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Out of the Blue: On Finnish Design and Finnishness

Talk with Marko Ahtisaari and Ville Kokkonen on the skills, traditions, and ambitions of contemporary Finnish design and its enduring values
Date: January 27, 2015
Time: 19:00–20:30
Location: Gestalten Pavilion, 
Bikini Berlin, 2nd Floor Garden, 
Budapester Straße 38–50, 10178 Berlin
Language: English

Finland is a country of stark contrasts between nature and high-tech, tradition, and unpredictability. It is known for its impressive school system and breathtaking lakes and forests, but also for its love of sauna taking, air guitar playing, and lots of coffee drinking. Its culture and a strong craft tradition have brought forth some of the world’s most impressive designs, designers, and design-related brands.

Join us for a drink and a conversation with Marko Ahtisaari and Ville Kokkonen, who have been the leading creative minds behind heritage manufactures Nokia and Artek and are ambassadors of Finnish tradition and innovative thinking worldwide. Their discussion will be moderated by Gestalten publisher Robert Klanten.

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About the Speakers:

Marko Ahtisaari is a technology entrepreneur, designer and investor. He is currently a director's fellow at the MIT Media Lab. From 2009-2013 Ahtisaari was Executive Vice President of design at Nokia, responsible for hardware, user interface and packaging design. He is credited for introducing the award-winning Nokia N9 and Lumia smartphones. Previously, Ahtisaari was CEO and Co-founder of Dopplr (acquired by Nokia) and head of design and brand at Blyk, the free ad-funded mobile network. Marko is the co-editor of the book Out of the Blue: The Essence and Ambition of Finnish Design, published by Gestalten in 2014. The book showcases Finland’s unique design culture, and takes an insightful look at typical Finnish characteristics of inventiveness, community spirit, love of liberty, ongoing transformation, and the free rein to be wacky.

Ville Kokkonen is a Finnish Industrial Designer. Between 2005 and 2014 Kokkonen worked as Design Director of Artek, Finland’s most iconic furniture-maker and the brand that, for many, represents the quintessence of the special relationship between design, industry, and social innovation. Since 2015 he has been running Special Projects for Artek and Vitra within Strategic Future Forecasting and Design Research. Born in Helsinki in 1975, Ville Kokkonen graduated as an industrial designer from the Ontario College of Art and Design and from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, where he later worked as a researcher. Since starting his own practice in 2004, Kokkonen has worked in the fields of design and technology with leading companies such as Nokia, Iittala, Wärtsilä, Elixair, UPM, and Artek. Ville Kokkonen is the designer of the award-winning White Light Collection for Artek, which was selected for inclusion in the Art Institute of Chicago's permanent collection. Currently, his principal area of research focuses on advancing wellbeing through the quality and effects of light and air.

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