As a Nordic interior design lover, it will come as no surprise to learn that I’ve got a bit of an obsession with lighting.
Safe to say after listening to a recent episode of the Archipelago podcast, which is a must listen for me, I’m not alone.
So, to beat those bleak midwinter blues, who better for me to chat with than lighting designer Timo Niskanen, founder of the amazing Himmee.
If you haven’t come across them before, Himmee is a Finnish family-run company that designs amazing high quality lighting and candle holders with a focus on a modern, minimalistic aesthetic while still championing traditional quality craftsmanship and considered business practices.
Here’s what Timo had to tell me:
Turning your passion into a profession takes a huge leap of faith. What personal beliefs, inspirations and sacrifices led to Himmee becoming the successful lighting brand it is today?
Light as an element has inspired me since childhood. I was brought up in Finland, which is a natural place to study light and experience how the changing amount of light affects the environment.
This lifelong interest led me to study designing and light fixture planning, and when I first started Himmee I just wanted to publish my designs and hoped that somebody else would like them.
Then when I made our first sales and when retailers and the media started to show interest, I thought that this could really become something. Of course, I always dreamt that Himmee would succeed but such a great start gave me a huge boost.
When starting any business, it is such fun that you don´t care that you are working like crazy. Everything is so new and interesting, and as they say, hard work really does pay off.
How would you describe the design principles of Himmee and how important is it for you that your products are not just designed, but made in your native Finland?
At Himmee we do not believe in the culture of disposable things and as a result our products are timeless and durable.
For me as a Finn, it’s so important that I take responsibility of the materials we use and that we produce as locally as possible.
Fair business is also about being accountable too, and while I would like to find all my producers in Finland, sadly it is not always possible. We then look for suitable producers from Europe if there is no alternative.
Every Himmee product has a unique story to tell, but which pieces mean the most to you and why?
For some reason, I tend to always like my most recent project. At the moment it´s the ‘Poiju’ pendant lamp. Poiju looks very simple and quite traditional in shape, but the material is solid ash. Finding a manufacturer and the right technology for this kind of part was very challenging.
Besides our newest product, the ‘Toad’ table lamp will always have a very special place in my heart. To me it symbolises Himmee as it was one of the first products we launched and the whole collection started to form around this piece. I of course like the feel of the materials and its timeless form.
As someone who is passionate about light and how it affects us, what are your top tips for creating a warm and inviting room over the winter months?
Light is an important factor in the life of Finns and other people living in the North; there is only a little light to be seen in the middle of the winter while in the summer there is light around the clock. It is safe to say that these unique surroundings have moulded us into being experts about light.
With good lighting various moods are easy to create and for me it is important to have multiple light sources around the room so you can control different situations.
At Himmee we use a combination of table and floor lamps to give a more intimate feeling. I personally also like to use 2700K warm light bulbs as well as lots of candlelight of course.
Finally, can you share any details on what you’re currently working on? What exciting projects and products are coming up?
We are currently working on launching an exciting new lamp family at Stockholm Furniture Fair in February which consists of floor, table and wall lamps, and can’t wait to see the reaction from visitors.
Thank you so much to Timo for chatting with me, I cannot wait to see the new pieces in the next few weeks.
If you are looking for further lighting inspiration, please check out my Pinterest board, ‘Nordic Lighting Ideas’.
Alternatively, to find out more about Himmee and to shop the collection please visit the Himmee website.
All photography via Himmee.