Others see the ice, we see the road

Tapio Anttila

This is an open and confessional donkey bridge to the topic, which tells something about the point of view or perspective, how differently we perceive things. You probably still don't understand what it's all about and that's why I recommend reading more.

WARNING: This story contains product placement.


"I was once at an international furniture industry seminar in Italy, and during a coffee break a local colleague told that he had been to Finland during the winter and was driving a car along an ice road plowed on the ice of a lake. Others couldn't believe their ears. After all, the car weighs a lot and the ice can't handle that and so on. At this point, I intervened and told how as a child I used to drive a car on the sea ice with my father, stop at a suitable spot, drill a hole in the ice and start fishing from that hole. So we were ice-fishing through the crack in the car door, sitting in a warm and leather-scented Toyota. If the first story caused disbelief, you can believe that this second one caused that even more."

What is obvious to us is often strange to others. When water freezes, ice forms on the surface, everyone knows that. But it is also clear to us Finns that when enough ice forms, a road will be created along which you can scurry to the other side of the lake to take care of things that in the summer time are taken care of by boat. Where others see the ice, we see the road. Putting culture-related things into a functional form and presenting them to others in the form of ideas and objects is almost the best thing a furniture designer can do. A concrete example of this are the sofa beds I have designed.


"Others see a sofa, I see two separate beds"

"This happened a few years ago at Habitare. An international group of journalists had been invited there and they had been given the task of choosing the best products of the fair. Then it happened that my Day&Night sofa was chosen as the best sofa. The awarded products were presented with their arguments on the main stage and a British interior journalist came to bring us a certificate of honor accompanied by congratulations. I had been talking to him for quite some time until I realized that he had no idea about the sleeping qualities of the sofa. I revealed to him that it was a sofa bed and we demoed it by raising the upper part of the bed as a bed next to the lower one. We also opened the back cushions to reveal a complete set of bedding for two. After recovering from the shock, he spontaneously exclaimed in his inherited British accent: "Wow, I can't believe this, that's even better!"

One of the most important goals for my sofa beds is that they don't look like sofa beds. Based on the previous story, I have a feeling that I have succeeded in that.

As a finale, one more remaining nobleman of donkey bridges. Starting to design new and never-before-seen things is like going into a hole in the ice. First you think on the edge in your cold, do you even dare and will anything come of this. Then, encouraged, you jump headfirst into the dark and unknown. When rising from the hole, the mind is overcome by calmness and clarity from the decision made.

Nothing new is born by itself and especially not alone. That's why I have a team around me that does everything to make things successful. I follow the instruction: "Never go into the hole in the ice alone".

- Tapio


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