Listening to Finland Design in Life
Veli-Matti Palomäki, Bo Yi
Consulate General of Finland in Shangha, Business Finland, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Guests: Bo Yi, Veli-Matti Palomäki (Finland)
Co-Hosts: Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai, Business Finland, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
Date: Sunday, November 15, 2020
Venue: Multimedia Hall (1F), Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
.For the public health, the event requires real-name registration.
.Please bring your ID and wait in line at the admission.
.Before your entrance, you should get your temperature measured and register your information.
.Please wear a face mask the whole time during your visit. If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or short of breath, please understand that admission will not be granted.
.Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the event.
2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Finland. Coincidently, the current exhibition in Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum is the great Finnish contemporary artist duo Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen’s first solo exhibition ever held in Asia. During this exhibition, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum collaborates with the Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai and Business Finland to launch the series of public education activities “Listening to Finland” in honor of the 70th anniversary of China-Finland diplomatic relations. This series of public education activities will cover diverse aspects of Finland, including art, architecture, design, education, lifestyle, people’s relation with nature, etc., in order to panoramically reveal the contemporary cultural climate of Finland and bring in new energy to the current conversation between China and Finland. Hopefully the audience can be inspired to have more perspectives on the current exhibition.
Finland’s design is about the aesthetics that stands the test of the time, the balance of form and function, and the lifestyle that live in peace with nature. It is also a mode of thinking, which leads to a pursuit of both pragmatism and aesthetics. The daily objects designed with Finnish philosophy is both functional and beautiful, revealing the bond between nature and human. The unique natural scene, the Finnish sincerity and honesty are woven into Finnish design, which underlines beauty in simplicity.
Finnish furniture design mainly uses material from nature, and takes sustainability into account. They will also consider the design’s impact on climate. The very essence of Finnish design is in its ability to take the natural world and seamlessly weave it into everyday life. For different living scene, Finns use different combination of materials, forms, and colors, which result in the daily objects that cater to the Finns’ need.
Speaking of Finnish design, Marimekko is a name that you cannot miss. The products of this 70-year-old Finnish lifestyle design house can be seen in almost every Finnish house, be it house hold goods, garment, or accessories. Founded by Armi Ratia in 1951, Marimekko aims to add vibrant colors to the world with inspiration from nature. During 1950s, the time when the predominant fashion was rather restricting, Marimekko started making liberating dresses in abstract patterns in vibrant colors for women who are bold in expressing their personality through their choice of attire.
The core of Finnish design always lies in nature. This can be dated back to the “Arts and Crafts” and “Jugnstil” movement that took place around the world from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Finnish design, in that period, heavily uses decorative elements from Kalevala, the Finnish epic. The 1920s international modernism made a huge impact on Finland, turning its architecture aesthetics to streamliner and minimalism style. It is no hyperbole to say that Finnish modernism was shaped by Alvar Aalto, the most famous architect and designer. Alvar Aalto’s design focuses on the eternity and nature: form must be based on the content, while the content must be about the nature.
Alvar Aalto and his wife, Aino Aalto co-founded Artek, a furniture collection that turned the revolutionary “structural design” into a classic. They get their inspiration from the surrounding shapes and colors, and make them into beautiful gadget that constitute a living space. Organic Modernism is a unique label of Artek. Artek designers bring humanity element into design and architecture, which resulted in Finland holding a special place in early modernism movement. To this day, organic modernism is still a key concept of design.
Since 1935 more than one and a half million Aalto stools have been sold. In 2006, Artek began collecting used Aalto chairs and stools, searching them out from flea markets and old factories, schools and shipyards. This led to the founding of the Artek 2nd Cycle initiative, which offers these re-discovered pieces for sale, beginning a second cycle in their lives. Artek 2nd Cycle promotes conscious consumption – the idea that what we buy should be carefully chosen, cherished rather than disposed – and seeks to honor the natural materials that have gone into producing these enduring designs.
Some of Iittala’s glass products are the best examples that showcase the natural elements in Finnish design. For instance, the Wave collection (1932) which was inspired from the water waves when a stone hits the lake, and the Savoy Vase (1936) that turns the glass into the shape of lakes. The vase is made of 100% recycled glass produced entirely from waste glass at the Iittala Glass Factory in Finland. The wider size showcases fuller flower arrangements. Mixed colored glass results in a beautiful variation of blues, greens and natural earthy shades. Each recycled piece is unique and the color may vary, while the producing process saved energy and material.
Since 2018, Finland has been entitled the happiest country in the world for successive three years. With the love of nature and a bit of social fear, Finnish people are surrounded by the design in life, and their special sauna. On Sunday, guest lecturer Bo Yi from WOWdsgn and Veli-Matti Palomäki from the Consulate General will talk about Finnish design and lifestyle. They are going to talk about the symbols, structures, and color philosophy in Finnish design, as well as the inspiration source of Finns: the natural environment and their historic context.
Veli-Matti Palomäki is the Finland Promotion Officer at Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai. He is in charge of the press and cultural communication. From 2012 until 2016 he worked as a teacher of Mandarin Chinese as well as the coordinator for Yanzu, a national-level project in Finland for promoting Chinese language learning in upper secondary schools. In 2017 at the Finland-China Culture Gala in Helsinki, Veli-Matti Palomäki received a contribution award in the category of education and pedagogy for my work with Yanzu and as a Chinese language teacher. While teaching Chinese in Finland, Veli-Matti Palomäki actively promote Chinese language and culture, hosting Sino-Finnish communicative events. He is also an experienced performer, writing and performing music in three languages, and have worked as a multilingual host in several cultural events.
Design Director of WOWDSGN, a Nordic design collection brand. Graduated from Rice University, Bo Yi has a Bachelor degree major in Architecture and Economics. After he came back to China, Bo Yi joined WOWDSGN, a design collection brand that is dedicated to adding Nordic naturalism into Chinese daily life. Focusing on every user’s life at home, WOWDSGN integrated the Nordic lifestyle of simplicity and being close to nature into daily life, and to lead new trends in home aesthetics to fuel the elevation of life quality in China in the future.