Today we present the Finnish based product designer Mika Tolvanen. He talked about his designer life and his work with Muuto. According to him, the “return of old materials and manufacturing methods” are the exciting things in design today.

This interview is made in collaboration with the Vevey based design store Kizuku.
Noémie and Jean, the founders of Kizuku offer an incredible selection of Swiss and international design brands like Muuto, ACE or Karimoku New Standard. We are associated with them to promote some talented designers.


Hello Mika Tolvanen, how are you?

Very good thank you. A bit busy lately but that is a good thing.

Can you introduce yourself? Tell us more about you.

Finnish product designer. I do mainly furniture, lamps, and consumer products. I was born in 1975 in Lieksa, Finland. Studied in Helsinki and London first industrial design and later furniture design. In 2005 I set up my own office.

Where is your studio based and what do you like about this place?

My office is in Töölö, Helsinki. It is a lovely old bakery at street level with large windows. Downstairs in the underground we have a nice workshop where we have few basic tools like bandsaw, etc…

Tell us about your experience and approach to design?

I try to design objects that feel right. You know the feeling like you are shaking hands with an old friend.

Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Muuto?

Muuto has been one of my best clients and I have done work with them for several years. Our collaboration started from Restore basket. It was my first design for them. At the time I was part of Rehti-group, collective of Finnish designers and Kristian from Muuto had spotted us at Salone Satellite, in Milan. Restore was a success, and after that came Hideaway bin, and the latest are the Visu chairs. It has been real joy to work with such dedicated client. We have been perfecting the chair for years and soon there will be new members to Visu family. Part of Muutos success has been the fact that we work on a project until it is ready. I am currently working on couple new projects with Muuto.

What is exciting in design today?

Return of old materials and manufacturing methods.

Have you been influenced by any movement or designer in particular?

I like the work of many designers for many reasons. Some for their weirdness and some for their discipline.

Do you have any advice to give to students and young designers?

I am not old or experienced enough to give advice. What I would say though is just to keep doing what you like and enjoy even if it does not pay off at the beginning.

Which book is on your bedside table?

At home : A short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. Lovely book full of quirky insights of everyday life.

The last word…

Beware people giving advice.


>   mikatolvanen.com


This interview is made in collaboration with the Vevey based design store Kizuku.

Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 11.13.


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