— The Ram speaks to many people. On one hand it’s likable and looks soft, but on the other hand it symbolises strength and perseverance. The Ram is often given as a gift to, among others, corporate directors and musicians. If I recall correctly, Metallica gave one to its band manager, says designer Pauliina Aarikka.
The Ram is made entirely of wood, and it takes ten people to make one, as each part is turned by a different lathe operator.
The company is recognised for its bright colours, but its colouring method, developed in the 1950s, is a trade secret. The method is still used today, and it’s what gives the wood its bright colours without masking the natural surface grain of the wood. According to Pauliina, the Japanese in particular greatly appreciate Aarikka’s woodworks.
— Our products have been exported to Japan since the 1960s. The Japanese appreciate wood and also that you can tell just by looking at the product that it’s “the real thing”. Kaija Aarikka was in Japan in 1997 as part of then President Martti Ahtisaari’s trade delegation. Upon being introduced to the Empress of Japan, the Empress exclaimed, “Of course I know Aarikka! We have your Ram here in the palace”, Pauliina Aarikka recounts.
Although the Rams are Aarikka’s most popular export product, half of the company’s turnover comes from its jewellery. All of the products are handmade in Finland and the main material used is wood.
Aarikka was founded in 1954 by Kaija Aarikka. Nowadays the company is run by her three daughters: designer Pauliina Aarikka, President and CEO Sarianna Partanen, and Chairman of the Board of Directors Meliina Ruokonen.
Designer Pauliina Aarikka explains how did the Aarikka Ram come about.