Helsinki Design Museum presents work by Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi

A bright orange Helsinki subway chair and an iconic wooden sauna stool are among the pieces in this exhibition featuring work by design duo and couple Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi.

Several 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 couple’s work from the 1950s to the 2000s.

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

From kitchenware to colorful textiles, the Nurmesniemis created a wide variety of designs together and individually during 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
Colorful garments from Vuokko also appear

Set in a gallery at the Helsinki Design Museum, the show features a striking orange subway chair Antti created in 1982 in collaboration with industrial designer Börje Rajalin – a model still used in Helsinki’s transport today.

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

Anti red coffee pot
The red Pehtoori coffee pot from Antti is a household name in Finland. Photo is by Mari Kallionpää

Also on display is a 1957 red Pehtoori coffee pot by Antti – described by Aaltonen as a product “often marked as Finland’s early industrial design item” – as well as elegant models of utility poles created in 1997 with interior designer Jorma Valkama.

Also at the center of the exhibition are photographs and furniture from Studio Home Nurmesniemi, the couple’s home-work home and studio in Helsinki’s Kulosaari, which was completed in 1975.

Antti and Vuokko Nurmesniemi armchairs
The pair’s lounge chairs are defined by black, white, and red pinstripes

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

This furniture is displayed alongside archival footage of the designers in their modernist home – a setting still used for Vyokko Oy photo shoots.

“All in all, the shared home and studio home of the couple is the best 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 better cherish and preserve objects, especially interiors.”

Anti pylon scale models
The exhibits range from furniture to pylon-scale models

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

Past retrospectives at the museum include an exhibit on Finnish designer Eero Aarino’s plastic furniture and chairs.

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

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

Photography is by Paavo Lehtonen unless otherwise noted.

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