1. Did design or art play a role in your environment when growing up?
I do not come from an outspoken artistic background; but my parents have always encouraged me to play with toys and create things. My absolute favourite toy was – and still is – Lego. I really enjoyed creating things with Lego over and over again. I guess you could say that I did my very first designs with Lego.
2. Do you remember the very first object that you designed? When was this?
When I was 14, I created my first own design. We were looking for a lamp for my room, but I could not find anything that I really liked, so I made one myself. That’s when I understood that it is possible to make anything yourself. Since then, many things followed.
3. What inspires you?
Since I design tools for people to use frequently, I have developed a keen interest in everyday situations of people using things. I love observing people at work with a tool – it is as if you are shown a movie that reveals which challenges you have to overcome as a user. For example, when you watch a really tall man using a spade to dig a hole, it becomes obvious that frequent bending is a burden. This kind of insight tells me, as a designer, what kind of solution I should look for.
4. Do you have a design ritual?
I don’t really have a design ritual as such, but each design does involve a lot of observing. At different stages of an activity, I take pictures of the people performing that activity. I also pay a lot of attention to the context in which the object will be used, because culture can influence the design as well. For example, a garden in Spain will be completely different to one in Finland and therefore may require a different approach.
5. What is your design motto?
If I’d have to pick one, it would be “improving lives by improving products”.
6. What is your favourite design object of all times?
Definitely Lego! I am currently passing on my enthusiasm to my 4-year old son Max.
7. You have a degree as a metal artisan. Is metal still your favourite material to work with?
The advantage of metal is that I truly understand how the material works as a metal artisan. When moving on to study industrial design, I of course started to work with other materials that each have their own characteristics.
8. Does your experience in the film industry influence the way you design objects?
When you design costumes or movie sets, it’s all about conveying a specific mood to the viewers in a few seconds only. You have to convince them of the setting. When designing products, it is much the same: a new product only has a few seconds to convince a consumer of its design and functionality.
9. If you were a tree, you would be a….
Birch because it is simple and straightforward, but also constantly in evolution.
10. What makes you laugh?
I find a lot of pleasure in life itself, but my biggest source for laughter is my son Max.
11. Do you collect anything?
I collect hats and shoes.
12. What is your favourite book, music or movie?
My favourite movie would be The 5th Element. Not only is it a very funny movie, it also has an interesting philosophy on the future. It definitely provides food for thought!
13. Are you a keen gardener?
In Finland everyone is a gardener! We are lucky to have lots of green space, and I spend lots of time outdoors doing some gardening or chopping wood.
14. Other than gardening, what other hobbies do you have?
I spend lots of time with my family, but I also enjoy motorcycling, tennis and yoga.
15. How do you think the role of the garden will evolve in the future? Will it be even more integrated in the home, as an extension of the living room?
Over the past years, the garden has evolved to a real extension of the living room. It is considered a room of the house, just on the outside with its own dedicated furniture and design. I believe going forward, this outside room will move inside the house, allowing people to grow vegetables inside the house. Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut is a big trendsetter in that area, and I believe his concept designs on urban gardening hold lots of ideas that will resonate in the gardens of the future. Imagine restaurants that serve vegetables grown on-site. They couldn’t be fresher, and would not have travel miles and miles before reaching their destination.
Equally, I think vertical gardening will still become more popular, especially in large cities.
Another exciting idea is winter gardening. Nowadays, when the garden hibernates, so does the gardener. Nothing happens in the garden during this time, other than some maintenance. I believe there might be opportunities for more winter gardening in the near future...
16. Do you think more people will move back to growing their own vegetables?
Absolutely! Serving home-grown vegetables, eggs from your own chickens... When it comes to organizing dinner parties, this is about as trendy you can be nowadays.
17. Nowadays, ecology is becoming more and more important. How does that influence the way you design garden tools?
In terms of garden tool design, I think more of the materials used for the tools would become natural.
18. What should people look out for, when choosing garden tools?
When buying garden tools, it’s important to find a tool that fits you. Therefore, always try to take the tool in your hands and get an idea whether it feels comfortable – much like buying shoes and clothes.