DESIGN

Klaus Haapaneimi’s new Iittala prints show the developments of the printing industry

A conversation with the Finnish designer on how the new collection came to be — and what part technology played in the process.
By AYLIN FRANZON
November 24, 2023

Named after the Finnish word for harvest, Haapaneimi’s new collection Taika Sato for Iittala presents an abstract cornucopia of colours and shapes, feeding the eyes with an imaginative take on tableware.

— I wanted to reimagine fruits and berries by abstracting the idea of them, and not have them looking like fruits that you would find in the supermarket, he says. To make them feel more unique, I aimed to have the prints be tailored to each item, instead of having one that recurs throughout. I take interest in the dialogue between colour and form and the world that could be created through that.

Klaus Haapaneimi.

Tell us about the design process.

— I wanted to uplift the prints in this collection, which led me to take on designing a few vases and jars as well. Most prominently, the one that is in three layers. These designs were influenced by the old architectural tower structures of northern Europe, particularly Denmark and Germany, together with the step pyramids made by the Mayans. Much of my influence comes from the Memphis group and their unconventional approach to colour and shape.

The layers is a very effective way of displaying the print.

— The idea for those designs came as a result of the artworks. My thoughts were that I wanted to create these dramatic and detailed prints that wouldn’t have been possible to make just 10 years ago, and show the developments of the printing industry. I experimented with the layers to see how many I could have and its affect on the sharpness and colour of the print.

How has the increased sustainability consciousness that we see in the industry today applied to your work?

— It’s one of the most important aspects and something that consumers are really paying attention to. I don’t collaborate with companies that don’t work to be transparent, says Haapaniemi, continuing,

— And with my own company, we’re always aiming for a zero-waste goal. This includes attention paid towards factors such as transportation and production, and how they can be targeted to slow down the environmental impact.

What’s your view on technology in design?

— Technological advancements have definitely helped with the environmental consequences of processes such as printing. For instance, screen printing used to be a commonplace practice. The results are quite unique in their depth of colour but the toxins being released into nature as a result of that are highly damaging. Digitalisation has efficiently tackled that environmental strain.

On the topic of digital, what’s your view on applying AI to your design work?

— I have thought about it but because I want to do everything by myself and with my own two hands, it’s something that I feel could unnecessarily complicate things. AI allows for many options but it’s a fine line until there are too many and you lose yourself in the technique. That is not to say that I’ve seen people who really enjoy this as a tool. It’s complex and there’s always the good and the bad side of a coin.

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