Dwell 24: Laura Itkonen



Creative restlessness is the special ingredient in Finnish designer Laura Itkonen’s constantly changing collection of porcelain containers‚ tiles‚ tableware‚ and more.

Itkonen's Marquis ceramic mural <span style=with dark blue glazing and metallic copper decoration.“>

Itkonen, 37, mixes contrasting materials‚ techniques‚ textures‚ and colors in bold combinations. From metallic surfaces on soft ceramics to rough chunks of red clay on delicate white porcelain‚ the surprises keep coming.

“Being the maker and the designer is the source of my inspiration and the force that keeps pushing me forward.” 

Rather than steer toward large-scale production‚ she embraces the beauty and imperfection she finds in one-of-a-kind pieces sculpted by hand. “I work in the space between art and design‚” she says.

Another work from Itkonen's sculptural container series.

Another work from Itkonen’s sculptural container series.

Photo courtesy of Laura Itkonen

Itkonen received her master’s degree from the School of Arts‚ Design and Architecture at Aalto University and has run her studio in Helsinki since 2016.

Read about why Itkonen treasures an object her  grandparents received as a wedding gift, along with her other responses to our Q&A, below.

Hometown: Helsinki, Finland

Describe what you make in 140 characters. The focus of my production is on visually detailed and architectural ceramics that are seen as collectible, sculptural, and handmade objects.

What are some of the last things you designed? It was one of my new products—the Boni and Nashi vases—and of course, I am constantly working on the sculptural container series, adding new elements and looks. At the moment, I’m also working with a new wall piece.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? Not really. I work with different kinds of projects, from product design to visual design and photography, so my days can be very different. Although, any day starts with cup of freshly ground coffee.

How do you procrastinate? Well, most likely I pet my dog who is quite often with me at the studio.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? At the moment, I´d be quite interested in redesigning carpets. I´d like to learn more about opportunities in the field and experiment with using bold colors or different surfaces.

Itkonen's Marquis ceramic mural <span style=with dark blue glazing and metallic copper decoration.“>

Itkonen’s Marquis ceramic mural with dark blue glazing and metallic copper decoration.

Photo courtesy of Laura Itkonen

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, or in both)? In design, my all time favorite is the late Finnish ceramic artist Rut Bryk, who was a master with sculptural wall pieces. Also, the late Finnish ceramic artist Birger Kaipiainen is one of my heroes as he boldly used colors. 

What skill would you most like to learn? I would like to be a master glassblower. 

What is your most treasured possession? Really old tableware by Arabia, which my grandparents received as a wedding gift. 

What’s your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Finnish design was very common within every home in our country up until the late 90s. Design was everywhere in my childhood home: we ate on plates by Arabia and drank from Iittala glasses; our furniture was made by Muurame and Asko; we cut paper with Fiskars´s classic orange scissors. 

What contemporary design trend do you despise? Disposable design 

Are you left-handed or right-handed? Right

Finish this statement: All design should…be of good quality in every aspect.

I sketch with a…computer.

I work best with…music.

I do my best work…first thing in the morning.

My studio is…a hive of productive clutter.

Instagram is…a promotional tool.

A work from Itkonen's Sculptural Containers series.

A work from Itkonen’s Sculptural Containers series.

Photo courtesy of Laura Itkonen

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