DIY Helsinki

Finnish design is something of a paradox. While the nation celebrates good design and is home to the distinguished University of Art and Design Helsinki, there just aren’t many manufacturers hiring recent graduates in-house. And those companies working with freelancers often recruit big names from abroad—Konstantin Grcic has worked for Iittala, and Antonio Citterio for Hackman—in hopes of capturing a bigger market for their products. What’s a kid with ideas and talent to do? Ever since Snowcrash, founded by Timo Salli and Ilkka Suppanen, first headed to Milan in 1997 to promote themselves independently, Finnish designers have been taking matters into their own hands—a trend that was full-blown in shops and exhibitions throughout Helsinki this summer. Following are five groups that are producing and marketing their own designs.

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