The Helsinki Design Museum presents work by Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi

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.

An orange subway seat in Helsinki is included in the exhibition. The photo is by Mari Kalionpää

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.

Clothing by Vuokko Nurmesniemi
Colorful garments from Vuokko are also included

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.

Anti red coffee pot
Antti’s red Pehtoori coffee pot is well known in Finland. The photo is by Mari Kalionpää

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.

Armchairs Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi
The couple’s lounge chairs feature black, white and red pinstripes

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.”

Anti-pylon scale models
The artifacts on display vary from furniture to pylon scale models

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.

Exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum
The exhibition takes place at the Helsinki Design Museum

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.

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