Hanna Anonen: ”Composite materials offer exciting possibilities for sustainable design”
The rising Finnish design star states the importance of sustainability and adaptability in the sector.
11 Jun 2024

Anonen is a product and spatial designer, whose work centres around a vibrant use of colour, playful forms, and innovative use of materials. She’s won several prestigious awards, including the Young Designer of the Year award in her native Finland.

A few weeks ago, she participated at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), for the launch of Facades, a collection crafted from Durat’s eco-friendly composite material that is versatile in usage possibilities and can tastefully exhibit flowers, gather desktop essentials together, and elevate kitchen wooden spoons. The sleek granulated finish not only appeals to modern aesthetics but also stands for environmental responsibility by repurposing surplus materials — recycled plastics — from production.

— The launch combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design, focusing on sustainability and functionality. I’d say that it’s promising a unique and sophisticated addition to the design landscape, she explains. The opportunity to exhibit in New York came through a curated show by WantedDesign’s Launch Pad, a renowned design platform that recognises emerging talent. It was a great opportunity to connect with a broader audience, gain valuable feedback, and establish new collaborations.

How did you first come in contact with the composite material?

— During a project aimed at exploring sustainable alternatives to traditional resources. It’s been a challenge to balance the material’s unique properties with aesthetic and functional design elements. However, I definitely plan to continue working with composite materials, as they offer exciting possibilities for sustainable design. I aim to further explore their potential in creating durable and eco-friendly products.

Photography: Mikael Niemi

What other innovative materials are you curious about now?

— I am currently intrigued by biodegradable plastics and recycled materials. They hold great promise for reducing environmental impact and opening new avenues for sustainable design. For creators, including new materials in our work requires thorough research, experimentation, and a willingness to adapt our design processes. It’s about finding the right balance between innovation and functionality, says Anonen, continuing,

— For executives in the creative sectors, I would emphasise the importance of sustainability and adaptability. The industry is rapidly evolving, and staying ahead requires embracing new technologies and materials while maintaining a strong commitment to environmental responsibility in design.

And for you, what’s next?

— After the New York show, I am working on a collaborative project with a Finnish lighting company to create a new prototype for an upcoming exhibition during Helsinki Design Week in the fall.