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Five from Finland

Wooden products

Much innovation is going on in this neck of the woods.

Julia Helminen

Abundant in forests, Finland has long been synonymous with innovative wood-related products.

Finland has a deep connection with forests, which populate 75 per cent of its land mass. The country has long harnessed its wood resources, not just as a construction material, but as a cornerstone for innovation. Finnish ingenuity has turned wood into a plethora of products showcasing the material’s versatility and sustainability.

Here are five ways in which wood is the focus of local innovation.


What sets Kumu Drums apart is its meticulous attention to detail and the use of premium Finnish birch in its drum shells.

Kumu Drums / Facebook

Founded in 1984, Kumu Drums is renowned around the globe for producing custom-made drum sets and snare drums that have gained a loyal following among professional musicians and hobbyists alike. The thin drum shells, made of Finnish birch, resonate strongly when played softly, thus allowing drummers to minimise the amount of energy expended when laying down a beat.

A drum’s low, sustaining sound also has extra meaning for Kumu, with the company taking its name from the Finnish word to describe such. Fittingly, ‘kumu’ also refers to a certain booming sound made by thunderstorms.

“I have done many unique patterns and finishes,” said founder Pekka Helanen. “Some have even wanted their kit to look like it is really old and beaten, even rusty. People are always so happy when they get their drums. They admire the finish and later have told me that they have stepped up levels with their playing.”


By utilising wood, a renewable resource, Aarni underscores its commitment to eco-conscious fashion.

Aarni / Facebook

Established by three childhood friends with a vision to bring the beauty of nature into everyday life, Aarni crafts exquisite wooden watches, sunglasses and other accessories. The company’s selling point is Finnish wood, such as curly birch, oak and alder. But also some more exotic options are available, including Indonesian rosewood and Mozambican ebony, all sourced through sustainable practices.

The choice of material not only ensures that every item is unique but also reflects Aarni's dedication to reducing the environmental impact of its products. Moreover, all Aarni’s accessories are designed to be timeless, transcending fleeting fashion trends and offering enduring appeal.

“A wooden watch is really light, always warm and doesn’t make its wearer’s wrist sweat,” CEO and co-founder Niklas Tuokko stated. “Similarly, wooden eyeglasses are softer than plastic ones and, more than anything, they’re classy. It’d be difficult to copy the unique pattern of wood.”


Designed by Pekka Koivikko, Nikari’s Kumu collection celebrates Finnish wood and its pliable beauty.


Fuelled by collaborations with Finnish design maestros, Nikari has a nearly 60-year history of creating premium solid-wood furniture. Since its inception in 1967, Nikari has focused on wood as its primary material, leveraging the natural beauty, durability and sustainability of this resource.

The company's portfolio comprises a wide range of products, from chairs and tables to outdoor furniture and accessories, each reflecting a deep understanding of wood as a material and a profound respect for Nordic design traditions.

“We value timeless design and combine proven, traditional wooden joints with contemporary forms,” CEO Johanna Vuorio told us a few years ago. “Sustainability is very important to us. We mostly work with public premises, but our furniture is increasingly bought for private homes around the world.”


Lastu offers a unique way to protect and personalise mobile accessories while staying true to principles of sustainability and design excellence.


This company started out by taking an artisan approach to protecting smartphones and has since seen demand for its products outweigh supply. Manufactured in Northern Finland and shipped around the globe, Lastu’s wooden phone cases are not only much more durable than their plastic or silicone counterparts, but also kinder to the environment.

“In Finland, using wood is a genuinely ethical way to produce merchandise,” said co-founder and partner Jussi Patopuro. “The supply chains are sustainable; we use wood from certified forests and never resort to species of trees that are endangered.”

In addition to wood, Lastu has been using other sustainable materials, including vegan and reindeer leather, salmon skin upcycled from the remnants of the fishing industry and army camouflage fabrics. Recognising the personal value attached to mobile devices, Lastu enables customers to customise their phone cases by adding laser-engraved designs, texts or personal logos.


Woodio is on a mission to fight climate change by offering bio-based renewable solutions that replace high-carbon-footprint materials in residential interiors and public spaces.


Founded in 2016, Woodio has made waves in the design world with its innovative approach to bathroom fixtures. Understanding the environmental burden of ceramics as a material and seeking to set new standards for sustainability in the industry, Woodio has developed a unique award-winning material from wood chips and resin-based binders.

The world’s first fully waterproof wood composite is suitable for manufacturing a range of bathroom products, including sinks, bathtubs and toilets, and the company is constantly developing new applications for its innovation outside the bathroom space.

“When we started, we were considered crazy – you could see it people’s eyes,” reminisced founder Petro Lahtinen. “But we persevered. Both our material and product development have required exceptionally strong faith, but the best inventions often arise in exceptional circumstances.”

“Our products are developed by a tremendous group of interdisciplinary experts, [in] e.g., chemistry, materials science, electronics, boat building, composite and industrial design,” he added.

By: Zhanna Koiviola