A flip through your average lifestyle magazine will reveal just how strange and complicated so much of modern design is today. In many cases, you're left scratching your head wondering either what a particular objet is, or whether you'll be comfortable reading your latest copy of Wallpaper* in that chair.
With a long tradition of form following function, the Finns know better than anyone how to create pieces that are not only useful but also beautifully crafted and visually pleasing. It's an artisanal approach that's seen to best effect at Straightforward New Finnish Design.
One of the key events of the Meatpacking District Design '10 event (itself a satellite event of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair), Straightforward is an engaging look at modern Finnish design as interpreted here by over 50 Finnish designers and design companies through the exhibition and a pop-up store.
The theme is innovative solutions to everyday life. 'To be "straightforward" is to be honest, frank and open," explain curators Paula Bello and Teemu Oksanen. 'For the Finns, it is a state of mind and a way of life. In Finland, design has to make sense, be meaningful.'
The briefest scan of the products on display show how seriously the Finnish designers take this state of mind. Everything is tactile; the designs make sense; and more importantly, the function of each object is obvious.
Standout pieces include Klaus Aalto's Naulikko, a wall-mounted coat-rack that holds multiple coats; Yuka Takahashi's Moon, a beautiful set of dish and cup with a lid, that also doubles as a saucer; and Ilkka Suppanen's Canary, an elegant, energy efficient lamp.