Supported by the Estonian Design Centre and Enterprise Estonia, six small product design enterprises are participating in this year’s Habitare fair in Helsinki.

The aim is to better introduce Estonian original products and product designers in Finland and in Scandinavia generally. The strategy of the display this year is having all participating designers show their work on personal stands in the appropriate areas. The main reason for such a method of display and representation is to clearly emphasise each participant’s singularity and handwriting, which on a joint stand would inevitably get a bit lost, and also to spread the message of Estonian design more widely across the fair. As participating in the fair forms part of the enterprises’ marketing and sales activities, consistency is further enhanced by each enterprise’s own established sales strategy, which is considerably easier to communicate within specific product presentations.

Although the creative field of design seems more connected with enterprise, for various reasons our design has not yet taken root, much less spread its branches. One reason for this is certainly a lack of the necessary competence in business: we have focused on design, product development, exhibitions and related activities, and we do this well, but there is not enough time, resources and skills for sales and marketing. However, we do have a number of designers and their businesses that have managed to progress further: a fair requires products that are fully developed, ready for production and have clear identities. Participating in a fair offers an opportunity to make contacts and increase credibility.

Participants at the Habitare fair come from different fields, and all of them have extensive experience in the design world: Tõnis Vellama (Seos Valgustus OÜ) and Tarmo Luisk (2Pea OÜ) work with lightnings, Monika Järg (Tekstiil Ruumis OÜ) and Annike Laigo (Loomelabor OÜ) with interior textiles, Jaanus Orgusaar (Borealis OÜ) with furniture, and Raul Tiitus and Kaido Kivi (Ulaelu OÜ) with outdoor furniture.

Tõnis Vellama’s passion is creating lamps. Tõnis is an experienced product designer, and has also operated for years in prominent European design enterprises. Tõnis’s business Seos Valgustus OÜ seems to contain two trends. One is ready solutions for everyday lamps, which express functionalism and a highly singular and finely tuned sense of style.

His other trend is creating one-off solutions: special and thoroughly stylish solutions for demanding interiors. This requires good knowledge of different eras and an excellent perception of space, plus reliable cooperation experience.

Tõnis’s ‘stock-in-trade’ includes grand, but clear and sensitive chandeliers for interiors with very different characters and sizes. These solutions are always innovative. His new developments in chandeliers are also presented at Habitare. Tõnis’s work is always noticed when design awards are being distributed.

Tarmo Luisk is a ‘naturalborn designer’. He creates lamps, furniture and various objects of interior design. None of Tarmo’s works are mere products: they all contain approval or criticism and, according to their aim, humour or irony, everything in an intelligent key and relying on the artist’s position. However, for years Tarmo’s handwriting, approach and manner of operating have also addressed producers; his cooperation with them has been consistent and successful.

Every detail in Tarmo’s work is justified, each of them has a significant function, and the rational seems emotional and enchanting, leaving no-one indifferent.

Tarmo Luisk has mainly designed lamps, having a lot of experience cooperating with various enterprises. However, the best outlets for his ideas and imagination are his personal exhibitions and experiments. The results of his special projects are also presented at the fair. Tarmo’s work has been deservedly recognised with numerous awards!

Monika Järg’s passion is creating interior textiles, which she is displaying at the fair, together with her collections of carpets.

Monika’s work is characterised by Nordic cool and minimalist handwriting, and by the rhythm created by repeating a few details. In her textiles, mainly of large format, she mixes different unexpected materials (e.g. wood and concrete) with natural textile materials. The starting point is often a contrast found in nature or a landscape rhythm.

Monika experiments with various technologies, in a symbiosis of handicrafts and today’s production possibilities, on the basis of local production, and the ideas thus become functioning products.

Monika’s products are acclaimed and have been awarded both at home and abroad.

Annike Laigo’s enterprise Loomelabor OÜ is displaying handicraft carpets at the fair. These are contemporary but classical, aesthetically sustainable, with enduring quality, founded on traditions that are known in both Estonia and Scandinavia. In her carpets, Annike combines a touch of retro and modern notes and uses sustainable materials which have proved their worth over time. The carpets are woven on looms, using classical carpet-weaving methods and traditions. The backbone of the collection is formed by evergreen solutions, supplemented with original Mooki models. She uses classical natural hues, as well as joyful and bright colour combinations.

Annike Laigo is also known for her earlier innovative textile design solutions, having successfully displayed them at various  exhibitions and fairs for years in Europe; she has won several prestigious awards.

The starting point of Jaanus Orgusaar’s work is powerful geometry, which combined with his ideas and skill forms miraculous images. The human touch and dimension, however, make his work practical and enables it to be called design.

At the fair, Jaanus Orgusaar/Borealis OÜ present objects that at first glance seem to be artworks, but function as shelf systems. These products stand apart from all popular trends, offering practical solutions for different rooms.

It is no exaggeration to say that Jaanus Orgusaar’s ideas and products are world famous!

Raul Tiitus and Kaido Kivi are experienced interior designers. They initially developed furniture for outdoor use to respond to practical needs. In due course, they established their own business, Ulaelu OÜ, which would never have been born without design. Ulaelu produces outdoor furniture, primarily solutions for outdoor kitchens, based on light aluminium frames. The frames contain various modules, where people can choose among work surfaces, sinks and charcoal grills of various materials (stone, wood and plastic).

The outdoor furniture produced by Ulaelu is minimalistic, but remarkable and striking, and has attracted interest and cooperation partners at various fairs.