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Fiskars partners in design exploration with Aalto University

The cooperation between Fiskars and Aalto University started in 2017 by defining shared interest areas in the long term, and first concrete projects started in 2018.
Aalto experimental glass pattern. Glass bubbles form a map / photo by Eeva Suorlahti

”We have been working to open up new thinking, especially to do with a core materials such as glass and ceramics. This year we had four projects with Aalto University and the four brands of Fiskars Scandinavian Living Business: Iittala, Arabia, Rörstrand, and Royal Copenhagen. Working with a group of students helped show the possibilities of what could be possible, in an experimental way,” says Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Fiskars Scandinavian Living Business.

The cooperation between Fiskars and Aalto University started in 2017 by defining shared interest areas in the long term, and first concrete study projects started in 2018.

“Fiskars wants to be innovative in our business planning and use new processes and technologies in order to make the consumer’s life better and more unique. With this cooperation, we feel that we have our finger on the pulse of innovation and are able to bring into use these technologies,” explains Leni Valsta, Vice President of Fiskars Scandinavian Living Business.

Portrait of Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Fiskars

Working with a group of students helped show the possibilities of what could be possible.

Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Fiskars

Why cooperate with Aalto University?

“We work with designers and creative agencies which help us open the future. Working with groups of students helped in a different way to create a volume of ideas generated by the students and guided by a professor with a background in the subject and materials, not to mention the new facilities and equipment at the Otaniemi campus,” says Tesolin.

The Experimental Design course leader, designer Anna van der Lei was involved in making a concrete proposal for Fiskars about how we could start exploring glass as a material. The collaboration is very beneficial especially to the students, who hear feedback directly from industry.

“Collaboration has also given us access to extra resources for the course, such as enabling us to work in the glass workshop with professional glass blowers,” van der Lei explains. She supervises an exhibition of three study projects that will be on display at the Arabia Design Center and Iittala flagship store in Amos Rex during Helsinki Design Week 2019.

Cooperation has exceeded expectations

Tesolin is pleased with the outcome of the course, and has decided to further develop three of the projects which were created by the students during the Experimental Glass project, and also two projects from the Colours Materials Design course. “The outcome of the courses has been more than what we expected, and we’re continuing to develop the work further with the design students. It proved to be a great way to open up new thinking and help develop the brands further, and to create internal momentum around innovation and experimental design within Fiskars as a company.”

“Fiskars is a fantastic company because they understand the added value university and student collaboration has” says Pirita Posti, key account manager from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Posti has been actively involved in defining the common ground for the study projects. “The value and respect towards the students and academic knowledge are also high.”

Text: Tiina Toivola.
Photo of the artwork above: A material experiment by Design MA student Sushant Passi. Photographer: Eeva Suorlahti.

More information:

Pirita Posti
Manager, Corporate Relations, School of Arts, Design and Architecture

+358 50 364 6381
[email protected]

Close up of glowing glass in thin lines on the floor of the Aalto University glass studio.
Experimenting at Aalto University's Glass Workshop. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti
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