Finland, the design nation. There is no doubt that Finland and design are indeed inseparable. If we look at the course of history, design in the nordic nation of Finland was a prominent one. For instance, the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo was first established in 1911, almost a decade before Walter Gropius opened the Bauhaus, the first design school in the world. Bauhaus, which opened its door for the first time in 1919, has seen a great influence from Finnish design. A prominent Finnish architect and designer, Alvar Aalto, together with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, also contributed to the popularity of the Cantilever chair. The manufacturing method of the cantilever chair, especially, has revolutionized the manufacturing industry at the time and contributed a great deal to the development of industrial design education up to contemporary times. It has undoubtedly shaped the way we manufacture our products today. Aalto, is famous worldwide for the design of glass-made Savoy vase. The production method that Aalto used for the vase has helped paved a strikingly new way on how to treat glassware products.
In 2012, Helsinki was selected as the World Design Capital. To be selected to be a “design capital” is an affirmed recognition for Finnish design and Helsinki for its creative force. The World Design Capital is awarded to a city which actively uses design as a resource to develop social, financial and cultural aspects of itself. The International Council of the Society of Industrial Design (ICSID) is the international association which is responsible for the designation of the selection. There are also a number of organizations that actively promotes Finnish design, such as Design Forum Finland and institutions achieving Finnish design, especially the Design Museum in Helsinki. Design Forum Finland, in an important note, is maintained by the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design, which was founded in 1875, and predates the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo.
Finns in general are very much aware of the excellence of Finnish design. Design has become an inseparable part of the Finnish daily routine, from Artek stool to Marimekko pattern fabrics on clothing.
This closeness and intimacy with the design field also gave fruit to the creation of the label Design from Finland. Since its launch in 2011, the mark of Design from Finland are awarded to any remarkable products and services designed in Finland by any company that headquartered in Finnish soil. One of the main consideration is that the company has invested a great deal in Finnish design.
With such enormous creative force of innovation originating from Finland and the long heritage of Finnish design, design based entrepreneurship should be the new normal. The ability to innovate and versatility are important aspects to be able to survive in a global scale. The innovating capability is such a riveting turning point for manufacturing companies. If a company no longer has cultivate innovation, it will result in their incompetence in the market. It would be such a waste if we can not hone this innovative creative force of Finnish design to energize new startups. Ultimately, design-fueled entrepreneurship possess a great ability to thrive both in Finland and the world.
Featured Image: Vellamo Maritime Centre
Author: Pierre Yohanes Lubis is a product design researcher. He completed his masters degree in Germany and worked in the area of automotive interactive design in Frankfurt. Nowadays, he teaches product design and strives to promote socially and ecologically responsible design. He maintains the idea that product designers possess the edge to be successful and constantly encourages his students to initiate their own design-based startups.