“You have to leave the borders,” Mikko Laakkonen says. “You
have to go to Milan.” Of the designers profiled here, Laakkonen
has made the most headway in that direction: in addition to
working with local producers such as Marimekko and Inno, the
designer has partnered with several international companies,
including Casamania (from Italy), Pasabahçe (Turkey), and
Offecct (Sweden). Paradoxically, he is also the most conven-
tionally Finnish, following Alvar Aalto’s example of putting
function first. “I respect that tradition, because this attitude
creates objects which have justice to exist,” the 36-year-old
says. Regardless of his success, some manufacturers still seem
just out of his reach. “The ideal project is a brief from a good,
big, and vibrant company like Vitra, Magis, or B&B,” Laakkonen
wrote via e-mail on his way to—that’s right—Milan.
Courtesy Studio Mikko Laakkonen
Above: Arranged in
multiples, the Latva
doubles as a thicket-like room divider.
Right: Polku clothes
hooks for Marimekko.
Left: The Railo
wastebasket for the
Casamania, one of
Laakkonen’s international clients