Finnish design has always been world famous. Since I was a student I had been a big fan of Alvar Aalto. I’ve flown home on Finnair and stopped over in Helsinki. The landscape, climate and the people are tough. They build quality things to last many lifetimes and not for throwing away. Therefore their ethos has always been ethical.
At the Finnish Ambassador’s residence last night, I was given a glimpse into the future and how kitchens would ideally be made.
A journey back in time
It was wonderful to escape the appalling weather outside. Standing outside on the gravel drive, you would feel like Jane Eyre. The residence itself was of remarkable architectural merit and they could not have chosen a better venue to showcase lifestyle sustainability issues. Guests were well-dressed and it was like going back to a 1950s party, to a time of classic elegance, arches framed with columns and topped with Corinthian capitals, acanthus leaf cornicing, panelled walls with rich motifs, triptychs, pelmets, egg and dart dado rails, modern figurative art in gilt frames and midcentury modern furniture, piano and cello music, crystal chandeliers, a Steinway Grand in the bay window.
Jussi Aine and Tony Lonnqvist
Following a talk by CEO Jussi Aine*, project manager Tony Lonnqvist* (who incidentally reminded me of Leonardo di Caprio), said:
“Puustelli are the largest and longest established kitchen brand in Finland and our goal is to build upon the success of Scandinavian design in the UK and Ireland with a network of reputable retailers offering our Miinus kitchen range to service and satisfy a growing market of responsible buyers seeking quality Eco products”.
Puustelli’s Miiinus Kitchen Range will fall in the mid range price sector (four times that of a melamine kitchen, he said) and they expect to grow the network of Miinus retailers to 5 to 7 showrooms in 2016. There are many small showrooms in Finland, one in Stockholm, one in Minnesota and one in Leeds, said Lonnqvist. “Miinus kitchens have no chipboard or MDF. We have re-designed the carcass and it is skeletal in construction. It is affordable luxury in modular form, so in 2 to 3 days, an entire kichen can be fitted. It is strong and hardwearing, and there is a 30 year guarantee.” He also made a joke that if a client gets rid of the kitchen after 10 years, there is still 20 years left on the guarantee when he Ebays it.
was the third speaker, who said he had not given a speech since his wedding. He runs Four Seasons Design in Leeds which showcases Miinus Kitchen in the UK. “The population of Finland is just bigger than London’s, yet the country is 50% bigger than the UK,” he said. Developers should consider Miinus in order to tick the green box.
Food and refreshments
I experienced the famous Finnish hospitality. Canapes were top quality Scandinavian, we had venison, asparagus mousse, salmon and dill amongst. Even the macaroons were in a chic Paris grey colour!
Jonathan and Robert Roozeman (the 51 year old father of 17 year old Jonatha)n provided the music, all Chopin. They played three pieces. No 65 Cello Sonata, 3rd movt, Nocturne in E flat major, Grand Duo.
What’s in the goody bag
In a very stylish hessian goody bag, there is an eco cookbook, a butter knife, a brochure and two social network cards. A very thoughtful and practical gift. I will use the butter knife straightaway with my breakfast.
*End note: I did not take any photos during the talks by both the CEO and the project manager as I thought it wold be a bit rude since there was not a single iPhone in sight or anybody clicking away. Plus it was a consulate building. When I asked permission, the organisers kindly allowed me to take photos during the drinks and canapes session, hence there just a few photos on this blog.