Bolon launches game-changing VR collection

She describes the new base collection Emerge as anything but basic or traditional.

— We’ve worked hard to find the perfect shades to match the modern needs and the highest quality for the long run. In the VR tool we are launching together with the collection, everyone can see how perfectly this collection appears on a large scale with a strong personality.

The Swedish international design brand produces premium flooring to the contract market worldwide and 95% of the family company’s sales goes on export.

— I think Emerge will become a bestseller very soon, Eklund adds.

Tell us about that new VR platform. How does it work?

— We always strive to try out new things and as VR has been in the loop for some years now, we now found the perfect timing to create a world of design where we could express our identity, not only by showing our flooring. Our products come to life with this tool, as it’s impossible for us to create such a space in reality to show them. VR is already used by architects and we’re happy they can be swept away in a cool fantasy world that also works as a reality tool for them.

How will VR change how you and your customers work?

— VR will hopefully become more user friendly for Mac users, and when that happens, I guess it will explode. In the meantime, we will continue to launch our news in this platform to constantly keep it alive. The tool today consists of an office, hotel, and a museum, where we’ll invite guest artists to exhibit. I believe that we have taken the possibilities to create unexpected but trustworthy happenings within our design community. This is something that feeds us with new energy every day.


”The small, local entrepreneurs really make the city”

As the founder and curator of award-winning concept store and gallery Lokal in the heart of Helsinki, Hagelstam breathes Finnish art and design. Since the opening in 2012, she’s curated close to 60 exhibitions at the gallery and various other locations in Finland and abroad. She enjoys nothing more than to provide a platform for a creative community to flourish, all the while promoting sustainable, ethical, and ecological values within the field.

And, she’s the ultimate social animal.

My favorite thing that makes me proud of Helsinki:
The fact that it has a feeling of a small town where you can reach places easily but at the same time has a big cultural scene and variety.

My favorite weekend routine:
Slow breakfast, walking in the close-by nature, a few exhibitions in town, and a coffee with a friend.

My favorite cultural spot:
Oh, so many, but maybe one could be WG, the Emma Museum, where I love how the contemporary art sits well in the industrial sixties building. It also has a very nice bistro, Luminere.

My favorite place for dining out:
It could be Espa for the interior, food, and site, or Sikke’s for a cozy relaxed feeling.

My favorite place for a creative or business meeting:
Walking is a favourite way to have a meeting, but if seated maybe Wintergarden at St. George.


My favorite breakfast place:
Café Engel. An old classic, which has been there for most of my adult life and never changes. The owners’ presence gives a special welcoming feeling.

My favorite city escape:
Maybe one of the saunas, Kulttuurisauna or Kaurilan.

My favorite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:
This is a tricky one, as I wish to promote so many of the small, local ones. They really make the city. In The Design District there are many, as well as in former hospital Lapinlahti

My favorite hotel for a staycation: 
I’ve actually never experienced one, but if I would try now, I guess I would go with Hanasaari.

My favorite route for a run or walk: 
My walks mainly go around the area where I live, Laajasalo. But if in town, then it’s around the shoreline from Kaivopuisto to Katajanokka.

My favorite place for fashion:
Samuji is definitely my favourite. 

My favorite space for great design:
That’s tricky. Unless you don’t count Lokal, of course, then it could be the Oodi library.

My favorite example of tech innovation in Helsinki: 
As I’m not a very tech person, I can’t think of any.

My favorite local media (newspaper/magazine/website/social media account):
I just stumbled on something on Instagram that looks very good and promising, BUM Editions.

My favorite thing at home: 
The big kitchen and round table. Under normal circumstances, this is where we all gather, in smaller or bigger groups, but always an enjoyment.

Oodi library
BUM Edition 1


All Matters / Studio’s new rugs offer endless flexibility

The Stockholm-based design studio is founded by a Danish architect and a Swedish entrepreneur who previously, among many other things, came up with the idea for Swedish bike brand Vélosophy about launching a bike out of recycled Nespresso capsules. The next step is to create high-quality, really flexible interior products.

First launched at 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen last fall, the debuting product WOODEN LINK 01 is a modular system of carpets in various sizes. They can be linked together forming a unique rug constellation, that can be changed by adding, subtracting, or changing the modules. This gives the customer the opportunity to change the rug’s look, shape, size, and color in a scalable system, aiming for high-end private homes and public spaces, such as lounges or hotels.

When designing, ALL MATTERS / STUDIO had a few issues in mind. A regular rug comes with a fixed size and patterns or colours are impossible to change, so when moving, it’s clearly one of the items which might be hard to fit in a new home. And, accidents might happen and the entire rug needs cleaning. Some accidents might even be irreversible. However, most of them are made of combined material, making it hard to recycle.

But, using a flexible system is more manageable and easy to handle than a big regular size carpet. And the way the different units can be combined in various constellations and color combinations make it adaptable to ever-changing home environments, prolonging the product’s life span. The customer can choose units made from yarns such as merino wool, bamboo, lyocell, and a combination of bamboo and linen. The links are made of leather from Sørensen — the only leather product marked with the Nordics’ official ecolabel, the Swan.


Interior design agency Fyra explores the new era of office environments

Awarded Interior Architecture Agency of the Year 2020 by the Finnish Association of Interior Architects (SIO), Helsinki-based design office Fyra now conducts active research with its clients to test out new procedures for post-pandemic office spaces.

—The focus of offices is shifting from independent workstations to spaces that facilitate collaboration and project work, says Niina Sihto.

One of the developed solutions is the space in a space Oasis, designed in cooperation with green wall company Naava. The lightweight modifiable structure is made with a plywood frame and acrylic walls and produced by local carpenters. It makes it possible to maintain distance and privacy while keeping a shared space and the green walls clean and humidify the air.

— The time of the pandemic has clearly resulted in an increased need for people-centric and wellbeing-boosting design of office spaces. Biophilic spatial design, which aims to create natural-like environments in interiors and reconnect people to nature, is on the rise, says Sihto.

One obvious essential aspect of the new normal is a well-equipped home office. Remote offices are here to stay and remote working is changing our lives in a significant way. Fyra has designed the Fem working desk together with Made by Choice. It enables ergonomic working at home and also functions as a multi-use piece of furniture at home. The simple yet modifiable structure makes it possible to work by either sitting down or standing up. Or, turn into a simple shelving structure or, for instance, a kitchen side table. 

— It is essential to find the best set to work with for everyone according to their own needs. At its best, we will have more purposeful, comfortable, and functional office environments after the pandemic, says Niina Sihto.


How Zieta Studio created ”the world’s lightest chair”

The Polish design studio uses innovative technology to deform metal and to make exceptional products out of it — from mirrors to chairs and tables. Created by artist, designer, and process engineer Oskar Zięta, they celebrated their first decade last year with the launch of the ULTRALEGGERA chair.

— The process of creating it took several years, he says. First, we created a prototype, which we then optimized to increase the desirable lightness and strength. We were subtracting subsequent kilos and later dealt with the subtraction of grams in the last stages. I would compare this tedious process of minimizing the weight of a chair to less than 2 kg to a 100-meter run in which every second less to the finish line is charged with titanic work. The final design is, therefore, the result of material and technological optimization, as well as strength tests — first virtually simulated, and then carried out in the real world.

— You can say that every radius and every perforation of the chair are optimized for lightness and strength. This product manifests the idea of ​​the primacy of construction quality over the form, and Ponti’s Superleggera chair was an inspiration to focus on the issue of lightness in design. The lightweight index parameter is widely used in the aviation and automotive industries, which is dictated both by energy consumption, but also due to the need for economic transport of structural elements. In the world of design, this is not equally important, and we want to show that it is vital in a world overloaded with objects and data.

The weight is 1.66 kilograms. More than a kilogram heavier than Massimiliano Della Monaca’s Estrema chair (0.617 kilograms and officially the world’s lightest chair, but made of carbon fibre and not sustainable), but still extremely light. The secret behind a chair so light and stable, Marketing Manager Magdalena Zięba-Grodzka shares, is a special technology called FiDU, invented and constantly developed by Oskar Zięta. 

— It allows us to create thin-walled and at the same time firm bionic objects. They’re inspired by the forms taken from nature such as the delicate but extremely strong wings of dragonflies, durable chitinous shells of beetles, or light and stable pneumatic bird skeletons.

— We’ve used highly developed aluminum alloys, which are characterized by outstanding strength and processing parameters. The precisely laser-cut and tightly welded contours are deformed by internal force under controlled conditions to achieve optimal three-dimensional forms. Then they are welded together. The chair is therefore 100% made of only one material. Due to the slight undulations of the material surface, the deformation process creates a three-dimensional stable bionic structure that is surprisingly durable. And, if it was possible to create an even lighter chair, we would do it!

Recently, ULTRALEGGERA was awarded the MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award 2020 Best of Award in the Product Category, for its mono-material features that make it an eco-friendly product of the future: the world’s lightest chair with a timeless minimalist form.


Our 10 favourite fashion, beauty, and design news in 2020

Here’s the first machine to separate and recycle cotton and polyester blends at scale

Retail chain Monki drops special collection created by The Green Machine.


Have these 4 sneaker brands cracked the sustainability code?

Leave actual footprints rather than carbon footprints — delve into our editor of sustainability’s top tips for sustainable runners.


Made to be thrown away — Vollebak’s latest hoodie is fully compostable

Specifically made to end up in your compost bin.


”Wearables now allow the user insight into their wellbeing on a holistic level”

We speak to Liisa Puranen, Managing Director at Polar Nordics, about the rapid development of smart sport watches.


Look good, play good — Longchamp and Pokemon GO drop digital backpack

A great way to converge fashion and gaming for Paris Fashion Week.


The world’s first green department store opens today

Eataly founder opens the doors to ambitious project Green Pea in Turin.


Jan Klingler’s Bacteria lamp is a crossover between science, art, and industrial design

”People are absolutely intrigued by the abstract patterns and colours of the microbes and often won’t believe that bacteria can be this beautiful,” he says.


5 tips for furnishing your home with technology

Swedish interior decorator Henrik Nero and Samsung have put together five dos and don’ts when decorating your home with technology.


How the recent lifestyle changes affect the skin — and what to do about it

The skincare expert shares her insights for the colder months to come.


It’s 2020 – are men ready for makeup now?

”There is loads of advanced makeup for women but now there is a straight forward concept also for men,” says Carl & Son’s CEO Andreas Wiik after the launch of their ”no makeup makeup” line.



Majamaja brings off-grid designer cabins to Helsinki’s archipelago

Every citizen of Helsinki lives less than 10 kilometers from the sea. The sea embraces its city center on three sides, and a special feature of the city is a mosaic of islands, most of them public property. The sea and the city’s seafronts play significant roles in daily life in Helsinki, from recreation to the culinary culture. ”Island-hopping” is a Helsinki specialty.

The city’s maritime nature is a key factor in the appeal of Helsinki, that’s launched a new strategy to steer the development and to ensure responsible tourism that conserves the delicate nature of the city’s archipelago. One milestone of this development is Majamaja’s eco-cabins. Standing on scenic rocky shores and offering sea-views over the Helsinki archipelago, they present a minimalistic living experience with modern comforts including a shower and a kitchen. The cabins use green technology, such as solar power, and water is treated for reuse in a closed-loop system.

— The concept is driven by the need to radically rethink and to minimize our ecological impact. The purpose is to show how small-scale architecture, combined with green technology, can compensate for big volumes and centralized on-grid systems. Majamaja offers dwellers an opportunity to disconnect from daily routines and an educational eco-living experience, yet close to the hustle and bustle of the city, says Majamaja architect Pekka Littow.

The cabin rental waiting list is available now.


How Offecct’s new launch responds to the market’s needs for flexible furniture

Lucy is a modular system based on individual seats, designed by acclaimed British designer  (winner of the Young Design Talent award at the Elle Decoration British Design Awards 2020) Lucy Kurrein, that together create what the Swedish furniture brand describes as a soft and inviting sofa. When launched in 2018, the idea was to create a flexible piece of furniture that facilitates the furnishing of, for example, lounge spaces in hotels, offices, or other public spaces.

With the market needs for flexible furniture for both work and rest only increasing, Offecct and Kurrein have now further developed it. A new module allows the sofa to be built in angles (previously only in straight formations) and increases the possibilities for personal adaptations of the sofa and to create dedicated places for both work and rest in different environments. Meanwhile, a new digital configurator makes it easy to move around all modules and try different variants and solutions.

— Our ways of working and meeting are changing rapidly. Workplaces and public environments are taking on new roles in our lives and the demand for dynamic modular furniture is strong. With people working more and more from home, companies are also required to rethink their spaces, and fewer square meters put higher demands on flexibility, says Offecct’s Karemyr, adding:

— With this kind of platform thinking for furniture, it’s becoming increasingly important for interior design companies to not only talk about products, but also to help the customer to see and understand all the solutions and opportunities.

— With smart accessories such as side tables, power sources, and clothes hangers, it’s a relaxed place where you can, for example, sit down to answer e-mails or have an informal meeting. Where you can go and work — but not feel like you’re at work, Kurrein comments on the new module.


Straight Design Studio celebrates skilled craftsmen in new Artefacts line

All of the products in the Stockholm-based studio’s growing selection of items — in a clean, straight design that speaks for itself — are made by hand on demand by a number of artisans and craftsmen.

The most eye-catching one of the, so far, six objects is the dining table. Combining the materials of black steel and diabase, the thin tabletop rests on a solid pillar — both of them carved out of stone. To balance the parts of stone, there’s a steel construction of four legs, connected to a circle. This construction provides the table with a design that is substantial and heavy, yet slim and elegant. There are also two smaller side tables, using the same materials, where the first one is based on the same design as the dining table, just turned upside down. The second one consists of a solid pillar of stone with a circle of steel thrust in it and supported with only one leg. All three tables are made by Kullaro.

Artefacts also includes a vase in black or transparent glass, organic and playful in its shape, and produced by Kristin Larsson. To finish off, the serving plates in black and white stoneware by Handcrafted Stockholm highlights the food products served upon it. With inspiration from the oyster which always tips over, they’re designed to positioning and balance its content in a playful and sophisticated way. They’re constructed with a lot of space but with different features, consisting of concavities and convexities to use, for serving different dishes and hors d’oeuvre in or on it.


Lokal Helsinki’s Christmas shop highlights the best from Finnish artisans

Founded in 2012 by photographer Katja Hagelstam, Lokal Helsinki is an art gallery and shop that showcases locally produced and high-quality art, crafts, and design, available in limited quantities. Their special Christmas store takes place in their new online store as well as in the Art Nouveau landmark Väinämöisenlinna, a striking and ornate stone building from 1901. 

The range includes objects for the home, such as Pino wooden boxes, lightweight and stackable storage items crafted by master carpenter Antrei Hartikainen, ceramicist Nathalie Lautenbacher‘s Kahvi cups in different sizes which create a harmonious atmosphere together with glass artist Renata Jakowleff‘s Kaksi glasses, and fine artist and designer Veera Kulju‘s Ilo textiles. Nikari’s minimalist furniture from Fiskari village showcases the best of traditional carpentry skills and internationally acclaimed Eija Koski has contributed her poetic Himmeli (a traditional Finnish ornament) mobiles, unique works of art made from rye straw she has grown herself.

For clothing and jewellery, Danish label Carcel offers high-quality knitwear and silk clothing produced in women’s prisons in exchange for fair wages. The world of fragrances is represented by Nakuna Helsinki, inspired by the quintessentially Finnish trait ”sisu” (meaning perseverance against the odds), whose range by Anu Igoni and Jaakko Veijola has been created for an international audience in collaboration with top noses.

Last, but not least, the shop includes artwork. Naturally, as one of Lokal Helsinki’s core purposes is to showcase the work of independent artists and designers and the temporary exhibitions at Lokal’s Annankatu gallery shop have featured talented artists for the last eight years.