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Young Designer of the Year: Antrei Hartikainen

How does it feel to be named the Young Designer of the Year 2018? TLmag catches up with the cabinetmaker/designer Antrei Hartikainen to find out

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Less than one month ago Antrei Hartikainen was named the Young Designer of the Year 2018 by the Design Forum Finland. Since then the cabinetmaker/designer has been developing new products and participating in an array of exhibitions and collaborations. Working with wood at the boundary between utility and art, Hartikainen’s work has been shown globally from his home country of Finland to places like Japan and Canada. He produces small-batch products that aim for longevity and modernity and pairs traditional techniques and modern machinery with his personal aesthetic.

TLmag catches up with Antrei Hartikainen to talk about his practice and what is coming up for him during Helsinki Design Week and beyond:

What led you to choose cabinet making as your craft?
Since my youth, I have been very interested in doing things with my hands. My father had a kitchen/woodworking company where I always had the possibility of making small works for myself as a hobby. Later on, I also had summer jobs there. That maybe lead me into a vocational school to study woodworking and from there on my path with wood really started.

How has your Finnish background influenced your designs?
I grew up in a small city and, for the last eight years, have lived in an even smaller village. Throughout that time, I have always been surrounded by nature. I think in that way the safe environment, close to nature and surrounded by humble people have influenced me and my designs imperceptibly.

How has it been to be the Young Designer of the Year 2018?
It has been great so far and I think it is getting even better. In September along with Helsinki Design Week, my works are being shown in London Design Fair and Interior Design Show Vancouver. I am already showing my rather big OBSERVE exhibition in Dutch Design Week at Het Veem location in October. Next year I have two residences at the freshly renovated Finnish Institut in Paris. I will the show my works there in January 2019. A lot of new things are coming up so it’s really interesting!!

Are there recurring questions/themes or challenges that arise when you are designing?
One of the biggest challenges is to make very high quality works that last and age well. They should get better and more beautiful through the aging process. This is important for sustainability and environment-friendly processes.

The jury of the Young Designer of the Year said your work sits at the cross-section of art and design. Is this something you aim for? 
That my works are often at the cross-section of art and design is exactly where my working goes naturally. My background in making and developing added with desire to reveal the myriad possibilities of wood and my own artistic touch.

What should visitors expect at your upcoming exhibition at you current solo exhibition at Lokal?
Delicate and delicious forms revealed out of wood which reflects my ideology to use my material; respecting and challenging it.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite pieces that will be shown in Lokal?
Some of my favorite pieces in the exhibition are the first models what I made of the new BASTONE cabinet collection designed for Finnish POIAT Studio. The cabinets were born out of an interest in exploring visibility and the play of light and shadows by using simple round shapes and round wooden sticks. Cabinets are a good example of my style of combining bold design with thoughtful details and carefully thought-out manufacturing processes.

Is there a message you would like people to take away from the show?
I would like that people who see my works would get inspired in some way from the use of material, combining of art and design, finished details and aesthetic itself.

What will you be up to during Helsinki Design Week?
A lot of things are happening then; the Young Designer of the Year exhibition, at the Habitare furniture fair I have own stand and I am also participating in other stands there, The launch of the BASTONE cabinets and I have produced some collaborative works with glass designer Katriina Nuutinen which will be in the Cabinet of Design Curiosities exhibition at Poiat Showroom. Along with my own things, there are lots of interesting happenings in the Helsinki Design Week program. I hope I can get some time to explore the full program!

Helsinki Design Week runs from September 6-16

Antrei Hartikainen exhibition at Lokal+ gallery space until September 16

The Bastone Collection will be launched on September 13, 18-21.00 in POIAT Studio Showroom which is also part of the Helsinki Design Week program

Antrei Hartikainen
Bastone for POIAT Studio,oak. Photography by Arsi Ikäheimonen
Antrei Hartikainen
Bastone for POIAT Studio,oak. Photography by Arsi Ikäheimonen
Antrei Hartikainen
KUKKII installation Photography by Kari Nyyssönen
Antrei Hartikainen
Kukkii detail. Photography by Antrei Hartikainen
Antrei Hartikainen
Y installation. Y team - Emmi Keskisarja, Janne Teräsvirta, Tommi Alatalo, Antrei Hartikainen. Photography by SWANG
Antrei Hartikainen
PLATO shelf&serving platter. Photography by Kari Nyyssönen
Antrei Hartikainen
butter case. Photography by Antrei Hartikainen
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