A bright orange Helsinki subway seat and an iconic wooden sauna stool are among the pieces in this exhibition featuring work by design duo Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi.
Various works by the late interior designer Antti Nurmesniemi and textile designer Vuokko Nurmesniemi are presented in this eponymous exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum, which charts the couple’s work from the 1950s to the 2000s.
From kitchenware to colorful textiles, the Nurmesniemis created a wide range of designs together and individually over the course of their solo and collaborative careers prior to Antti’s death in 2003.
“The exhibition is important because there has never been a joint retrospective on this pivotal designer couple in Finnish design history,” curator Susanna Aaltonen told Dezeen.
The exhibition, spread across a gallery at the Helsinki Design Museum, includes a striking orange subway seat that Antti designed in collaboration with industrial designer Börje Rajalin in 1982 – a model still used in Helsinki’s transport system today.
Visitors can also find a wide range of brightly colored and geometric patterned garments designed by Vuokko for her fashion label, Vuokko Oy, established in 1964.
A red Pehtoori coffee pot by Antti from 1957 is also on display – described by Aaltonen as a product “often highlighted as Finland’s early industrial design object” – as well as elegant models of power poles designed in 1997 with interior designer Jorma Valkama .
The exhibition also focuses on photographs and furniture from Studio Home Nurmesniemi, the couple’s home, workhouse and studio in Kulosaari, Helsinki, completed in 1975.
These pieces include signature wooden sauna stools and 1980s geometric lounge chairs designed by Antti and upholstered in pinstriped fabrics by Vuokko Oy.
This furniture is displayed alongside archival images of the designers in their modernist home – a backdrop still used for Vyokko Oy photo shoots.
“All in all, the couple’s shared home and studio is the best example of the [their] Lifestyle dedicated to design,” says Aaltonen.
“I hope that the exhibition will increase people’s understanding of Finnish cultural heritage and that people will also learn to better appreciate and preserve objects, especially interiors.”
Other exhibitions at the Helsinki Design Museum include a current exhibition by design studio Formafantasma and furniture brand Artek, and a temporary ‘insect hotel’ installation currently on view outside the museum.
Previous retrospectives at the museum include one focusing on Finnish designer Eero Aarino’s plastic furniture and chairs.
Antti + Vuokko Nurmesniemi is on view at the Helsinki Design Museum from October 28, 2022 to March 9, 2023. See the Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.
Photography is by Paavo Lehtonen unless otherwise noted.