Wood can be made into anything: a lamp, furniture, garden furniture, jewellery, utensils and even clothing! In a joint project of Koskisen and the Mikkeli and Kymenlaakso universities of applied sciences, students of design came up with dozens of new design ideas for wood.
As part of the project, called “Nollasarja” (Proto Series), organised now for the second time at the schools, design students were given the task of designing a mass-tailored wood product suitable for series production.
The inventive and fun product ideas devised by the 36 students were presented in early January at an event organised by Koskisen. At the event every budding designer was given feedback on their work from a panel made up of experts from Koskisen and the universities.
The wood professionals judging the work on behalf of Koskisen were product managers Riikka Kirvesniemi and Tomi Kivistö, as well as Development Director Kari Koskinen, who saw great potential in many of the designs.
- It’s great to have the chance to see the ideas of young designers and at the same time to create connections to the design world. This project gives us direct contact with future designers and allows us to present our wide product range to them. One of the most important starting points was the manufacturability of the products. Many of the young designers’ ideas were based on form-pressing; they might even be feasible as other solutions too, Koskinen speculates.
The purpose of Nollasarja is to bring future designers and the products they have designed into the spotlight. For the schools, it is an elective course that offers students a unique learning environment.
Since the project lies in the middle ground between learning institutions and a commercial operator, the ideas can be new and out of the ordinary. Indeed, quite an interesting and creative repertory of solutions was displayed at Koskisen. Various plywoods were most often used for furniture design, but they were also used, for example, as a room divider, as a sauna seat material, in blinds, as a storage system, in a watch, in jewellery, in clothing accessories, in a skate ramp, and in children’s yard furniture and play sets.
- After this first round of presentations the students will further develop three of the products chosen by the panel. At the next meeting, one of the three ideas will be chosen and the students will bring the product to completion. The goal is for the students to prepare small series of their products suited for the purpose, which will be sold via select channels, says Seppo Koponen, a Lecturer at Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences.
Students who have participated in the Nollasarja course will also achieve visibility for their products at next autumn’s Habitare Fair. The joint exhibition of Koskisen and Nollasarja will compile all ideas that are eligible for production.
A suitable manufacturer will be sought jointly for the ideas. Miklas Suokas, a student at Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences, felt that the Nollasarja project was challenging and that the course was interesting. Miklas’s ideas were praised and he was pleased with the development suggestions he received and believed that they provided help in further honing the product.
- My measuring tape lampshade possibly has the most potential as a commercial product, he estimates.