10 Questions: Klaus Haapaniemi
- What makes Finnish design special?
The individuals are most likely the reason for its success. However, in the end, why a relatively small country produces innovative thinkers who possess artistic courage is due to good education.
- You have created an installation in the newly opened St. George Hotel in Helsinki. How would you describe the project?
Creating the wall mural Lightnings in Tiger Woods was at the same time fun and challenging. Back then, we had yet not printed large-scale wallpapers on silk. It all came out fine in the end, and I hope the artwork gives a mystical glow to the newest and foremost luxury hotel in Helsinki.
- What role does your Finnish heritage play in your work?
This is something I don’t think too much myself. Maybe unconsciously it’s there but, to be honest I generally haven’t experienced any practical differences in the working methods or thinking of the artists or designers I follow that would be due to their national heritage.
- Design duo Klaus Haapaniemi has existed since 2010. How has the world of interiors and design changed during this era?
Trends have changed a few times but overall what people are searching for from their living environment and lifestyle has stayed pretty much the same for many years. There used to be small movements that have turned into norms nowadays and after time goes by the cycle starts again – this applies only to aesthetics. I think the bigger area that is going through rapid transformation is retail, meaning the brick-and-mortar stores, department stores and high street stores. This leads to a completely new phase in communication and how to sell design goods.
- What are the biggest challenges in running a design and lifestyle shop in London?
London is a large hub, especially for media, and the location is central in the world. We have had the chance to create a wonderful network and client base here and, of course, we hope that it stays connected and as a port of inspiration, rather than starts to slide backwards.
- What is your favourite piece of art?
I have too many favourites and even the ones I don’t like that much can still be influential and remarkable somehow. It’s just my opinion, but liking one work of art means you probably like the same artist’s whole body of work and the thinking behind it as much. Nevertheless, to cut this short, this week my favourite artwork would be Lee Bul’s Labyrinth of Infinity Mirrors that I saw in the Hayward Gallery recently.
- Who or what has influenced your design the most?
There are too many things to make a list, but probably my mum has had the most important impact on my career.
- Where do you feel most inspired?
I’m a junkie for inspiration that can be found from the most irrelevant and unexciting places or environments. Still, looking back, the greatest moments for getting bright ideas for me have been in the mountains.
- What one word or phrase do you want people to associate with your name?
This phrase, which I have heard few times now usually from older ladies, is quite nice: “I thought he would be older.” This comment probably reflects back on my work, but I would like to hear it still for long time.
- What is the thing you miss the most about Finland whilst living abroad?
At the moment, the oldest public sauna in Finland and bicycling.
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