Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Made in Finland
The Nordic natural blondes There is something fundamentally Finnish about birch trees. The slender trees with white bark are associated with the precious Nordic summer nights after a sauna session by a blue lake. Perhaps some of that serene feeling is still intact within the Kiteen Huonekalutehdas Ltd furniture, made of the beautifully blonde hardwood? Now, even the elderly can enjoy it. By Mia Halonen | Photos: Kiteen Huonekalutehdas
Wood is the traditional material for Finns to build anything. From beds to bridges, sleighs to houses – everything in Finland used to be made of wood. And why not? After all, wood is an excellent material: it is durable, workable and within easy reach in a country of which two-thirds is still covered with forests.
Huonekalutehdas, Raakel Tiihonen, who knows that wooden furniture is ecological rather than disposable. “Unlike furniture made of plastic or cheap board, you can always paint or modify wood over the years, so the same piece can get a new lease of life.”
Lovely, lasting birch
Kiteen Huonekalutehdas is a traditional Finnish family business. It was founded in 1920 in a part of Karelia that now belongs to Russia. After World War II, the furniture factory continued work in Kitee, on the Finnish side of the border in eastern Finland. Tiihonen and her late husband bought it a quarter of a century ago, and now Tiihonen’s two sons are in the business as well.
Bedroom sets have been their best-selling articles for a long time, and now there is a new niche: beds for the elderly. “People all over the world live longer than ever before, and most would like to live in their own homes,” says Tiihonen. Kiteen Huonekalutehdas manufactures beds that do not look like cold hospital beds. “The wooden motorised beds suit the other familiar furniture at home or in the nursing home. Yet, with wheels and adjustable height, they are very functional, both for the person sleeping in it and for the carers.” The most beautiful and practical blondes? Must be from Finland!
Traditional business with new niche By far the most-loved wood in Finland is birch. It is durable and its natural blondeness appeals to people all over the world. No wonder quality furniture factory Kiteen Huonekalutehdas specialises in using the material. ”When you buy a piece of furniture made of birch, you are buying something that will last for a very long time,” says managing director of Kiteen
For more information, please visit: www.kiteen.fi
Issue 67 | August 2014 | 61
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Tim Schou.