Helsinki Design Museum presents work by Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi


A vivid orange Helsinki subway seat and an iconic timber sauna stool are among the pieces in this exhibition of work by design duo and couple Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi.

Various works by the late interior architect Antti Nurmesniemi and textile designer Vuokko Nurmesniemi are presented in this eponymous exhibition at Helsinki Design Museum, which charts the pair’s work from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Helsinki subway seat
An orange Helsinki subway seat is included in the exhibition. Photo is by Mari Kallionpää

From kitchen crockery to colourful textiles, the Nurmesniemis created a broad range of designs together and individually over their solo and shared careers before Antti’s death in 2003.

“The exhibition is important because there has never been a joint retrospective exhibition about this central designer couple in Finnish design history,” curator Susanna Aaltonen told Dezeen.

Vuokko Nurmesniemi clothing
Colourful garments by Vuokko also feature

Arranged across a gallery at Helsinki Design Museum, the show includes a striking orange subway seat that Antti created in 1982 in collaboration with industrial designer Börje Rajalin – a model that is still in use on Helsinki transportation today.

Visitors can also find an extensive cluster of garments featuring bright hues and geometric patterns, designed by Vuokko for her fashion label Vuokko Oy, which she founded in 1964.

Antti red coffee pot
Antti’s red Pehtoori coffee pot is well-known in Finland. Photo is by Mari Kallionpää

A red Pehtoori coffee pot from 1957 by Antti is also on display – described by Aaltonen as a product that is “often highlighted as Finland’s early industrial design item” – as well as elegant models of electricity pylons created with interior architect Jorma Valkama in 1997.

Also central to the exhibition are photographs of and furniture from Studio Home Nurmesniemi, the couple’s live-work home and atelier in Kulosaari, Helsinki, which was completed in 1975.

Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi lounge chairs
Lounge chairs by the couple are defined by black, white and red pinstripes

These pieces include signature wooden sauna stools and 1980s geometric lounge chairs designed by Antti and upholstered in Vuokko Oy pinstripe fabrics.

This furniture is displayed alongside archival imagery of the designers in their modernist house – a setting still used for Vyokko Oy photoshoots.

“All in all, the couple’s shared home and studio house is the finest example of the [their] lifestyle dedicated to design,” reflected Aaltonen.

“I hope that the exhibition will increase people’s understanding of Finnish cultural heritage and that people will also learn to cherish and preserve objects better, especially interiors.”

Antti pylon scale models
Artefacts on display vary from furniture to pylon scale models

Other shows at Helsinki Design Museum include a recent exhibition by design studio Formafantasma and furniture brand Artek and a temporary “insect hotel” installation that is currently on display outside the museum.

Previous retrospectives at the museum include one centred on the plastic furniture and chairs of Finnish designer Eero Aarino.

Helsinki Design Museum exhibition
The exhibition is held at Helsinki Design Museum

Antti + Vuokko Nurmesniemi is on display at Helsinki Design Museum from 28 October 2022 to 9 March 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

The photography is by Paavo Lehtonen unless otherwise stated. 


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