Helsinki Design Awards proudly presenting the shortlist of the Young Talent of the Year

In the new series of Helsinki Design Weekly, we meet the finalists of Helsinki Design Awards. The first part of the series introduces the shortlist of the Young Talent of the Year: Studio Kaksikko, Maria Korkeila and Matti Liimatainen.

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In the lead up to Helsinki Design Week we spoke with Kaksikko, who shared with us their thoughts on design, current collaborations, upcoming plans and dreams for the future.

Most recently Kaksikko have been collaborating with Finnish companies, one of which is Nikari. Furthermore, they have been working closely with two larger companies in Denmark, with whom they have been planning long-term collaborations, and those products will be available in the next few months. 

Additionally, outside of working with various design companies,  Kaksikko aims to set up a community space where they can work together with other designers, including Salla’s sister Reeta Ek. In order to gain more visibility for their work, this community space would be a place where  people can visit, including tourists, design enthusiasts and potential clients, who would then have the opportunity to purchase a product directly from Kaksikko. 

In relation to their future plans, Kaksikko dreams of one day building this collaborative workspace into a bigger design community bringing forth the Finnish design. They wish to create a place where people can come and meet designers working with different materials and see the products being made, but also to take part in courses and different kinds of events.

Furthermore, Kaksikko also shared some thoughts with us around this year’s Helsinki Design Week theme “trust”. Expressing that in the context of design trust from a consumer perspective really relates to issues such as sustainability, the person who actually produces the end product and the place where the item is being built. Moreover, Kaksikko was really pleased that this level of trust between the designers and the consumers is taking place, because as people who make things, Kaksikko understand how much time and work it takes to produce an end product. 


Maria Korkeila has gathered plenty of international experience and recognition from, for example, the prestigious Hyères competition in France. Korkeila has high hopes regarding the people with whom she’d like to work in the future. She thinks connections are best created through an organic process, not by calculation, and that new projects bring along opportunities. However, the most important thing is to get to realize one’s ideas with good people. 

Korkeila is inspired by music, among other things. She heard stories about Prodigy: how they bought some R-Collection clothes and wore them at the MTV Music Awards. This is how the rave culture and Prodigy ended up in Korkeila’s R-Collection research. Maria Korkeila and R-Collection’s collaboration was presented at Pitti Uomo in Italy in January.

Korkeila says she’s a men’s clothing designer, although she thinks we shouldn’t divide the field binarily anymore. She believes that clothing design can have a significant role in addressing the gender question. Maria Korkeila wants to challenge the ingrained routes of the field and lead it into a more humane direction. This is where Helsinki Design Week’s theme for this year, Trust, comes to play: trust in other people leads to a more sustainable way of working together. 


Matti Liimatainen’s Self-Assembly is a clothing brand that creates building kits for outfits. A new kind of seam structure was created when Liimatainen was making the prototypes of his clothing collection. He compares Self-Assembly to Ikea and Lego. He thought his method of assembly was interesting and pleasant and that perhaps other people would enjoy it, too.

Liimatainen is soon to have an exhibition in Berlin, and in January, he’ll pursue a large project in Tasmania. His dream for the brand is to completely automate the design and production process. Liimatainen is also working on his doctoral thesis on the subject. He seeks inspiration in the geometries of nature, and approaches design mathematically. 

Helsinki Design Week’s theme for this year, Trust, means a great deal to Liimatainen. He often needs to spend a long time trying to figure out a product’s origin. Designers can do this on behalf of the client, and the client can trust the designer. Liimatainen strives for the same regarding his own work. He appreciates the purity and beauty of Finnish design and the fact that everything is built on our design tradition.