Estonian Art Academy and a course leader of Design & Engineering Programme in Tallinn University of Technology and Estonian Art Academy.

Has played an active role in drafting and developing Estonian design policy. Has chaired the Estonian Association of Designers and organised the DesignYear in 2007. At present is the Council Chairman of the Estonian Design Centre.

Has won several design awards, including Red Dot Best of the Best, Estonian Design Award BRUNO and Platinum ADEX Award. His MARTIN table has been nominated by the German MD magazine as one of the 200 best furniture pieces of the 20th century.

14 Step – Pure Baltic by Rasa Baradinskiene, Lithuania

Works with furniture, interior and accessories design. Creates special drawings for private and public spaces. Actively takes part in design exhibitions worldwide. Writes articles about design and art. Education: Vilnius Art Academy (Lithuania).

„I like to create a little bit strange, extraordinary things, something from my dreams, but at the same time still functional and serving their traditional purpose. For me it is important that decorative impression does not displace functionality. I am interested in human surroundings, particularly in personal homes and things people own. I appreciate originality and singularity. Solving my target tasks I try go deep into the essence of the matter and find my own solutions.

Some of my creative periods: Balance of Contrasts, The Passion of Round Forms, My Dream Furniture, The Design of Senses.

The latter period is called The Design of Senses because I think it’s worth adding positive emotions to material utilitarian things. Nowadays the world is overladen with things, drowning in consumption, at the same time lacking in positive feeling. But all of us would like to feel safe, happy, joyful – it is so common for everyone all around the world. So I’m trying to express it through my design projects, creating objects as contemporary icons, symbols of a positive mind. I like creating feelings rather than barely things.

15 Step – Dissolving objects by Runa Klock, Norway

Runa Klock is a product and furniture designer based in Oslo, Norway, where she also studied at the Oslo National Art Academy. Her designs have been shown on a number of exhibitions throughout Europe.

Often inspired by nature she designs sustainable products and personalized furniture, creates interiors and exhibition designs, in addition to organizing and participating in workshops and various interdisciplinary projects. For example, she initiated and organized Furuhælvetica – an experimental design / art project which has received much attention and has been exhibited in several places, not least at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

16 Step – Light box by Pēteris Bajārs, Latvia

Pēteris Bajārs graduated from the Riga Technical University in 2002. Since 1997 he had been working in various architect studios: AKA, KUBS, ACG (and its office in Moscow). Opened his own architect office INDIA in 2004.

One of the first and professionally acclaimed INDIA projects was a contemporary take on a dwelling house facade at Strēlnieku ielā 7. Other major objects – a corner district of the Hotel Latvia and a former Carl Zeiss factory turned into a modern office-building.

Highest professional achievement – Pārventa Library project in Ventspils, crowned as the best building of the year in 2010.
Alongside his professional career Pēteris Bajārs has been an active contributor to discussions in various national media, expressing his opinions on various ongoing processes and topical issues.

Exhibition design: Julija Petkeviciene (VDA Exposition Halls Titanikas)