“To hold the materials I work with in my hands, to feel that connection with what I am making, and knowing I am helping to keep long held Nordic craftsmanship alive is incredibly important.”
Born in Finland and raised in Sweden, award winning designer Sami Kallio spent his early years creating objects, “It was a kind of game for me to make plans and drawings of things in my head, and it has continued to this day.”
Honing his skills first as a carpenter instilled in Sami a lifelong ambition to merge time-honoured materials and techniques with modern methods. “During that period I had to build according to other people’s designs. While it was a good source of learning, embedded with generations of experience, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Why have they not thought about this?’ and ‘Why don’t we do it like that?’ So it felt natural that the next step for me was to become a designer.”
Can you tell us a little about your design studio and what an average day there looks like?
“I’ve had several studios over the years upgrading gradually but have been located just outside Gothenburg since 2013.
At any point I usually have 4 or 5 projects on the go, apart from the computer modelling and rendering, I do a lot of hands-on work. This approach allows me to challenge everyday thinking and push my materials further.
Like the wood I use, my discoveries take root, grow, and then flourish, ensuring I create contemporary furniture that is still built traditionally.”
What discoveries did you make during your latest project for Northern?
Over the last fifteen years Northern have created an impressive lighting legacy and I’ve been humbled and delighted to complement it with furniture. Whether the Pal stool and bench, the recent Valet wall console, or my new series of three dining tables, each one starts with form and everyday functionality in mind.
Yet with every project it is always the little details I fall in love with. In Nordic design we do not make details for fun. Well-designed details give life to established typologies and lets us discover new ones.
With the dining tables I looked closer at the connection between the vertical and the horizontal elements and how to find the right balance. The curved apron and slight angle of the legs make the overall design feel incredibly light considering the generous size.
With the dining tables I looked closer at the connection between the vertical and the horizontal elements and how to find the right balance.
How does the way we live today affect your designs and how will you continue to make them relevant in the future?
“With growing concern for the environment designers, manufacturers and consumers need to take responsibility where they can. If every piece was designed and made with a long life in mind a lot could be achieved in reducing the furniture industry’s environmental footprint. I firmly believe that having wooden materials in our homes; how they feel, how they smell and how they look, is not only good for the planet but good for us.”
“I firmly believe that having wooden materials in our homes; how they feel, how they smell and how they look, is not only good for the planet but good for us.”