Eindhoven goes to Amsterdam – Tuomas Markunpoika
‘Eindhoven goes Amsterdam’
An interview with TLmag about designers settling down in Amsterdam after completing their studies in Eindhoven.
Finnish-born designer Tuomas Markunpoika first made waves on the design scene with his 2012 Engineering Temporality collection. The thesis project evoked the deeply personal and emotional conditions of Alzheimer’s disease by using the metaphorical potential of floating structures comprised of linked, cut metal tubes, which expressed the ephemeral nature of memory. The ghostly contours of archetypical objects, such as chairs, armoires, console tables, mirror frames and chandeliers, referenced iconic elements of styles past. Markunpoika graduated cum laude from Design Academy Eindhoven’s Contextual Design master’s degree programme. Engineering Temporality was nominated for the 2013 Design of the Year award by London’s Design Museum. The limited-edition project was also exhibited during Beauty–Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, produced in partnership with Smithsonian Design Museum. Recent projects extend the Amsterdam-based designer’s speculative and metaphysical approach even further. Two such examples are Amalgamated, in which the designer shapes vases out of composite coloured pencils, and Refractile, in which Markunpoika explores the phenomenological effects of RGB LED lighting strips juxtaposed against polycarbonate film encasements. Trained as a furniture designer in his native Finland, Markunpoika went on to work for powerhouse Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. After finishing his studies in Eindhoven, he returned to Amsterdam and set up shop at the NDSM wharf hot spot.
TLmag: Why did you decide to establish your practice in Amsterdam? What did you bring over from the time you spent studying and/or working in Eindhoven?
Tuomas Markunpoika: When I first moved to Amsterdam six years ago, I was very drawn to the charm of the city’s international crowd and its relaxed atmosphere. In Eindhoven, I discovered an entirely different reality. It was a very sharp contrast. School dominated most of my time and I felt very little connection to the city or its inhabitants. For me, that is very important. The school was perhaps too close-knit of a context for me. Moving back to Amsterdam made sense. My mentors Gijs Bakker and Louise Schouwenberg helped me establish a professional network in the capital. I also found that the mentality there suited me and the city was a perfect hub for working on projects around the world. Working within the context of Dutch design has given me the tools I need to explore topics from multiple angles. Design Academy Eindhoven provided the necessary training, a kind of continental philosophy.