“We have 3520 designs”

“It would be a shame if we didn’t search through the gems.” 

Welcome to Marimekko, home to colorful printed fabrics and so much more! Helsinki Design Week just came to an end and I’ve been closely following what’s been going on (like a hawk; absolutely love Finnish design!) and it brought back some good memories!

Last year I was lucky enough to visit the design week ánd wander around the Marimekko Factory. An enormous space filled with Finnish perfectionists (they’re like regular perfectionists times ten…), making sure every print is perfect and every design is fresh. Craftsmanship definitely was the buzz word.


We talked to two designers while visiting: Sami and Minna. Both incredibly kind and incredibly Scandinavian with black and white outfits and printed shirts by Marimekko.

Marimekko would never do flower prints. too many designers did flowers back then; it would be boring. But back in the 60’s designer Maija Isola wanted to show the founder he was wrong. So she worked on a flower pattern; a new creative design. And she succeeded: the prints made Marimekko instantly famous. Since then creativity is Marimekko’s core value.

So the jump from fabric to ceramics wasn’t a big stretch for the Marimekko factory.

Minna: “We were sitting around the table and noticed we had beautiful tablecloths, but were missing designs to complete the table setting. The idea of a ceramic collection was born. Sami jumped up and grabbed this challenge with both hands. He designed some amazing designs. This process took 6 months, which is exceptionally fast. Normally it takes 16 months from sketch to product.

Sami: “I draw all the time and always carry notebooks with me. Whenever I think of something, I scribble it down. No one understands the first sketches I make for a collection, but once I perfect them using the computer they come to life.

Almost every year there’s a new shape or new pattern. So it’s evolving. We don’t want to design something that is not needed, we want to make something for decades. So we have a functional design strategy. And it is not about the item itself or the print but about the combination. That is the perfect item.

Couldn’t agree more. Until we meet again Marimekko!

And whenever in Helsinki: do visit the outlet stores!