Lincoln Kayiwa can distinguish between 50 shades of granite

Finnish soil rocks! In the hands of designers, granite is no longer bound by the limitations of architecture.

There is a brand in Finnish bedrock waiting to be exploited. It is called granite, a truly precious material. More than half of Finnish bedrock consists of different types of granite. “Finnish granite is characterised by its diversity and it is aesthetically interesting. The material has great potential,” says Lincoln Kayiwa, a Ugandan-born designer. “You must see it for yourself.”

Kayiwa is presenting granite in the showroom of Loimaan Kivi. There are fifty different types of granite. It is easy to understand why a designer has been captivated by the beauty of granite. This is a stone treasure: pitch-black Amadeus patterned in purple, the dazzlingly blue-green Ylämaa spectrolite. The range of colours and patterns is immense.

The treatments – polishing, heating, and cutting – can produce a vast range of breathtaking varieties. Polished stone glows like glass and its smoothness feels strangely soft. It is clear that the red and grey granite in staircases, building foundations and sculptures is only one way of using this material.

Kayiwa became interested in Finland in his home country Uganda as a student, when listening to a lecture on modern design given by a visiting professor.  A long slide presentation of the gems of design introduced Kayiwa to such Finnish celebrities as Eero Aarnio, Eliel and Eero Saarinen and Alvar Aalto.  When studying in London, Kayiwa applied for and received a student exchange place in Finland and, after taking a master’s degree in arts and design from Aalto University, decided to stay in the country. In Finland, he also got married and established a studio of his own.

 

He is currently studying the potential of granite, in cooperation with Loimaan Kivi. The partnership has already produced results in a wide range of different fields.  A designer does not give orders, but is engaged in a dialogue with the other party. The people processing the stone are thoroughly familiar with the material.

“They know how thin a piece of granite can be or how an edge should be rounded.”

Jewellery is the new trend in granite. Kayiwa shows drawings of a bracelet in which a silver or golden frame encloses a black granite ring.  He enjoys combining playful elements and minimalism, a popular style in Finland. The end result is elegant and shows an understanding of the characteristics of the materials. Kayiwa does not make mass products. The context, as well as the combination of the material, object and the content are important.

Marble is held in such a high regard everywhere that there is little interest in other natural stones.  Italians have been very good at marketing marble and the country has benefited from it in many ways. There are more than 70 companies in the natural stone sector in Finland.

In Kayiwa’s view, the Finnish stone industry should invite designers and partners from different parts of the world and give them a chance to work with granite companies.

There are already many things happening in the granite sector. The new look will be on display in the Helsinki Design Week exhibition in the autumn.

Text: Taina Saarinen
Photos: Robert Seger

Designer Lincoln Kayiwa, Master of Arts (Art and Design), received a grant of 12,000 euros from the Loimaa Enterprise Fund of the Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund towards preparing an exhibition of design products made of Finnish granite.
, Jenni Hietala.

Olli Mäki’s story charms director

“Artistic freedom is everything for a film-maker. Maybe it’s easier to ask for it once you have proved yourself to be trustworthy”, wonders film director Juho Kuosmanen.

His movie The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki won the prize of Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, and great success has been predicted for the movie and its director.

The overall effect of the publicity the movie has got thanks to Cannes will only become clear later, but Kuosmanen says that at least the partners in the movie have liked the attention. According to Kuosmanen, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki seems to be selling well overseas, and the director is also happy if other Finnish film-makers receive attention thanks to the film.

“When one film-maker from a country is noticed, it usually means that people start looking at the whole country.”

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An exceptional man, an exceptional movie

The idea for The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki came in 2011. Kuosmanen tried to write a couple of scripts, but they just did not seem to progress. Taulukauppiaat (The Painting Sellers), the movie Kuosmanen directed as his graduate work, had won best student movie award at Cannes earlier.  This meant that Kuosmanen’s first full-length feature film would also be shown at the festival, putting even more pressure on the work. The Kuosmanen came across the story of boxer Olli Mäki.

“I thought that through it I could address the same feelings, i.e. pressure and success, and what it means to different people.”

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki depicts Mäki’s preparations for his upcoming world title fight. At the same, he realises that he has fallen in love.

Kuosmanen was interested in how before the fight Mäki was built up to be a national hero, even though the boxer himself was expecting something less than heroic.

“Olli Mäki was a good boxer, but his kind nature was in conflict with the harshness of the sport.” As he was an exceptional boxer, it was necessary to make an exceptional boxing movie.

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Recreation from silent movies

Now Kuosmanen is working on two scripts, and over the winter he is shooting a silent movie for the Loud Silents festival. In store is a new version of Finland’s oldest film, Salaviinanpolttajat from 1907.

Kuosmanen has previous experience of making silent movies; in 2012 he made the movie Romu-Mattila ja Kaunis Nainen. It is being shown again in Paris, at the film archive in conjunction with the premiere of  The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki.

“The periods between films are long, as are the processes, especially when you want to be involved in everything. For this reason it is good to have some shorter projects in between, so that there is still that feeling of doing things together and a bit of playfulness. Silent movies are refreshing projects and they also bring with them ideas.”

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is in theatres from 2 September 2016.

Juho Kuosmanen has received grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation for artistic work and making his movies.
, Jenni Heikkinen.

Plastic beauty

The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is literally true in the work of Wiebke Pandikow. Pandikow turns recycled plastic bags into jewellery.

– I’ve always hated plastic. It’s horrible, it’s everywhere and it clogs up nature. Now I love plastic because it can be turned into any shape, she explains.

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Video: On Art and Science: Wiebke Pandikow’s Plastic Jewellery

Pandikow’s methods are as ordinary as her material: She creates art using a clothes iron.  When shaping leaves, she also uses a soldering iron. When worked with hot tools, plastic slowly changes shape, and everyday items turn into something totally new. Depending on the temperature, it may start resembling a sensitive, translucent plant or an old bone.

Plastic is durable. Even thin, lightweight pieces are sturdy and can be treated casually. Different kinds of bags turn into slightly different pieces.

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In recent years, Pandikow has been fascinated by the thin bags used for fruit. They can be made into a translucent material that reminds Pandikow of fungi.

– As our oceans are oversaturated with plastic, maybe animals will learn how to use it.

An American collector was the first customer for Pandikow’s plastic jewellery. Some of the pieces are works of art, while others come in handy as durable household items.  People are often puzzled by the unusual material.

– Many people see the pieces and ask themselves what an earth they are, says Pandikow with a laugh. A common guess is that they have been produced with a 3D printer. However, they are made entirely by hand. Making one piece can take up to 40 hours, and mastering new shapes requires a lot of practice. Pandikow has had her fair share of burns. However, as she says, a goldsmith is used to handling hot materials.

Raincoats made from plastic bags served as the inspiration for Pandikow’s “plastic bag jewellery”. About two years ago, she started trying out different uses for the bags and noticed that they can turn into lots of shapes. In her jewellery, Pandikow combines plastic with such materials as bones and pieces of wood. She once found inspiration in an old medallion that had belonged to her mother, which became part of a piece.

– I’m really happy that I could use the medallion for its original purpose. It keeps the memories alive, says Pandikow. Her other materials are also recycled items. Even though Pandikow gets through lots of plastic bags, she emphasises that she only uses bags that would be discarded anyway.

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Pandikow is inspired by nature, and she often finds material for her art when strolling along the beach.

– I come from a village of 20 people, so it’s no wonder that I use natural motifs, says Pandikow, who moved to Finland from Germany nine years ago.

She is inspired by nature, and her choice of material also encourages her to use natural motifs: Plastic is made by humans and symbolises the human impact on nature.

– It’s really sad if our actions lead to our environment becoming uglier and less diverse. It’s bad for us and for our children, but it’s not so bad for nature itself. Nature can put up with all this, but we can’t.

Pandikow’s web page

Facebook-page

Photos and video: Harri Tahvanainen

Photo of Past: Wiebke Pandikow

In 2015, designer Wiebke Pandikow received a grant of EUR 12,000 from the Finnish Cultural Foundation for her artistic work.
, Jenni Heikkinen.