4 Ques­tions with Elina Aalto

We speak to Fin­nish de­signer Elina Aalto, who runs de­sign office Aalto + Aalto and cu­rates Habitare: The Block, an ex­hi­bi­tion show­cas­ing works by young de­sign­ers in Fin­land.

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Tell us about Fin­nish de­sign.

It’s in our DNA. Fin­nish de­sign­ers like to boil con­cepts down to the essentials; there’s an idea, but its ex­e­cu­tion isn’t flashy. On the other hand, our tac­tile in­dus­try is more ad­ven­tur­ous with prints and colour. In Marimekko, for in­stance, the world is very vi­brant. Fin­land gets dark and colour­less dur­ing win­ter, so it’s nec­es­sary to get that dose of colour from some­thing!

You work with many young de­sign­ers. What have they taught you?

That you have to make things hap­pen for your­self! The de­sign­ers are very ac­tive in con­tact­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers, in and out of Fin­land. This is not my strong point (laughs).

What is your ad­vice to them?

There is an over­flow of prod­ucts in the world, so en­sure that your de­signs are rel­e­vant by think­ing about the life cy­cle of the prod­uct and its ma­te­ri­als. It has to be long-last­ing, and not con­trib­ute to the waste.

What is your trend pre­dic­tion for 2018?

N OW I think we might be re­vis­it­ing the Mem­phis trend of the 80s, though in a slightly dif­fer­ent and low-key tone.


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