Design Diplomacy: A Collection Between Two Countries

09/12/2018 By Kadie Yale

As Helsinki Design Week launches, those of us invited here as members of the international press were asked to remember the importance of bridging the divide across cultures and countries.

Design Diplomacy

To show the embodiment of these ideals, Finnish design studio Made by Choice exhibited “Design Diplomacy” during a welcome reception. As part of a joint collection between Finland and Spain, the collection will also be showcased in the Spanish embassy on September 12, 2018.

Designed as a collaboration between Finnish designer Mikko Laakkonen and Spanish designer Andreu Carulla, “Design Diplomacy” was created in honor of the 100-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Spain and Finland. The collection is part of a renewed interior for the Spanish Embassy in Helsinki.

Having met during Helsinki Design Week 2017, Carulla and Laakkonen were commissioned by the Spanish ambassador to Finland, Manuel de la Camara.

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For the following year of development, both designers spent time in each other’s respective countries, learning more about the cultures they stem from, and sourcing materials, influences and manufacturing techniques from both.

Traditional Finnish

The final collection features an ash wood and traditional Finnish latticework, manufactured by Made by Choice, and stools and side tables made of terracotta and cork, manufactured by the Spanish company Mobles 114.

After exhibition, the pieces will become part of the permanent furnishings for the embassy.

This collection is notable not only for the depth of collaboration between the two countries and the sensitivity of Carulla and Laakkonen in understanding how the cultures of both can be integrated, but for the designs themselves. Utilizing natural materials, clean geometric shapes, masterful joinery and quirky surprises, the collection is an example of clean, contemporary European design. Although beautiful in and of themselves, each piece works as a strong foundation on which everyday life steeped in personal and cultural style can be highlighted.

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