A Decade of Helsinki Design Week: Part 4/4 - Design Bureau

Saara Renvall

Image courtesy of Saara Renvall

Saara Renvall

Portrait by Chris Force

Saara Renvall

Image courtesy of Saara Renvall


A Decade of Helsinki Design Week: Part 4/4

Monday, August 18th, 2014

For independent designer Saara Renvall, design is more about expressive freedom and variety than it is about sticking to any one material or technique. She won Finland’s “Young Designer of the Year” award in 2010 and has tried her hand at much of what the design world has to offer. Her work includes intricately crafted furniture and baskets as well as her signature Kukka, a popular flower-inspired brooch that glimmers on lapels across Finland.

“I thought I would be a furniture designer, and then I realized it’s really a tiny thing of what I really want to do,” she says. “I want to investigate and make a difference, and I find my profession is a good tool to make little changes.” We caught up with her to talk about Finland, being a female designer, and what the future holds.

What’s the opportunity in Finland versus anywhere else for design?

When people talk about Finnish design, they talk about the ’50s, and it has been great. But the critics are saying that we’re not doing as well as we were. I want to take responsibility for the outcome of my products. Everyone is waiting for the old companies to do something new, and I’m waiting for new companies to do something.

What is it like being a female contemporary designer?

I’m female, but I don’t think there is a block of female or male designers. I think I am a Finnish designer. I work with people I like and people whose work I relate to. The women I have worked with have certain qualities I like, and they’re quite fast. Mainly, I work with male clients because of production and engineering.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I’ve realized that I want to have a company. I have so much I am passionate about, and I need to find a company or have my own with a nice flow going on. When I look back, it’s nice to think about my work. I was really doing things slow and thinking. I was so young and working seven times harder than I should have. Now I have been waiting for companies to call, which is a very Finnish way to do business. I need to focus and start to realize where I am going and find people that feel the same way.

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