Rasmus Palmgren is a young Finnish designer who seeks new perspectives for everyday objects. He is dedicated to his responsibility to impede overconsumption by designing long-lasting and sustainable products. His motivation comes from looking at everyday designs and thinking up new ways to improve them through simple and carefully-considered solutions. He was trained as a cabinetmaker at Malmstens Linköping University in Stockholm, and has been working for Nikari and Claesson Koivisto Rune. He is currently finishing his master’s degree in furniture design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.
From growing up in Finland to your education at Carl Malmstens University in Sweden and The Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, you have experience all over the Nordic countries. How do you see the future for Nordic design? Will it be more industrialised or more crafts-oriented?
So far on my journey, I would say that crafts will always be an important part of Nordic design. We need to think about production while designing, which today is quite connected with industries, but it is important to create solutions and constructions that are well adapted for production and reparability, which requires knowledge in craftsmanship. I emphasise sustainable collaborations but basically I see them playing more and more together in the future in order for design to become more long-lasting.
I would describe myself as a designer, but at the same time my crafts background is my greatest tool when designing.Rasmus Palmgren
In his time, Alvar Aalto was very good at translating the Finnish craft culture to the modern world without losing its relation to crafts. Is it still possible, in a highly industrialised world of production and materials, to keep a trace of the hand or the craft in products?
I absolutely believe it’s possible. Aalto worked and collaborated closely with cabinetmaker Otto Korhonen to find the right solutions, and I believe that good collaborations lead to well-balanced and thought-out results. But besides that, we have to listen to the materials and let their qualities be part of the design, and in that way also leave a trace of the craft.
What does it mean for a designer to have a crafts background, and do you think of yourself as a craftsperson or a designer?
I would describe myself as a designer, but at the same time my crafts background is my greatest tool when designing. My background in cabinetmaking has influenced my way of designing a lot, and it is a big part of my creative process. For example, concerning materials, logical thinking, construction, production, sustainability and reparability. My knowledge in cabinetmaking enables me to design the kinds of products I believe are important for today’s world.
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