Meet Pekka – the Design Fan in the Wild
In the far north of Finland, there’s a place where top Finnish design is on display in the middle of nowhere.
When people talk about Finnish design in international forums, they always talk about how important the natural world of the country’s far north has been for creativity. So, almost as a logical conclusion of that, deep into Lapland, there is a place where top Finnish design can be seen right at the source of this inspiration: Design House Idoli is an extraordinary design studio and showcase right in the heart of the wilderness. Its creator Pekka Sillfors explains why.
A Labour of Love in Lapland
- Design House Idoli all started about twenty years ago when my wife Hanneli and I met in Helsinki and fell in love. Almost from that very moment, we started looking for a place in northern Lapland where we could spend a year’s sabbatical and forget the busy pace of life in the south. We found an old lumberjack’s cabin on the shore of Lake Inari and, with a bit of work, turned it into a home.
Studio reached by a plank walk
- During that “year out” we realised that we wanted to stay in Lapland permanently. We started to brainstorm ideas for a top Finnish design exhibition in the middle of the wilderness. We designed a studio next door to our home, reached via a plank walk across the marsh, in which we could show visitors to Lapland something of the impact that the far north has had on modern culture.
Inspiration: the wilderness
- Finnish artists and designers have always drawn on Lapland for their inspiration. But deep into the location itself, you can really see how the power of nature and the unspoilt purity of Europe’s last wilderness have been translated to the products. Timeless design meets a precise moment in time amid the peace of nature. It’s where inspiration meets harsh practicality, so it’s no surprise that Finns are world leaders when it comes to functional design.
Stunning in summer
- Neither my wife nor I are originally from Lapland, but when we left Helsinki behind us we had no doubts about heading north. Our roots may lie in the south but our hearts are definitely in the north. Although the summer is short here, there’s an extraordinary amount going on. The colours and the sheer exuberance of nature are stunning. And, after 20 years, here the light of the sun on a summer night still feels magical. It would be a sin to go to bed.