This year, Koskisen Plywood industry was, once again, a visible participant in the Nollasarja products created by students at Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences. One of this year’s creations was the Seinäpöllö (Wallowl) wall hooks made out of KoskiDecor.
Nollasarja is a learning environment created by Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences, in which young design students are given the opportunity to develop their design ideas together with professionals from many fields. Nollasarja, developed in 2011, also provides students with the opportunity to achieve visibility for themselves and the products they have designed. The climax of the annual Nollasarja project is the Habitare design fair that takes place in the autumn, where the products developed by the students can be viewed by the public.
This year, several promising young designers took part in the fair. Their products covered a range of designs that included a basket for firewood, loudspeakers, jewellery and shelving. Two of the participants were Niko Laukkarinen and Henri Sallinen from Mikkeli, who designed a whole series of products around an owl theme. Wallowls is a series of products consisting of four owl wall hooks of different sizes and shapes. The products are made out of Koskisen’s KoskiDecor plywood, which is available in many colours.
“Koskisen Oy is one of the partners in Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences’ Nollasarja project, so that’s where we were introduced to Koskisen’s materials,” says Niko. “KoskiDecor was a good option because we wanted a high-quality glossy coating that would leave the wood grain visible,” adds Henri.
It turned out to be a good choice because the young designers say that KoskiDecor was easy to work with and that its coating did not come off when cut using a CNC machine. Niko and Henri would also consider using KoskiDecor in future because the product, manufactured from Finnish birch plywood, is really beautiful and high in quality. It can also be used for a variety of applications, for example in interior design objects and furniture.
The idea behind the Wallowl products originated in the simple need for a wall hook. Originally, Wallowls was just a single owl wall hook, but because the resulting product was so fun and received so much positive feedback in the initial stages, the students decided to create an entire owl product line.
“We were inspired by various owl species, of which we created graphic, playful versions,” says Niko.
In addition to a fun look, they wanted the owls to be named in a memorable and descriptive way. That is why the smallest owl was named Skidi (Kid), the blue roguish-looking owl was called Velmu (Rascal) and the calm observer was given the name Heppu (Dude). The largest owl is based on the Eurasian Eagle-Owl and was called Ukko (Old Man) due to its proud and imposing stature.
Although Nollasarja offers young design students an excellent launch pad, the product is not necessarily always polished enough to be produced commercially. The positive attention received by the product may, however, open up many doors in the future.
Niko’s and Henri’s Wallowl products were first revealed in September at Nollasarja’s stand at the Habitare fair, along with the other Nollasarja products. Already during the fair the owls created a positive buzz among visitors and many people asked about them after the fair was over. At the moment, there are plans to start production of a limited series of products. That is the extent of the young men’s plans at the moment.
“We are trying to find a larger manufacturer and distributor and finalise Wallowls’ structural solutions. We are expecting to implement the limited series in the near future and after that we will see what the future holds in store for us,” says Henri.
All in all, the young designers found the Wallowls project to be interesting and to have given them the tools for dealing with any challenges the future may bring. They wish to thank Koskisen for its co-operation and wish the entire team a great autumn.
In addition to the Wallowls project, the young designers are being kept busy, at the moment, for example, by preparing for their final project. That is why they do not have any design projects under way right now.
The future is also still shrouded in mystery. Niko and Henri are taking it one day at a time and enjoying to the full their remaining days as students. They believe that after graduation everything will sort itself out.
“We haven’t figured things out very far into the future. We may decide to continue studying or take some advanced courses. However, now we’re taking it one day at a time and trying to deal with the challenges of graduating,” the men agree, outlining their plans for the future.