I was recently asked to write for a publication about Finnish design. How throughout the republic’s history, its furniture, ceramics, glassware and home textiles brands have always been and continue to have, a deeply rooted sense of sustainability, diversity and inclusivity.
Safe to say I’ve loved every minute, learnt a lot, and as a result even more passionate than ever about sharing these exceptional design-driven brands with you.
So today I want to tell you about Finarte, a family run Finnish rug company, that has been successfully combining traditional handcrafted weaving with cutting edge design for over 35 years.
I recently chatted to CEO, Larissa Immonen, to find out more:
Hi Larissa, let’s start with how Finarte began. What is the story behind the brand?
My parents, the designer Eija Rasinmäki and businessman Erkki Immonen, started Finarte in 1985, and their unique love story is woven into every piece we make.
Before I was even born, they had established a factory in Portugal and had begun producing Finarte rugs. Back then everything was solely designed by my mother, as she had been making much-sought-after rugs in Finland for more than 15 years.
In the early 1990s, production was moved to Northern India, after a skilled manufacturer there saw my mother’s work and invited her to collaborate. This soon led to training and teaching the local weavers in traditional Finnish weaving techniques. These same rural rug makers are still Finarte’s main production partners today.
My mother is now celebrating her 50th anniversary in design, and her pioneering spirit and extensive work is being showcased in an upcoming book and retrospective exhibition, which I’m really happy about.
You took on the position of CEO in autumn 2016. Had this always been the plan?
After graduating from high school in India, I went on to study National Economics and planned of forging a career in Development Co-operation, but after doing internships I soon realised that all the elements I wanted from my work where combined in Finarte. It also seemed valuable that I would be able to secure the future of the company that my parents built and had developed further for a long time.
I haven’t regretted a single day, and funnily enough my earlier experiences, have proven to be a very positive part of my current work.
At Finarte you collaborate with a range of well-known designers. How do you choose who to work with?
Many of our designer collaborations have come to fruition very intuitively. We always look for partnerships that clearly represent the designer’s vision, but also share the same values as Finarte.
In recent years, Finarte has cooperated with several well-known designers, including Saana and Olli, Marianne Huotari, Eri Shimatsuka and Pasi Kärkkäinen-Tunkelo. While I’ve also had the pleasure of having Marianne Huotari, the designer behind some of our new classics like ‘Suovilla’ and ‘Atrium’, working with me Creative Director.
You have recently launched your latest collection, ‘Atelier.’ What was the inspiration behind it?
The ’Atelier’ collection is, in essence, an ode to everyday creativity. At Finarte, we always try to make rugs and textiles that bring joy and act as a form of self-expression, because we believe that home decoration can, and should be, very meaningful.
We actually started working on the new collection before the pandemic, and now in this new era and with it the vital role our homes now play in our lives, the idea behind it seems even more accurate.
Sustainability has been a fundamental part of Finarte for over thirty years, how will this progress even further in the future?
Our rugs have been woven from recycled and upcycled materials during our whole existence. It really is at the core of our being, and now with new innovations in the textile industry, we are very excited to incorporate even more sustainable materials into our collection.
As a company we are also developing a deeper sustainability road map to further improve our work in India to create long-lasting and recycled products in a very humane manner that is both ecologically, socially and economically sustainable for everyone involved as well as the planet.
I hope we can soon travel to India again to meet our partners and see these plans in action. It’s so important to remember that sustainability is not only an end-goal, but also a journey of constant improvement and progress in so many areas.
Thank you so much to Larissa for chatting with me. I already have a list of Finarte pieces I’d love to add to my own home.
To find out more, or to shop the Atelier collection, please visit the Finarte website.
Like this post? Then why not read my chat with Founder and CEO of Northern, Ove Rogne.
All photography courtesy of Finarte.