Our story | Tapio Anttila
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The Nordic Way – Our story

Tapio Anttila & Arja Anttila

“You can sit alone on the sledge, but it takes two to move forward. A designer needs a sparring partner, a critic, and sometimes a nudge. That person is, Arja Anttila, wife of Tapio Anttila, who is head of sales and marketing of the furniture collection. ”

For more sense, add maddness

Don't be afraid of the word madness. It has nothing to do with insanity; it’s the driving force that drives us all from time to time, some more than others.
Firstly, let's take a look at the Finns best engineering knowledge and skills, such as our old school delegations with their poorly spoken English and our burning desire to always invent something new and be the fastest and best nation in the world. 
Let’s move on to the best quirks of the country. For instance, watching the sun that never sets, while listening to the joyful voices of the wife-carrying competition contestants from afar. All this is usually enjoyed whilst nestled on an ant’s nest of course.  Us Finns will then wrap up the day by sitting in a 150-degree sauna, longer than anyone else in the world. Ever.
Let the former be called reason and the latter madness. 
This combination describes the philosophy of a particular furniture designer entirely. Improvements come from having an open mind whilst pushing the boundaries.
The result of which, is the Tapio Anttila Collection.

Tapio Anttila pöytä

Shut out rationallity,
open emotion

Not all things can be solved with reason, otherwise we would just be solving equations.  
One must identify the moment when rationality is suppressed and emotions are released. But it’s just as important to start the process the other way round and look at the equation first.
The end result of the design is pretty good by following this method. Testament to that are our numerous international awards.
This has resulted in products designed to ease everyday problems.  To be long lasting and timeless and thus responsible.  Stylishness and beauty are a basic requirement for furniture as well as being cost effective. 
Our passion in everything is the desire to do something new and leave a positive imprint on Finnish design culture. 
It’s pointless doing the same as others.

Tapio Anttila
Limi-tuoli jäällä

“Sometimes the sun doesn’t rise for months and sometimes it doesn’t set for months. Try designing in that! ” 

What does this world really need?

You’ve heard the story of the designer who walks through the forest on an autumn day and gets an idea for a product from a curled pine needle.   
We don’t believe in arrogant designer myths where your head is in the clouds.
We’ll go to the forest, but we don’t necessarily get any ideas there. It’ll lift our spirits and we’ll get some fresh air for sure.  An idea begins when we think about Finnish everyday life and how to improve it. After that, we might go to the forest and get an insight into how to develop it, as well as the core material. 
If an idea is not useful in people’s lives, it’s worthless. The world is full of useless chairs, horrible sofas and footstools that fall apart in your hands. Nothing of that nature here please.
Our ancestors had a natural sense of practical product aesthetics and were forced to live side by side with nature, whether they like it or not. They didn’t necessarily love nature, they probably often hated it, but there was no other option. 
Certainly they often cursed the sting, force and severity of their surroundings. Their survival was down to saving materials and making functional, practical and long lasting objects.
Only now do we have the luxury of loving nature and making non-functional, disposable products from it because we can afford it. Or so we thought. But now is the time to take the next step and move on to practical convenience. 
And so you see, reason and madness bring the best of both worlds. What we thought was madness is now wisdom. And vice versa.

Wood for good

Wood is our material, and is for most Finns.
The following words all include the word ‘wood’. Puukko, puuteri, puulaaki, puuha, puustelli, kaipuu, toppuutella, loppuun asti, tykätä kuin hullu puurosta.
They probably won’t mean much to you, so we’ll just use another word to describe an individual’s relationship to wood and their environment instead.
Metsäsuhde. The Finnish relationship with the forest. Now that’s a little easier isn’t it.
There are an endless number of words in the Finnish vocabulary, which incorporate the word ‘wood’. We don’t know their historical origin, but we like to think of it in a way that wood is for good and that’s why it’s present in so many words.  It may be that the linguist has another explanation, but that’s the point at which we’ll ignore reason and let the madness in.


Grounded, like objects

The starting point for my ideas is the land. The land provides the material, the traditions, the people and the purpose. Also responsibility.  The land is Finland and we are part of the Nordic region. Here, we connect ourselves to that bigger tradition we call the Nordic Way.

Tarina Kuksa

“Responsibility is longevity, material and timelessness. It’s a natural characteristic in my products.”

Tapio Anttila

The Nordic Way. A natural way of thinking.

We like our approach to being Nordic.
It’s personal, sensible and has a hint of madness, as is the custom among the inhabitants of the North.  But it’s not necessarily like a four-letter Swedish company.
We take only what we need from nature’s large stock of raw materials and we use waste materials whenever possible.
Functionality is important. We listen to people’s stories, find a need and fill it with a solution. We make furniture for life, not for ourselves. 
Time is an important factor in design. We make objects for today. We learn from the past. We want the stories we bring to life to last lifetime. 
So not only do we bend wood, but also time. We do, after all, live in time.

One person´s interpretation may work for many, when it is properly thought out.

Highlights of the most important events in his career



3 new Good Design Awards for Tapio Anttila, now there are already 18 of them. Cheers for that!



Tapio Anttila Collection is heading for new European markets. Great start at the London 100% fair.



Alberto Alessi selects the Tapio’s Stadium chair as the most interesting product at Helsinki Furniture fair. Wow!



More glory and honour awarded with the most prestige design award in Finland, the Kaj Frank Design Prize.
First products available in the China market.



Next stop in Asia. Tapio Anttila and Limi chair will be awarded the international Top Designer Award 2017 in China.



Carefully selected products are brought together. The Tapio Anttila Collection has come to stay. Arja Anttila will become a company partner and head of marketing. Cooperation with Chinese manufacturers begins. Exciting times for a new family business.



A high level of innovation is recognized when the Day&Night sofa bed is awarded an international prize, the Iconic Awards: Interior Innovation 2016.



The Fukuoka Art Museum invites Tapio to hold a private exhibition in a traditional tea room. Tapio fits well into the Japanese design language.



Tapio's creative frenzy doesn't take hold. New ideas, designs and products are constantly being created. The idea of a furniture collection with the same formal language is begins to take shape.



Ciao Italy! The Riva 1920 collection shows Tapio's handprint..



Simply the best. Tapio Anttila is chosen as the furniture designer of the year in Finland.



Green Good Design Award goes into the prize cabinet for the first time.



The MoMa Design Store in New York is selling products designed by Tapio.



This got off to a good start. The ON sofa bed is chosen as the Furniture of the Year.



Now something new! Tapio Anttila establishes his own design office Tapio Anttila Design.



The first Good Design Award is given to the Haiku chair (and it won’t be the last time).



Two talented creators find each other when Tapio and Arja meet each other. Two years later, they get married. An eight-year career as a in-house-designer begins in a one of the biggest furniture company in Scandinavia.



An opportunity for a young designer. Expansion of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport with PES Architects.



The design student's first piece of furniture for production. Manufactured by Avarte.



A viable idea: what would it be like to study to be an interior designer? Only 22-year-old Tapio Anttila will get his first place to study at the University of Art and Design Helsinki.