Master cabinetmaker Antrei Hartikainen
The Finnish Design Forum awarded Young Designer of the Year 2018 to the talented master cabinetmaker and designer Antrei Hartikainen from Outokumpu, Finland. Only born in 1991 Antrei is already known for his excellent woodwork, with his award-winning pieces including functional product and pure art works, with a craftsmanship that puts them on the list with the leading works of modern Nordic carpentry.
“I have worked extensively with wood design. My aim is to create products and unique pieces which answer to the imperatives of practicality, craftsmanship and the medium itself; a desire to reveal the myriad possibilities of wood provides an enduring impetus to my work.”
Born in the small city called Outokumpu in North Karelia, Finland, Antrei has since 2010 have been living and working in Fiskars village, which is located in Southern Finland.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a master cabinetmaker.
Since my youth, I have been very interested in doing things with my hands. My father had a kitchen/woodworking company where I was able to make small works for myself as a hobby and also being a little helper in all kind of simple tasks, and later on I worked there during summertime. That led me to vocational school into wood artisan studies. Basics of designing were also part of the education. There have start my path into the wood material and designing.
I have done wood artisan studies in vocational school, trainee periods in several woodworking companies, competing nationally and internationally in woodworking and latest 2013 finalizing the master cabinetmaker degree.
How does your average week look like?
My typical week is hard to describe because there is not so many similar kind of weeks. Usually my days consist of designing, prototyping, sculpting, developing my works in general, contacts, exhibition planning and all kind of other work related to designing and making.
If this wasn´t your profession, what else could you see yourself doing?
In my youth I was dreaming of becoming an architect. Anymore it wouldn't be my career choice. Probably I would be one way or another in a design related profession.
How has winning "Young Designer of the Year 2018" affected your career?
The biggest help have definitely come with the rising publicity, and standing out from thousands of other designers and makers. Works are getting recognized and networks can be built up bit easier.
How does your Finnish background influence your designs?
I grew up in a small city and for the last eight years have lived in an even smaller village, so for my whole life I have been surrounded by nature. I think in that way the safe environment, closeness to nature and surrounded by humble people have influenced my designs and me imperceptibly. I would say that it’s reflecting somehow trough the authentic materials, nature inspiration and certain kind of humbleness in my designs.
What comes first, the materials or the design idea?
It's depending totally what kind of works I’m creating. For more sculptural works it can go material ahead and then for furniture it’s the design that comes first.
Is sustainability a priority to you?
Sustainability is one important criteria when making the decision about working and living. It's coming quite naturally with my material choices and working style. I’m making small quantities with very high quality and long lasting decision with details and materials.
Also I’m sharing my studio / workshop with small hydroelectric plants so I’m using local energy and the most of my wood material is coming from the neighbour sawmill which is just 200 meters away.
What has been your favourite project up to date?
One of my favourite and also one of the latest projects have been BASTONE collection for Poiat Studio. Designing and developing of the cabinet and sideboard have been an interesting combination of materiality, fabrication, arts and crafts.
Tell us about your beautiful Y-installation.
Y- installation was an equation of temporality, time and provocative use of wood in the museum milieu. Installation was located temporarily in Seurasaari open air Museum in Helsinki, Finland. Y combines digital fabrication with handcraft, inspiring and revealing the possibilities of wood in modern construction. Y was designed and built up with a team of architects and woodworkers. Our team members were Emmi Keskisarja, Janne Teräsvirta, Tommi Alatalo, Heikki Paso and myself.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
I will start the year 2019 with my solo exhibition at Institut Finlandais in Paris. It will be open from January to April. In my home village there will be a big summer exhibition TEHDAS / FABRIK / FACTORY where I develop new sculptural lighting installation. Also, next year in the same village, Fiskars Art & Design Biennale is starting with the same team as in Y- installation (architects and fine woodworkers), where we will be creating a big wooden installation. Otherwise I will continue designing and making new pieces and participating in different kind of exhibitions all around the world.
Where is your happy place?
It’s a state of mind or environment where I have a chance to observe and wonder around all the amazing things that I’m surrounded by.
Where are your local hangouts?
One place is the local distillery and they have their own bar next to the small river, which is a nice and cosy place.
In summertime the hangouts are all over; the lakefront, villagers shared sauna, cafe's or the river shore.
To see more of Antrei´s work go to www.antreihartikainen.fi