FIN/JPN Friendship Collection

Pieces of Aalto - A conversation between friends

Making of Pieces of Aalto

Created to celebrate the anniversary of 100 years of Finnish-Japanese diplomatic relations, Artek’s FIN/JPN Friendship Collection wouldn’t have made sense without a contribution from Akira Minagawa. The designer and founder of Japan-based fashion company minä perhonen is a longstanding friend of the Finnish design company. His collaboration with Artek began in 2008, but his affinity with the company goes back even further. “I remember finding the Artek shop when I visited Finland for the first time one winter when I was 19 years old. It was already dark outside and snow was falling down. At the time, I had just started to study design and didn’t know much, still I was impressed by its form and purity.”

Making of Pieces of Aalto
Minagawa at his home, where he finds inspiration from a variety of design by Aalto and other Finnish masters.
Making of Pieces of Aalto

Pieces of Aalto illuminates Minagawa’s creative process and presents a visual dialogue between the designer and Aalto standards, products and architectural shapes. An inveterate sketcher and doodler, Minagawa takes images from the Artek archive and uses them as jumping off points, allowing his imagination – and pencil – to lead him where they will: eyes peer out from beneath Alvar Aalto’s Golden Bell; the shape of a plant pot becomes a lake, a piece of bentwood transforms into a bird.

Making of Pieces of Aalto
Minagawa says, “When it comes to design, people tend to focus on novelty and high functionality. However, I believe what’s important is how much design can genuinely touch one’s feelings.

At home, Minagawa is inspired by his favourite Alvar Aalto pieces. “I own a variety of stools, tables, and a tea trolley. The time I spend with these products, all designed decades ago, is fruitful. Every time I see the details, various scenes come to my mind.” Artek’s invitation to create a book for the FIN/JPN Friendship Collection was therefore a pleasant one. Minagawa relished the opportunity to spend time with his hero Alvar Aalto: “When you get close to someone, your attachment to them grows.”


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