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SPRING ISSUE

© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND PER- OLOF NYSTRÖM 1952 / 2010 : “HELSINKI- HELSINGFORS”

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IN TRODUCTION

© Marimekko Corporation Puusepänkatu 4 00880 Helsinki Finland Tel. +358 9 75 871 Fax +358 9 755 3051 info@marimekko.fi www.marimekko.com

Marimekko 2012 – new patterns of togetherness

It was an exciting 2011 for Marimekko, and now we’re kicking off 2012 in a big way. The energy is building up in Helsinki as Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 gets into full swing at the beginning of the year. And Marimekko is on board with Marimekko Village – a year-long project that will emerge in various parts of Helsinki and focuses on emotional quality of life. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that we are passionate about. We want people to join in, because we believe we can do so much more together. That’s why we’ve included a story about Marimekko Village in this edition of Marimekko news.

Contents Helsinki-Helsingfors — page 42

Habitare — page 35

DOUBLE THE INSIGHT We’re coming out with two editions of Marimekko news in 2012 – one in January and the other in August. In each paper, we’re going to investigate Marimekko’s creative culture in new ways and give a deeper insight into the company. We also want to keep you posted on what’s happening in Marimekko and the Finnish design scene. You’ll know first when we’re launching a new item, hosting a fun event or fashion show, or collaborating with some of your favourite brands. If we feel something is new and exciting, we’ll share the story with you.

Sawako & Fujiwo — page 40

DE SIGN WITH EMOTION Design and production have always been a fluid process at Marimekko. Ever since Armi Ratia founded the company more than 60 years ago, our designers and printmakers have been working together to create compelling print patterns. In this edition, we tell you more about this spirit of collaboration and its enduring impact on our work. We also focus on the upbeat mood of our upcoming spring and summer collections, while showcasing new Marimekko stores around the world. This includes our second flagship store, opened in New York on 5th Avenue. In 2011, new Marimekko stores were also opened e.g. in Stockholm, Oslo, London, Copenhagen and Finland. Online we are constantly evolving www.marimekko.com for our English speaking audiences and www.marimekko.fi for our Finnish friends. Visit www.facebook.com/marimekkoglobal and www.youtube.com/marimekkovideo for latest news and video clips. CENTENNIAL BIRTH Last but not least, we invite you to be part of the Marimekko story. Armi Ratia would have celebrated her 100th birthday on July 13th, 2012. To honour her passion for writing, we’re asking everyone to be part of Marimekko’s voice with an online campaign. Read on for more information or visit www.marimekko.com/armi100. We wish you joyous moments in the coming months as the silence of January gradually gives way to spring and summer.

Three designers — page 10


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New York — page 36

Spring — page 14

From Mika to Alex and other men — page 48

Design philosophy — page 04

Artwork studio — page 12

Fashion show — page 50


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DE SIGN PHILOSOPHY

Thoughts about Marimekko In conversation with Marimekko’s Creative Director Minna Kemell-Kutvonen

PR ACTICALLY FINNISH I joined Marimekko in 1992. Back then there were still designers who had worked with Armi Ratia in the company. Her legacy lived on in them, and they actively shared this “quiet knowledge” with me. In fact, my career at Marimekko has been wonderfully varied. I started off as a sales assistant at our flagship store in Helsinki, and then worked my way up to become Marimekko’s Creative Director. This breadth of experience has helped me understand the essence of Marimekko – its absence of definition, its unexpectedness, its permissiveness, its humanity. Marimekko is also incredibly Finnish. It expresses East and West, the meeting point between two cultures. From Scandinavia comes clarity and functionality – from the East emotion and prolific decorativeness. Of course, each designer also brings a unique, personal vision to Marimekko. I think one reason why we have retained our enigmatic essence and appeal is that Marimekko combines many contradictory elements and gives room for imagination. FROM SILENCE TO JOY Even though I am a fashion designer by profession, I have always been interested in how fashion fits within an interior space. I feel that people are part of any interior space. What you wear is your identity. It is a message about you. And when you’re in a certain space, say a room, that message becomes a part of that place.

Most important, Marimekko is always about strong emotions. Our passion for bright colours and bold black-and-white contrasts is unmistakable. And we use silent tones and muted hues to bring out subtle contrasts. Every day we work with the entire gamut of emotions: joy, calm, relaxed, energetic, or even silent and brooding. It is this desire to combine seemingly contradictory emotions that makes Marimekko distinct in today’s world. EMOTIONALLY INSPIR ED When we work with designers, we’re always interested in understanding their choice of colourways for seasonal collections. Most designers have an emotional sense of what’s right for each season. Still, we encourage them to explore new ways of thinking and approaches to colours. For instance, Kristina Isola has an amazing sensitivity for colours. Over the years she has designed numerous patterns for Marimekko and worked on her mother’s, Maija Isola’s, print legacy. I tell our young designers that finding your own sensitivity requires patience and perseverance. How we name prints is also exceptional. In the 50s and 60s, the designers used to spend an entire week away from the office to work on the names of the new prints in each seasonal collection. Even now our design work is never formulaic. At times it’s emotional, even crazy, but never dull. I am proud to be a part of a creative process that feels like Marimekko.


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IN TERIOR DECOR ATION

Puzzles of patterns In conversation with Pirkko Heikkilä, Design Manager for Marimekko’s Interior Design

NEW & CLASSIC I work as design manager for Marimekko’s interior decoration collections. Today Marimekko comes out with four seasonal collections every year. For each collection, we design a series of new fabric patterns and products in tune with the season. We rarely follow trend reports – Marimekko walks its own path and creates its own trends. Many trend forecasting services do, however, use our colourways and patterns in their trend books. We want to show how each season is special. So if you look at Marimekko’s seasonal collections in the past 60 years, you’ll notice that there is an incredible variety of design themes and ideas. In time, some of the prints from our seasonal collections become Marimekko classics, while other prints or colourways run for just one season. What is important is that we never get stuck in one pattern. So when people shop at Marimekko, I want them to feel that there is always something new to discover. It also means that not every Marimekko product requires a print pattern. The world of patterns can be expressed in shapes and textures too. In our collections, we mix and match prints by different designers, and products with different materials and elements. It is the best way to create design that will continue to be relevant in the future. PUZZLE S & STOR IE S My work is similar to solving a puzzle. Because we create each collection one year in advance, our

designs have to be in sync with our idea of where the world is heading. That’s why we spend a lot of time looking for the right themes and stories. Often the inspiration for a collection just comes to us. We constantly observe people and try to understand what’s important to them right now. Yet regardless of how we get there, each collection is always more than a single print. Instead it is a unique story that inspires people to get creative inside or outside their homes. OUR OWN WAY There is an incredible creative atmosphere at Marimekko’s Herttoniemi factory and headquarters. It affects everyone: the design teams, the people working in production, the artwork studio team, marketing, and sales. My job involves working with the different teams to make sure that our stories are told in a way that stays true to the inspiration behind each collection. And when we work with our designers, we always learn something from them, and vice versa. This open, experimental attitude also influences how we share the Marimekko story with people. I think more and more people are finding new, exciting things about Marimekko, thanks to our new shops, website and social media presence. They’re becoming aware of our history and inventiveness. But the best part is that they also share something with us – their own stories of inspiration. To me, this sense of doing things together is Marimekko.


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CLOTHING

A story designed in colour

In conversation with Noora Niinikoski, Head of Fashion Design COLOUR F UL IMPR IN T I tell everyone that Marimekko is about prints and colours. Each season we come out with different styles and patterns in big or small motifs. And often the prints influence what we make. It comes down to how the print relates to the body and the person’s silhouette because the prints are unique and have special character. Some people don’t relate with certain prints, and other people love them. And once you find the print you love, it highlights something about your character and how you express yourself. I feel it has the chance to make your daily life a little bit more fun and even fancy. Marimekko also reflects the times we live in,

though there’s always an element of Marimekko in the design. It’s difficult to explain what this element is, but it’s easy to spot it. It’s either there or it isn’t. Over the decades, Marimekko has come out with an incredible variety of prints, cuts, fits and new design approaches. Yet there’s always something that makes it feel like Marimekko such as a hand-made feeling, boldness, using the limits of textile printing techniques, and a sense of humour and positivity. For instance, Marimekko print colours from the 60s and 70s were extremely intense. In the 80s, the Marimekko palette was more faded or washed. Today we use deeper shades of colours, including vibrant yellows, orange, and primary colours such as red and white. For our spring 2013 collection we’re looking at bringing a slightly white washed or milky tonality to new Marimekko prints. BALANCING ACT I’m always looking for new design approaches. I want to achieve a feeling of effortlessness by getting a balance between control and out-of-control.

Looseness and fun should be in the design. You never want to be too strict or rigid in your thinking. At the same time I’ve always designed textile patterns. It probably comes from my mother who was a textile designer. Since I was twenty years old, white as a colour hasn’t existed for me. I’ve always used colour in my design work, so working for Marimekko is a natural extension of what I do. I enjoy the work of folklore and outsider artists. They design based on necessity. It’s part of their culture and personal life. They’re working with a limited set of materials and colours. Yet these limitations allow them to create artworks that are close to perfect. These artworks reflect their life at the moment and their use of colours is just right. It’s not planned. It’s more in the moment – never too organized or perfect. In fact, Marimekko has a lot in common with folklore or outsider artists. We’re always looking for a relaxed human feeling and high artistic values. Our designs are never overly planned or constructed. Instead, they can be even sketchy and rough at times. I think this attitude makes us bold and distinct.


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CLOTHING

And the conversation continues

With Mika Piirainen, Fashion Designer

or muted tones, because they help calm down the collection. The shape of the dress also makes my designs distinctly Marimekko. PROUD TO WEAR MAR IMEKKO

HERE AND NOW I’m always exploring the here and now. When I’m working on a collection, I build up a series of images that communicate the present and, to a certain degree, the future as well. These images have elements of colour, but I’m more interested in their atmosphere. I want them to comment on how seasonal change affects our everyday life. When I choose patterns, I want the textile prints to communicate a unique feeling. You also need to respect the original print pattern. They are like human beings – you can’t cut them to pieces. So when I design a piece to showcase a certain print, I avoid changing the print too much. I also feel that not all Marimekko clothing needs to have prints. I love working with solid colours

Over the years, I’ve met people who enjoy owning and wearing pieces from my Marimekko collections. Not long ago, I was travelling in a remote part of Australia, where I bumped into someone with a bag I’d designed. It was one of those peculiar moments when you realize Marimekko is a small Finnish company that touches people’s lives around the world. I especially enjoy when people wear a Marimekko piece almost down to the last thread. It means that you have a special relationship with the item. You cherish it. I’ve also heard that Marimekko designs are considered humorous. I agree. Marimekko never takes itself too seriously – especially when it comes to prints. I really don’t have a favourite piece. It’s like being a father – each of my designs for Marimekko

is my favourite. I’ve also noticed that it takes years to appreciate your own work – especially your latest collection. I need time away from my own work to see it in a new light again. This “stepping back” is an essential part of being a designer. It also lets you explore new elements in your design work. If you fell in love with your own design, you’d stop designing.

“I feel prints are like human beings – you can’t cut them to pieces.”


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IN CON VERSATION WITH

Three Marimekko designers Photos Georgi Eremenko & Marimekko

AINO-MAIJA METSOLA My background is in graphic design. I studied at a high school focused on visual arts and later at the University of Art and Design Helsinki where I completed my Masters of Arts. As a student, I thought I would pursue a career in graphic design. In 2006, by chance, I entered a Marimekko competition for designers. My Mökki print, which was inspired by traditional Finnish villages, was one of the winning entries. Jenni Tuominen and Pia Holm were also winners, and they too work closely with Marimekko nowadays. My first print for Marimekko was Mökki, followed by Juhannustaika and Mustikkamaa. My first memory of Marimekko is from my childhood. I grew up wearing Marimekko dresses. My mother was a Marimekko fan, who used Maija Isola’s Vihkiruusu print as curtain fabric. My father also wore many types of Marimekko shirts.

brought happiness to her new home. I find this story very inspiring and encouraging in moments when I feel down in my own work. She described how the print was more than a fabric or decorative element, and that her whole life was captured in the print. She also described the feelings and memories the print gave to her and mentioned that she kept the fabric in a box under her bed and only used it for emotional therapy. So I feel with this sort of story that I’ve succeeded in making something important.

Even today, I’m inspired by how Marimekko uses colours. The inspiration for my own work is based on intuition and the surrounding world. But I don’t consider my illustration style as being exclusively Marimekko. In fact, the design managers at Marimekko encourage me to work freely and are excited when I show something new. And over the years I’ve learned that Marimekko design can mean different things to different people. The more I’ve come to understand this absence of a tighter definition, the more open I am to new approaches in my own work. If I had to define one aspect of Marimekko design, it would be that it’s much more important to be interesting than to try hard to be fashionable. In a way, Marimekko is free to explore itself. I was recently inspired by a story that I read from a young woman. She posted on the Marimekko Tribe website a story of her moving to a new city and felt sad about the move. She bought a fabric print I designed named Juhannustaika and described how it

I work and live in Suomenlinna, a small island just off Helsinki. I’d describe my workspace and design process as being free, and frequently change mediums from ink, brushes, watercolours, linocut printing, papercutting, and most recently markers. I also need a large table to work effectively and do most of the pre-production work myself. This includes scanning, cleaning, and colour adjustments – before presenting the final work to Marimekko.

JENNI T UOMINEN I would say I have a very varied education. Originally, I trained to be a metal smith, and then graduated as a graphic artist from the Turku School of Fine Arts. After that, I started studying graphic design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and began working as an illustrator. In 2006, I came in first place in a Marimekko design competition with my Unessa print and have been designing for Marimekko ever since. Like many other Finns, I have an emotional attachment to Marimekko through my childhood memories. I dreamed about working for Marimekko when I was younger. And when I lived in Sweden with my family, one of my most unforgettable memories of Marimekko was our kitchen curtains that had been hand sewn from Katsuji Wakisaka’s Karuselli print. We cherished them until they were literally threadbare.


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MAIJA LOUEK ARI I studied interior architecture at the Aalto University School of Art and Design, but have always felt more at home with illustration. In 2003, I won a Marimekko competition with my Hetkiä/Moments print. Since then, I’ve been working for Marimekko designing prints that combine my interests in colour, drawing and interiors. I found that textile print design was perfect for me and since working for Marimekko I’ve been designing prints both for interior and clothing. I had a close relationship with Marimekko during my childhood. Our home always had Marimekko textiles as table covers or curtains. I remember growing up in Iloinen Takki and hiding raisins in the dress’s tiny pockets. We had Maija Isola, Fujiwo Ishimoto and Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi prints, and Marimekko bags and shirts. My mother wanted to buy quality clothes for her four children and the shirts were often passed down from one sibling to the other. So they had to be durable and well made.

My own designs draw inspiration from nature and animals. I love children’s books and I am a huge fan of Japanese aesthetics. I also like to explore flea markets. Their treasures and little details inspire me. A while ago, I designed a print based on an interesting piece of pavement that I saw in Porvoo, a little town near Helsinki. Everyday life inspires me most when it comes to choosing colours. For example, the lively colour scheme for the Laivakoira print came from an interesting tea package that I saw in a grocery store. I have a work space at home. Instead, I enjoy working in front of the TV or listening to the radio. I often find myself crafting at my dining table. I feel that a little chaos helps me concentrate better. I enjoy the good feeling that people get from my work. I want to delight people and awaken their inner child. The idea behind the joyful animal characters of Halihali, this spring’s print novelty, was based on my research into Northern-American totems. The names of my prints are very descriptive – Halihali is Finnish for “hug-hug.” When designing duvet covers using the Halihali print, I wanted people to feel like somebody was hugging them.

I feel designing prints is more than illustrating. I’ve worked as a freelance illustrator and can say it’s very different from working on a Marimekko print. We have more time to work on the print design and we’re free to tell a story through the print. Or we’re free just to use bold and effective colours in an abstract print and give mood to people’s homes in that way. I also feel patterns give more visual space to a home interior. For example, with my HO-HOI! and Kaiku prints (2004), I wanted to introduce a sense of outdoors into the interior of homes. When I first started working for Marimekko, I knew hardly anything about the technical side of textile print design. But over the years, Marimekko’s artwork studio team has taught me what’s possible: How to limit colours and how to create overlapping colours – Marimekko’s signature print technique (for example in the Lappuliisa print). I remember seeing Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi’s sample books in which she used the colour overlay effect to great success. Being exposed to this kind of design heritage has been very inspiring. One of my most amazing Marimekko moments was when I saw all the print colours I could work with. I could work with fifty shades of red and pink alone! Nowadays I’m inspired by the full gamut of colours – the sky, a smudge on the wall or even colour combinations in a trash bin or food. For example, on my way to this interview I saw a beautiful turquoise colour worn by a construction worker. During the dark winter months, I often walk by my neighbour’s home and see my Siirtolapuutarha print hanging in the window. It is rewarding to see your design become part of someone’s everyday life. I’ve even seen people make pants, skirts and blouses from my prints. In my opinion, that’s wonderfully Marimekko.


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Hanna Ticklén, Designer “I work with Marimekko licensed products. I’m holding a sample of Lumimarja printed bed linen that will be warming the beds of Americans this year.”

Susanna Jääsaari, Designer “I handle all the prints that are adapted to hard products such as cups, trays, and tin boxes. Here’s an example of the work I did with the HelsinkiHelsingfors print”

DE SIGN FOR EVERYDAY LIFE

From design to finished product – together In conversation with Petri Juslin, Marimekko’s Artwork Studio Manager

TR ADITION AND CHANGE Marimekko prints are not only inspired by the past, but also rooted in classic printmaking techniques. For instance, the use of overlapping colours, which was common in hand-printed patterns in the 50s and 60s, continues to define contemporary Marimekko prints. By overlapping two colours, we are able to create a unique third colour, which makes our prints stand out. Interestingly enough, most companies today ignore this technique. Some even see it as a mistake. In the 80s, we started working with the designers on half-tones, which allowed us to create colour hues. It was a novel approach, in which tiny dots or pixels in the print – when viewed from a distance – produced a lighter tone of colour. It was also a way to move beyond pure colour printing. A decade later, we started using computers to manage the printmaking process more effectively. Now it’s much easier to achieve the desired result, while retaining the designer’s signature style in the finished print. TOGETHER FROM START TO FINISH With each new product, our artwork studio team collaborates closely with the designer. Whether it’s a tin box, a new fabric print or paper napkins, everyone works together to ensure the best fit for the print on the product. The original scale, colours, and

Eri Shimatsuka, Designer “This is an old interior print designed by Katsuji Wakisaka and will be applied to clothing in Marimekko’s 2012 spring collection. It was one of my first projects when I started working for Marimekko.”

illustration technique of the print is often retained. This means we try to respect the designer’s vision throughout the working process. We also involve the designers early on in the workflow and try not to tie ourselves down at anytime. New Marimekko designers often ask at the beginning of a project what are the restrictions. In those moments I tell them that I don’t want to talk about restrictions, I want to talk about possibilities. Our designers must stay true to their inspiration, and not have to compromise due to production challenges. Especially when we work with new designers, we encourage them to learn more about Marimekko prints and include the overlapping technique in their design thinking. CON TIN UIT Y IN DE SIGN AND PRODUCTION For us, there is no clear boundary where design ends and production takes over. It is this continuity in design and production that has helped make Marimekko unique and consistent over the past sixty years. What’s vital here is the special relationship between the designer and our in-house production teams. Many companies just take the freelance designer’s idea into production and leave it at that. No relationship is established, and the designers never see what happens to their work again. We are constantly experimenting with new materials and printing techniques, but the human hand of our designers will always be a part of Marimekko.

Kaisa Sollo, Designer “This is Kehäkukka by Aino-Maija Metsola where I worked on the colour separation and had to consider how to translate the aquarelle painting into a printed textile. I enjoyed the challenges of this project and it turned out well!”


© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND AINO- MAIJA METSOL A 2011 : “KEHÄKUKK A”

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© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND AINO- MAIJA METSOL A 2011 : “KEHÄKUKK A”

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Moments of life in Helsinki Photos Kati Rapia & Mari Savio

“I LOOK AT THE PORT CRANES AS THEY LIFT HIDDEN TREASURES FROM FARAWAY LANDS. MY FRIEND SMILES. HER FATHER WAS A SAILOR WHO ALWAYS CAME HOME WITH GIFTS AND TALES OF ADVENTURE. NO ONE CARED IF IT WAS MAKE-BELIEVE. WE WERE TOO BUSY LISTENING.”


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“IT IS MORNING. THE SMELL OF SMOKED BALTIC HERRING. THE CRY OF SEAGULLS. I AM ON MY WAY TO THE MARKETPLACE. EVERY DAY I GO THERE TO DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW. FRESH VEGETABLES. VIOLET FLOWERS. I STILL REMEMBER WHEN MY FATHER BOUGHT ME A BOX OF STRAWBERRIES.”


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“HELSINKI MARKET PLACE. SWEET REDS. SUMMER GREENS. I’LL TAKE THEM HOME AND TOSS TOGETHER A SALAD FOR LUNCH.”


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“I GREW UP WITH BOLD COLOURS AND PATTERNS. THE STRIPE SHIRT MY FATHER ALWAYS WORE ON THE FIRST OF MAY. THE DRESS MY MOTHER CHOSE FOR MY LITTLE SISTER. THEY GAVE ME THE CONFIDENCE TO BE MYSELF.”


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“I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND HAPPINESS IN SIMPLE THINGS. CLEAR. UNASSUMING. PRACTICAL. EVEN SOME OF THE BEST MOMENTS IN MY LIFE ARE ROOTED IN QUIET ROUTINES. LIKE WHEN I CHOOSE THE RIGHT DRESS FOR THE PARTY.”


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“I PASS A YOUNG WOMAN WHO IS WASHING RUGS IN THE SEA. THE CASCADING WATER GIVES ME AN IDEA. I WILL SURPRISE EVERYONE WITH WATER LILIES FROM MY PARENT’S COTTAGE. ONE FLOWER FOR EACH GUEST.”


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“I AM PLANNING A SMALL PARTY FOR MY FRIENDS. I WANT MY GUESTS TO REMEMBER THE GET-TOGETHER. MAYBE NEW TABLE MATS OR A CANDLEHOLDER? I CYCLE TO THE CITY CENTRE. MY COLOURFUL SHOPPING BAGS ARE SWAYING IN THE WIND.”


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“THEY’RE HERE! I CAN SEE MY GUESTS WALKING UP THE PATH. I WONDER WHAT’S INSIDE THE BAG. A NEW TABLECLOTH OR SMOKED HERRING WRAPPED UP IN NEWSPAPER? I HEAR LAUGHTER.”


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“MY FRIEND IS BAKING FRESH BLUEBERRY MUFFINS. OUR GUESTS ARE EATING GOOSEBERRIES IN THE GARDEN. I WISH THIS PARTY WOULD LAST FOREVER. I KNOW IT’S A SILLY DREAM, BUT I DON’T CARE. I JUST WANT TO ENJOY THE MOMENT WITH PEOPLE I CARE ABOUT.”


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“I ALWAYS RESERVE READING FOR THE WEEKEND. I READ A PAGE OR TWO, BUT SOON TAKE A NAP. NO HURRY. I HAVE ALL THE TIME I NEED.”


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Marimekko village comes to life Illustration Aino-Maija Metsola

In 1962 Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko, defined Marimekko as “a cultural phenomenon guiding the quality of living”. She spent time in the social circles associated with Aarno Ruusuvuori’s architecture firm and was inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s idea of the “global village”. From here she started building a utopia called Marikylä (“Mari Village”), whose aim was no less than to house the staffs and to function as a laboratory for product design and to develop new ways of life. This year – when we celebrate the World Design Capital year of Marimekko’s home town Helsinki – Marimekko will bring to life the Marimekko Village of today. Since the beginning, Marimekko has been fascinated by the everyday happiness of people, and the Marimekko Village is a chance to work together with people to make it happen. When thinking what Marimekko Village could be in 2012, we found that villages exist in physical and digital spaces and it’s the people that make the village truly function. At the same time, we’re seeing that in the Western world quality of life has changed remarkably since the 1960s. We read countless stories of people working to find meaning in their lives and thinking more about the emotional quality of their life. The Marimekko Village of 2012 brings together

people through numerous events and activities in Marimekko spaces in Finland and abroad. We will create interesting encounters, encourage people to make things together and get inspired by colours and patterns in our everyday life. All happenings will converge in a digital space, a virtual village www. marimekko.com/marimekkovillage where people can learn about and follow Marimekko Village throughout the year. The year kicked off on the 16th of January with the Armi 100 years online collaboration to honour what would have been Armi Ratia’s 100th birthday. The online collaboration project will give people the chance to be the voice of Marimekko. People are invited to express their thoughts through words or a visual on a topic that sits at the heart of the Marimekko philosophy: emotional quality of life. The outcomes of the initiative will also be seen in our collections towards the end of 2012. www. marimekko.com/armi100 SPOTLIGHT ON HELSINKI During the Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 opening weekend, Marimekko will launch the Marimekko Map of Helsinki at its Marikiska shop in

Helsinki on the 3rd of February. The map explores the special personalities of the main Marimekko locations in Helsinki and their cultural heritage. The map of Helsinki is illustrated by Marimekko designer Aino-Maija Metsola and will also present the favourite places in Helsinki of several other Marimekko designers – places in the city with a strong emotional meaning for them. The printed map will be available in Marimekko stores and in digital form at www. marimekko.com/marimekkovillage/helsinkimap where people can also view the designers’ favourite places. On Saturday the 4th of February, Marimekko welcomes everybody, families and friends, to Marimekko Village’s market place. Selected Marimekko stores in Finland and abroad will be staged for a day as a market place, the heart of the village. At the market place, people can meet and greet and enjoy the moments of life in Helsinki. The stores will offer fresh coffee, playful shows and a little fun for little ones. Check out the Marimekko Village event and activity calendar and its updates throughout the year at www.marimekko.com/marimekkovillage.


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Wrapped up in Marimekko Photos Sotamaa Design & Marimekko

In September 2011, Marimekko’s Why Not Together theme went live at Helsinki’s Habitare design fair as an installation which invited people to get creative with Folding Fabrics tables. The installation also turned out to be a colourful way to enjoy inspiring talks – in the company of friends and new acquaintances – and welcome in the autumn season. The Folding Fabrics tables were designed by Kivi and Tuuli Sotamaa of Sotamaa Design in collaboration with Marimekko’s in-house design team. Seasonal and classic Marimekko fabrics were used to evoke the drama of nature and the beauty of autumn colours. The design team also came up with an ingenious way to wrap Marimekko patterns around individual forms, while retaining the original prints’ unique character. Each fold begins as a flat surface, which is then expanded into a three-dimensional object to form a table or stool. This innovative approach adds a new dimension to Marimekko’s print patterns.


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SHOP OPENINGS

Marimekko’s bold colours and patterns arrive in New York In conversation with Elisa Sviili from the Marimekko NYC store Photos Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Marimekko

In October 2011, Marimekko celebrated the opening of its flagship store in New York City in the heart of Manhattan. The flagship store is located in the Flatiron District at 200 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. With a concentration of many attractive interior decoration, design and fashion shops, cafés and restaurants, the district enjoys growing popularity as a local shopping area. The store is an experience-rich meeting place in which Marimekko’s varied colours and design idiom lead from one inspiring mood to the next. The range embraces all product lines, and showcases new products in particular. The NYC store is based on the flagship store opened in Helsinki earlier in 2011 – both stores were designed by the Japanese architectural firm IMA in cooperation with Marimekko’s own shop design team. HOW DID THE OPENING EVEN T GO? It was extremely exciting for all of us to be part of the opening event. A whole big Marimekko family gathered together – customers, Marimekko fans and employees from Finland and the US. The dance performance in the store with Marimekko fabrics was a great way to show the heart of our company with a modern and fun twist. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST WEEKS AF TER THE OPENING? The first weeks were like a dream. Like in Finland, our NYC customers are committed to Marimekko. Some come to find inspiration for their homes or for the way they dress. Others drop by to get colour therapy for the day or enjoy the artistic

atmosphere. For the first couple of weeks after the opening, we had Kivikko cushions outside the store and Marimekko-clad umbrellas filled the park across the street. People were able to sit down with their lunch and have a moment in the sun. WHAT SORT OF PEOPLE COME IN TO THE SHOP? I would say all kinds of people, including “veteran Marimekko fans” from the 60s. They have life-long memories of the company and are grateful that Marimekko is back in such a strong way. Some of them came to the opening from as far away as Los Angeles and San Francisco. They remember Marimekko’s colourful, bold fabric prints. In fact, I recently spoke to a middle-aged customer, who told me that he and his brother had shared a Marimekko’s Bo Boo blanket as children. It was their favourite blanket and they had fought over it constantly. Their mother had called the blanket Marimekko, which the brothers thought was a made-up name. Then, one day in the fall, the man saw our new Marimekko flagship store in NYC and immediately knew where his blanket and the Bo Boo pattern had come from. Designers and design students also visit our store. They know Marimekko and are looking for something different. They often buy fabrics and items for their homes. Visitors also come from around the world, especially tourists from South America. They might not know Marimekko as a company, but they feel a strong connection to our prints. With the Napakettu pattern, our store staff keep track of where the wily Fox* is heading next in his travels. Maybe Buenos Aires this time around? * Napakettu is arctic fox in Finnish.

HOW HAS MAR IMEKKO FIT IN TO THE DAILY LIVE S OF NEW YOR KERS? People like to share their experiences with us. For example, how they’ve used Marimekko fabrics in their homes. They come back to the store and show pictures of their new wall-hangings or curtains. Or they show up with a new Marimekko dress made out of our fabric. I had a customer who was publishing a book and she wanted to wear something Finnish because her grandmother was Finnish. Even if she had no ties to Finland, she still wanted to bring something from her roots to this special moment in her life.


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SHOP OPENINGS

The joy of shopping continues

Marikiska, Uudenmaankatu 13 Helsinki 00120 Finland

Highlights from the end of 2011 Photos Even Knudsen & Marimekko

OSLO, NORWAY Oslo celebrated the opening of the first company–owned Marimekko store at the end of October 2011. The store is like a little “Marimekko house” located on the charming fashion street, Hegdehaugsveien in Majorstuen. MARIKISK A, HELSINKI, FINLAND Marimekko introduced an entirely new kind of shopping experience for its customers in Helsinki, when Marikiska – named after a kiosk – opened its doors in November 2011. Marikiska differs radically from all the other Marimekko stores; it’s a place where Marimekko can try out new things and do them in unaccustomed ways. The store stands for the special features of Marimekko design. It offers glimpses of something new and unique – the exquisite items in the carefully planned range are spearhead products from our collections, prototypes, and sneak peeks of pre-launch items. Located only a few blocks from the

city’s busiest shopping streets, Marikiska is in the heart of Helsinki’s thriving design district, where you can find numerous fashion and design boutiques as well as trendy restaurants and cafes. BOXPARK, LONDON, UK Marimekko opened its second shop in London early December 2011 as part of the world’s first pop-up mall, Boxpark Shoreditch. Today, the former working class area of Shoreditch is a fashionable East London district home to creative industries, tastemakers and scenesters. Built on moveable shipping containers, the innovative Boxpark mall is a fascinating mix of progressive fashion, art and lifestyle brands. The new Marimekko Box Shop is a truly unique shopping experience that is well worth the detour. At Boxpark Shoreditch, you will find a constantly changing selection of Marimekko’s spearhead products and experimental launches combined with strong visuals.


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Hegdehaugsveien 29 Oslo 0352 Norway

Boxpark Retail Mall, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road London E1 6GY United Kingdom

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MARIMEKKO & JAPAN

Cooperation across generations Sawako Ura & Fujiwo Ishimoto

The relationship between Marimekko and Japan has always been special. Marimekko was launched in Japan at the beginning of the 1970s. Forty years later, Marimekko continues to be incredibly successful in probably the world’s most fashion savvy market, with the company’s current Japanese partner opening 21 Marimekko stores around the country in recent years. Japanese designers have also been working for Marimekko since 1968, when Katsuji Wakisaka, the designer of the beloved Bo Boo print, arrived in Finland and Marimekko. Fujiwo Ishimoto, who has designed about 400 prints for Marimekko in a good 30 years, has had the longest career at Marimekko. Of the younger generation of Japanese designers to work for Marimekko, the most recent arrival is Sawako Ura, who completed her MA at the Aalto University School of Art and Design. In her thesis, Sawako designed a print collection for Marimekko under the supervision of Fujiwo Ishimoto. The close cooperation between Marimekko and design schools also extends to collaboration between upcoming designers and renowned veterans. This sense of doing things together is essential to Marimekko’s design philosophy and makes the joint project between these two designers Marimekko in attitude and approach. FROM TOKYO TO HELSINKI Sawako Ura completed her BA in Tokyo, where the studies were more artistically orientated. Yet she was more interested in design and wanted to pursue further studies elsewhere. Having lived in Tokyo all her life, Sawako was fascinated with a change of environment. During her first visit to Finland in 2006, she fell in love with Helsinki, and two years later she began the MA programme at the Aalto University School of Art and Design. Her thesis topic was print textiles. But before she could get started, she had to find a thesis supervisor. Sawako had always admired Fujiwo Ishimoto’s work for Marimekko. So when the master agreed to supervise her thesis project, Sawako was deeply honoured. Especially Fujiwo Ishimoto’s abstract patterns had much in common with Sawako’s own design sensibility. FROM AR ABIA TO HERT TONIEMI When Fujiwo saw her pattern sketches for the first time, he pointed out that only Marimekko could turn Sawako’s inspiration into print fabrics. Marimekko was also impressed with her designs and immediately agreed to cooperate with this cross-generational team. Of the original fifteen print sketches, four patterns were chosen for the thesis. Three of these will appear in Marimekko’s spring 2012

collection. The fourth pattern is scheduled for future production. For Sawako, the biggest yet most rewarding challenge was finding the right pattern colours during the production run-up. She had previously tried silk screen printing, but had never worked with this technique on an industrial scale like Marimekko. Transferring the selected colour schemes to each of the patterns was demanding. Fujiwo’s matchless experience and unwavering eye for detail and colour were a great help. TIIKER I, VILLISIK A, T UN T UR IPÖLLÖ The three patterns chosen for the spring collection – Tiikeri, Villisika, Tunturipöllö (Tiger, Wild Boar, Arctic Owl) – are sensitive to their original inspiration: wild animals gazing into the distance, vigilant and regal, from the recesses of the forest. DR EAM COME S TRUE Sawako is still finding it hard to believe that her dream came true – that she was able to do her thesis for Marimekko with Fujiwo as her supervisor. In fact, she goes out of her way to thank Marimekko’s design team, artwork studio and printers. She says that she learned something new at every stage of the collaboration. Her friends at Marimekko are also happy, and her supervisor is equally pleased. For Fujiwo, the opportunity to supervise a thesis was an interesting and satisfying experience. It was also a chance to see up-close how the next-generation of designers create new Marimekko prints. Moreover, Fujiwo saw something in Sawako’s patterns that he could relate to – perhaps something Japanese. According to him, Sawako’s prints convey the same kind of silence as you would encounter in a Finnish landscape – a beauty rooted in humility, not ruggedness. The patterns are not boastful, but instead offer the viewer the joy of discovery. A NEW HOME IN FINLAND Sawako received her Masters of Arts degree in December 2011 and decided to settle in Finland. Besides working as a freelance designer, she is busy helping her boyfriend run his own Japanese restaurant. Fujiwo, who retired from Marimekko six years ago, is busy designing and making ceramics. His ceramic design is frequently exhibited in Finland and Japan. He also stays in touch with Marimekko as many of his patterns are still in production, with occasional requests for new print colourways.


© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND SAWAKO UR A 2010 : “VILLISIK A”

© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND SAWAKO UR A 2010 : “TIIKERI”

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The Helsinki print story Marimekko restores an original print from 1951 Photos Mainos Taucher & Marimekko

A MAR IMEKKO FIRST Per-Olof Nyström was a Finnish graphic designer, illustrator and artist. Awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1970, Per-Olof Nyström enjoyed a 40-year career in advertising and as an editorial illustrator for Huvudstadsbladet, the biggest Swedish-language newspaper in Finland. He also won several design competitions in Finland and abroad, and his work was exhibited widely. In the 1960s, he taught at the Helsinki school of graphic design and the Helsinki University of Art and Design. In 1951, Per-Olof Nyström designed ten prints for Printex and Marimekko. Some of these patterns were shown in Marimekko’s first-ever fashion show in 1951. Of the original ten prints, the Helsinki-Helsingfors pattern was intended to celebrate the Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympics. The print displays many of Helsinki’s bestknown landmarks, including the Old Market Hall, Helsinki Cathedral, Uspenski Cathedral, Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden and the restaurant Klippan. REVIVING A CLASSIC The idea of restoring the Helsinki-Helsingfors print for the Helsinki 2012 World Design Capital year came from the Marimekko designer Mika Piirainen. He had seen the print in an old photograph, but the original print film had been lost in the mists of history. After considerable detective work, Mika managed to find a sample of the original fabric. Textile designer Heini Ruuskanen worked for Marimekko as an intern while studying at the Aalto University School of Art and Design. A highlight of Heini’s internship was restoring the film for the Helsinki-Helsingfors print. “We had a small sample of the fabric, but no complete repeat. So I recreated the repeat based on the sample and a photograph of the fabric. Per-Olof Nyström’s daughter, Stina Ericsson, made sure the restored print remained faithful to her father’s classic design.”


© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND PER- OLOF NYSTRÖM 1952 / 2010 : “HELSINKI- HELSINGFORS”

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© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND HALONEN & KOROL AINEN 2011 : “PUISTOTIE”

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© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND MAIJA LOUEK ARI 2011 : “RYIJY”

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© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND TERESA MOORHOUSE 2010 : “MUMMOL AN MARJAT”

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© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND JENNI TUOMINEN 2011 : “MERIMERKIT”

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GOODBYE TO GR EY

From Mika to Alex and other men Marimekko gets colourful with men’s everyday wear Photos Paavo Lehtonen

When Alexander Stubb, Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, met Marimekko’s CEO Mika Ihamuotila a couple of years ago, he asked if Marimekko could also bring its famous flair for colour to men’s professional wear. The Minister felt that especially Finnish men travelling abroad deserved to wear a strong Finnish design brand that would add a spark of colour to sober suits and shirts. In the summer of 2011, Mika acted on Alex’s suggestion. He called together his team and told them about his idea to create a new men’s accessories line inspired by Marimekko’s textile patterns. It would also be the first step towards the renewal of Marimekko menswear collection. Everyone loved the idea.

Each season Marimekko comes out with new, ever more colourful Mari dresses, but now it was time to remember the men out there. Mika collected a sample of patterns from Marimekko’s legendary print archive and gave them to Marimekko’s design team, who kick-started the process. No frills. No fuss. In a few months, the team came out with a range of men’s ties and handkerchiefs, with Annika Rimala’s Papajo and Karakola prints taking centre stage. The new accessories also come in a stunning assortment of colours – from bright pink to forest green. From Mika to Alex – and to other men as well.


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FASHION SHOW

Spring & Summer, Tokyo & Helsinki Photos Leena Aro & Marimekko

Marimekko’s fashion show in Helsinki’s Cable Factory in October 2011 offered a welcome peek behind this year’s spring and summer collections. Marimekko had charmed audiences with a similar show only a few days earlier in Tokyo in conjunction with the Mercedes–Benz Fashion Week. The creative team behind the two shows included Marimekko’s Head of Fashion Design Noora Niinikoski, artist Tuomas Aleksander Laitinen and stylist Teri Niitti. The show itself was an inspired break from typical catwalk cavalcades and featured a theme of “Moments of Life in Helsinki”. Helsinki–inspired urban and natural elements were represented by a shallow pool on the runway and a series of unique background videos of forest, rocks and water.

“We wanted the videos to be minimalistic and fairylike, so it was a challenge finding the right film location. I tried to create a background that would accentuate the models but not take away from the clothes,” explains visual artist Tuomas Aleksander Laitinen. “We kept the styling discreet to achieve a very natural look. At the same time, the make-up was kept very light and modern, and the girls had their hair done in laid–back ponytails. The combination of background video, styling and show design was visually expressive and succeeded in telling the story of the inspiration behind the collections,” says stylist Teri Niitti.


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Some picks from the spring season Photos Juliana Harkki, Studio Sepp채 & Paavo Lehtonen

OIVA/HELSINKI-HELSINGFORS mug

TILKKA dress TOIMI bag

NEPPI dress

JALUSTIN dress SUKA hat ASTRA top ALIS skirt

HELSINKI-HELSINGFORS tea towel

HALIHALI bed linen

MUMMOLAN MARJAT oven mitt NEIDONKAULUS dress PELAKUU belt

AHKERALIISA dress KUKONHARJA hat


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MUMMOLAN MARJAT tray VIHKIRUUSU apron ALOK blazer RENTO trousers

LIRO dress

MUMMOLAN MARJAT pot holder

KEVENNYS dress

METROPOLI cushion cover

KY YHKY dress SUKA hat

VOIKUKKA tea towel

VOIKUKKA bed linen


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IN CELEBR ATION

Armi Ratia th 100 birthday EAR LY YEARS Armi Ratia was born on 13 July 1912 in Pälkjärvi, Karelia, where her father Matti Airaksinen owned a small grocery store. Her mother, Hilma, worked as a grade school teacher. Later on, the family moved to the village of Koivisto on the Gulf of Finland. Armi went to school in Joensuu and Vyborg, the biggest city in Karelia. She never completed her final year of high school as the allure of Helsinki’s premiere art school, the Central School of Applied Arts, proved too great. Her decision to move to Helsinki may also have been influenced by her new-found love for Viljo Ratia, who she had met in her home village Koivisto. Viljo was a student at Kadettikoulu, a prestigious officer candidate school in Helsinki, and the son of sea captain Anton Ratia. In Helsinki, Armi financed her studies by writing love stories for magazines. In 1935, Armi graduated as a textile designer and married Viljo in Koivisto. The young couple settled down in Vyborg, where Armi started her first business, a small weaving company. In 1939, the Ratias moved back to Helsinki, where Armi worked as an office assistant in the Ministry of Defence for about two years and then as a copywriter in an advertising agency for seven years. As World War Two swept across Northern Europe, Armi’s beloved Karelia and childhood home were taken by the Soviet army. Today East Karelia remains a part of the Russian Federation. In 1949, four years after the war, Armi took the first steps to creating Marimekko. She joined Printex, her husband’s wax and print fabric company, and

she started buying exceptionally colourful and bold patterns for the company. Marimekko was founded two years later, when Armi and Viljo began making clothes from Printex’s unique print fabrics. For a nation struggling with shortages and drabness, Marimekko was a welcome source of colour and joy. MARIMEKKO Armi Ratia was a textile artist, managing director, creative director, wizard of words, publicity guru, visionary, maternal figure, and wellspring of inspiration. She had an incredible ability to decipher the mood of the times and sense future trends. She also had a genius for recognizing talent and finding ways to realize even the wildest, most imaginative ideas. Armi could see the extraordinary in the ordinary and make any occasion a celebration. And if she sometimes shocked or surprised people, she always did it elegantly. Her attitude was a poised balance of charm, wit and fearlessness. Armi was exceptional in many ways, but it was perhaps her flair for language that was most intriguing. Her command of the Finnish language was beyond compare. Her original expressions and unexpected figures of speech were admired – sometimes even frowned upon – in countless magazines interviews, letters, memos and advertisements. Marimekko gave Armi Ratia – courageous, curious, wilful, generous, warm – a rich and colourful life. She passed away on 3 October 1979. In 2012, she would have celebrated her 100th birthday on 13 July. Were she still with us, the birthday party would be special beyond a doubt. SHAR E YOUR VOICE Armi believed that Marimekko should always celebrate the joy and wonder of everyday life. Even today, Marimekko’s success owes much to Armi’s ideas. In honour of her birthday, we invite you to think about what emotional quality of life means to you. We think a good life is born out of little moments in everyday life. What do you think? Tell us in words or images by 13 March 2012 what emotional quality of life means to you. Share your recipe for happiness at www.marimekko.com/armi100. You can also take part in a lottery for a Marimekko gift certificate worth 500 euros. Let your imagination guide you. Draw up a list, craft a poem or aphorism – or just write a sentence or two.


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© MARIMEKKO OYJ SUOMI- FINL AND PER- OLOF NYSTRÖM 1952 / 2010 : “HELSINKI- HELSINGFORS”

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Marimekko paper spring 2012