Multi-award-winning Finnish designer, MIKKO LAAKKONEN unveils his new collection in collaboration with publishing house Isku — a collection named TUTTO, of which the Tutto chair is the icon. The collection aims to give people products made to be really used in everyday life. After receiving an honorary prize in the Suomi100 design competition orchestrated by ISKU, Icon-Icon wanted to meet him…
Mikko Laakkonen, can you come back to your background… How do you become a designer?
I have always been interested in almost everything I’ve done or seen. That means that I can´t master just one thing. But I do know something from many different things. So designer is quite a good choice. I also like to make things with my hands.First I study musical instrument making, so I’m graduated luthier. When I was making guitars my role was to make as good or better copies of Fender, Gibson etc guitars, so not exactly create totally new things. I of course also design my own models, but still work was more executive and not so creative. Because I have a hunger to create new things I started my design education. After I graduate and worked in design and architecture firms for several years, I founded my own studio in 2004.
Now I can bring my expertise to a variety of projects. From small objects to a complete corporate/brand identity. Also I have the privilege to work with different materials and companies who are masters to work with them.
How has your style evolved over time?
I feel that my design has become more quiet and pure. Focused on the essentials in each project.
What is for you the definition of a beautifully designed object?
Functional, beautiful, durable, recognizable.
We often tend to describe Scandinavian design as minimalist, and as going to the essentials – do you agree with this vision? Would you say that your approach of design is part of this movement?
Yes sure that description of Scandinavian design is part of the story. But in the end we, all nordic countries, have our own stories. Our tradition in Finland has been, maybe, more minimalist than in Denmark or Sweden. I definitely feel that my approach is part of the Scandinavian design heritage.
How was the Tutto collection sealed and in particular the collaboration with Isku?
I have worked with Isku for many years, and I designed products for them before the Tutto collection. But Tutto projects started with a competition organized by Isku. Tutto received an honorable mention and after competition we started to develop the ever growing Tutto collection.
What do you consider to be the most iconic object in the history of design?
There are quite many of those. But for me one of the most important pieces is LCW chair design by Charles and Ray Eames.
Tell us a bit about the Tutto chair…
Tutto collection is a versatile tool for architects and interior designers. With the Tutto collection you can furnish almost all kinds of public and private spaces. There are many products with many leg, color, material, upholstery variations to make fit to almost every project. Tutto is designed to fit and blend into the environment to avoid unnecessary visual noise.
The wood used in the production of these designed pieces comes from sustainable sources — is this a constraint that you integrate into your creative process?
I think that is not a constraint. For me it is quite natural to use sustainable materials. And especially in the future we cannot have any other like materials.
Interview by Sébastien Girard
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