Kus­taa Saksi is a Fin­nish artist and de­signer based in Am­s­ter­dam, spe­cial­is­ing in graphic sto­ry­telling through pat­terns, tex­tile art and in­stal­la­tion. Grad­u­at­ing in 2000 from the Lahti In­sti­tute of De­sign, he moved to Paris where he worked as an il­lus­tra­tor for many years. Af­ter re­lo­cat­ing to the Nether­lands, Saksi started ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent types of weav­ing tech­niques, and dis­cov­ered his pas­sion for tex­tiles.

Com­bin­ing or­ganic qual­i­ties with uniquely de­tailed tex­tures and rich colour palettes with ex­per­i­men­tal ma­te­rial use, Saksi’s works have been ex­hib­ited at the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum, the Cooper He­witt Smith­so­nian De­sign Mu­seum and in gal­leries world­wide. Saksi has pro­duced com­mis­sioned art­works for com­pa­nies such as Issey Miyake, La­coste, Nike, Marimekko and Swedese.


A re­cent brand col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fin­nish brand Marimekko in­volved the de­sign of a range of prints and home­ware. “They let me work quite freely and I was able to de­liver a col­lec­tion that matched both our in­ter­ests,” says Saksi. “I think it’s im­por­tant that the brand’s val­ues and aes­thetic are some­what sim­i­lar or com­pat­i­ble with my vis­ual world.”

Work­ing with screen print­ing tech­niques meant a cer­tain set of re­stric­tions in terms of de­tail and colour use, par­tic­u­larly when de­sign­ing for cloth­ing. “It is im­por­tant that the re­peats work well with the cut pat­terns,” says Saksi, who worked closely with the Marimekko de­sign team through­out the project. “The fi­nal colour com­bi­na­tions also have to work with the rest of the col­lec­tion – so good com­mu­ni­ca­tion with in-house designers is oblig­a­tory.”


While it’s nat­u­ral to be in­spired by the work of prac­tis­ing artists and designers, widen the net to find ref­er­ences from ar­chi­tec­ture or pho­tog­ra­phy or books – any­thing that sparks your own ideas will make it more per­sonal to you. “I think it’s im­por­tant to de­velop a strong, unique vis­ual lan­guage that is not based on any­thing other than your own skill and ex­pe­ri­ences,” ad­vises Saksi. His own ab­stract works are of­ten in­spired by vi­sions and dreams hap­pen­ing in the bor­der­land be­tween sleep and wak­ing.

Merivuokko (sea anemone) and Mer­i­heinä (sea grass), tex­tile prints, Marimekko SS15 home col­lec­tion

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