March 2012

March brought spring to Paloni

The forecast is promising more snow in Helsinki next week, but at least we have spring at Paloni! And anyways. We must keep the faith. The summer is closer day by day.

This month we’ve had so many cool arrivals that it’s really hard just to pick a few favorites.

The POGOSTICK failure spring/summer collection with its fresh and modern looks created with leftover materials – to start with – is nothing but favorites. The journalist Hannamari Hoikkala wore the Open Sleeve Shirt in black/beige (79€ at Paloni) on the TV program Puoli seitsemän yesterday. Also available in a juicy orange/purple color combo. And by the way, she combined it stylishly with the Vietto Print Skirt (86€ at Paloni) in recycled/leftover materials and a statement necklace by Jennifer Loiselle (91€ at Paloni) – we like! (Btw, POGO’s Open sleeve shirt also looks fabulous worn on the top of another long-sleeved top, so you don’t have to wait for the warm summer days to wear this.)

The journalist Hannamari Hoikkala wearing POGOSTICK failure, Vietto and Jennifer Loiselle - all from Paloni.

The journalist Hannamari Hoikkala wearing POGOSTICK failure, Vietto and Jennifer Loiselle - all from Paloni.

Angel Iglesias, one of our rare male designers, is Paloni’s reliable source of chic and classic party dresses, but this time he surprised with something a bit braver. The Paula dress (176€ at Paloni, available in XS-XL) with two layers: one in a sleek striped jersey and one in sheer black, is a brilliant combination of feminine and modern, or of class and attitude. Here’s my suggestion for the summer’s graduates or wedding guests who look for something a bit more edgy to wear at the approaching parties. Another huge plus of this dress is that it’s not too festive, so it goes just as well for a day in the city with friends. When the lovely Molla Mills tried the dress on in Paloni… Well, there was just nothing to add (except for Molla to say that she’ll take it)!

Angel Iglesias' Paula dress on catwalk and on Molla Mills
Angel Iglesias' Paula dress on catwalk and on Molla Mills.
In April we will continue having more summerly pieces straight from our designers’ studios, like those of i.heart.finkSimone’s RoseLinda SipiläMonica Marescalchi and Kiss kiss.

Designer of the Month: Sarita Koivukoski

Sarita Koivukoski


How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Once a ceramic artist, always a ceramic artist.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Unique, durable, usable, colorful and sustainable (in every stage of making).

Why handmade / locally produced?
Main reason is because I have to make everything myself. In the beginning and still I had tremendous urge to do beauty as I see it. Who else could do my vision?

Ceramics is huge area of expertise where you can always learn new things. I also think we independent  artists are the ones making tomorrow’s collectibles.

How are Sarita Koivukoski ceramics ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
It means a lot. Personally I am very ecological so of course I want to be that in my work as well. In my work nothing goes to waste. Clay can be recycled; glaze can be collected and used again as recycled glaze. (By the way the color of recycled glaze is usually a beautiful dark green.) I have made ceramic plates for 15 years now, and my goal has always been that every piece coming out from the kiln is good quality work. I also want to be economical – that’s also ecological.

Sarita Koivukoski Ruutu plates

Sarita's Ruutu plates in a variety of beautiful colors, patterns and sizes are available at Paloni. The durable plates
are suitable for everyday use and are oven, microwave and dishwasher proof. Ruutu sizes and prices: Big Ruutu:
37€, Deep Ruutu: 32€, Low Ruutu: 28€, Long Ruutu: 25€, Small Ruutu: 17€.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Colors, nature, art.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
Great! The shop is something different in Helsinki. There is always something new going on. Minna has good energy and that shows in her shop. Good work!

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep going, don´t give up and believe in yourself.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Keep going, don´t give up and believe in yourself.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
There have been many. Basically my studio is a highlight for me every single day. It exists, it is working and a bunch of nice people work there with me.

Something to remember was a week hosted by a Korean family of whom hardly anyone spoke English. It was a mind opening experience, but nice too.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
to be open to new ideas and not to hesitate to embrace them.

About art, Aino Louhi and a certain cabinet

Paloni’s key idea is to bring out and make available the works of independently working creative talents. In addition to the broad designer cooperation we do, we’ve also organized free-entry music gigs called Paloni LIVE once a month, presenting interesting indie musicians who we think deserve more listeners to their music. (You are very warmly welcome to the next Paloni LIVE with Reena Darlin on April 24th starting from 7pm!)

We’ve also done artist cooperation. The Paraguayan-born, Barcelona-based cross-over artist Jorge Samaniego Bonnin is the man behind many characteristic details in the Paloni concept store. His role was crucial in planning and realizing the creative atmosphere of the space.

Paloni Jorge Samaniego Bonnin

Paloni's signed & original furniture by Jorge Samaniego Bonnin from very old pieces of wood that each 
have a story behind - is this ready-made art, found art, trash or simply a piece of furniture?

I find blurring the boundaries of art interesting. Is the huge vine on our display window with colorful dinosaurs’ eggs (as my daughter named them) a piece of art or just a decorative item? How about the Annielina jewelry Paloni sells, each piece drawn by the artist Elina Honkanen with a pencil – can a necklace be a piece of wearable art?

I wanted to take this project of defying the boundaries of art even further – and at the same time, Paloni’s artist cooperation deserved continuity. So, I challenged the multi-talented artist / illustrator Aino Louhi with a beautiful antique cabinet. Will it turn out as a piece of art, as a usable cabinet for storing things or as something in between in Aino’s creative makeover, remains to be seen when the exciting project is finished and the outcome will be revealed at Kierrätystehdas 2012 on May 5th. Whatever the outcome will be called, will surely be a unique item and will be for sale at Paloni’s stand at Kierrätystehdas – or after the event at our concept store at Eerikinkatu 7.

/ Minna

And how is Aino feeling about the challenge? Quite challenged, but also excited – here are her thoughts as the project has just started:

Painting goes 3-D

-Starting point: To paint a three-dimensional color still life on a cabinet that has to remain its value as a furniture

Aino Louhi Kaappi

"The starting point"
When Minna Särelä asked me to paint a big cabinet for her shop Paloni, I immediately thought to myself: Yes! And probably said it out loud as well. Why was it so clear to me that I want to do this project?

The idea of painting something else than ”just a canvas” has always fascinated me. I painted my first wall painting as a teenager: a starry night sky in my own bedroom. Last year I made a new space odyssey for a children’s club room in the Congregation of Tampere. Painting walls for just a three-weeks exhibition in Tilanne-Gallery last spring was also fun and made the installation feel more real to me.

I once had an idea to make artwork on furniture too. I even have a lousy little ”piano” table at my studio – but it never came alive. Last fall I was thrilled to do some decoration at home by painting old drawers with different colored glossy paints. Finding the perfect tones that matched the living room carpet and chairs – oh the joy!

At the moment the cabinet made of curly birch is standing at my tiny studio and I’ve got questions of why would anybody want to cover that beautiful, ornament-like surface with paint. I feel quite challenged!

/ Aino Louhi

Lisbon’s hidden indie design gems


I’m often asked how I find all the designers and products for Paloni. The answer is: I’m trying to look from places that are not the most probable ones, and thus to find the hidden talents that are not the most probable choices. It is never-ending detective work.

So, I have just arrived home from Lisbon. I figured that there’s such heritage of both textile industry and ceramics in the country that there must be young people doing interesting things there even if they seemed hard to find through the internet. And there was. But they were as hard to find from the historical maze of the city.

Lisbon is a contradictory place. Based on the street art that surrounds you everywhere you go, you could expect a booming and living culture led by the young. But the high street locations are all reserved for international brands, tacky souvenir shops and countless cafes and tiny restaurants offering custard tarts and grilled sardines. For finding those interesting people molding the new Lisbon, you really need to go through some trouble and climb a stair or a hundred. But luckily I had some patience and a pair of good shoes.

Even my Lonely Planet was totally unaware that there’s an island of small indie boutiques right in the middle of the Campo de Santa Clara flee market area in the Alfama district, but since the biggest flee market of the city is something I don’t dream of missing, I was also able to find these tiny lovelies. After going through all the boutiques and asking the personnel many stupid questions I congratulated myself for finding two interesting shops and designers.

My Crafty Closet is a colorful little shop led by the designer Isabel Tomas who also runs her own brand Amores de to’quio of playful fashion and accessories for both adults and children. The shop also carries a selection of hand-picked vintage finds. Right next to it, there was a peacefully decorated ceramics shop called Amasso. Even though I highly appreciate the Portuguese ceramic tile tradition, I was very happy to finally see something fresh and different made with this material. The ceramic designer Sara Guerreiro was sitting behind the counter. Her discreet and delicate style makes you want to sense the items both with your eyes and your hands.

Amasso in Lisbon

Left: Sara Guerreiro's delicate porcelain dishes.
Right: the Amasso shop right in the middle of the Campo de Santa Clara flee market area.

When walking on Alfama’s narrow streets, I also found another nice place that was not mentioned in our guide books: Atelier Porta 16. It’s a tiny shop selling products from five craftswomen / artists. The original artwork, toy muffins, ceramic earrings, unique obi belts and hand-painted furniture are all spreading good moods with their bright and happy colors and patterns.

Atelier Porta 16 

All in all, I found the Alfama district my favorite one in Lisbon. Its narrow, asymmetrically running streets, red-roofed old buildings and small shops and restaurants run by the locals give it a genuinely inimitable atmosphere. And the moment I really started to feel like at home there was when the lady of the nearest cafe (who didn’t speak one word of English) started preparing my coffee the moment she first saw me in the morning, without me having to say anything.

Although the Chiado district was advertised to us as the most interesting design area, it didn’t have so much to offer to someone who was looking for the still upcoming, emerging and new talents who were producing locally – with one huge exception! Visiting the atelier of Storytailors and getting to meet the designers Luís Sanches and João Branco was one of the highlights of my trip. They design exceptional atelier clothing and a ready-to-wear collection called Narkë – both realized with original ideas and the most careful attention to detail, and everything is being done in their own atelier right next to their concept store.


Left: the detailing, materials, forms and textures of the Storytailors' atelier clothing speak for themselves. 
Right: the designers Luís Sanches and João Branco in their Storytailors concept store.

I was totally taken away with the creations of these two guys. When you see many designers and browse through many stores, you also start to recognize and appreciate the ones that have some ideas of their own and such carefully finished detailing as the garments of these designers. It was easy to believe the guys when they told: “We don’t follow trends, we make our own”. Also, very importantly, this label is still run by the designers and not an international multi-brand mass company, so we can expect the style of Storytailors to remain original and the realization to remain exceptional in its quality.

There was also one thing that caught my attention in the Storytailors concept store: even though the designers prepare new collections, also the previous collections are available in the store. There’s good reasoning behind it: “We don’t kill collections, our customers still want them”. I couldn’t agree more that one characteristic of good clothing design is that it lasts and stays current for more than one season, and for the same reasons, some of our Finnish fashion designers are making classic collections that last for more than one season, like Linda Sipilä and Vietto, while some still offer their old collections while also making new ones, like Antti Asplund.

After a week of sunshine and interesting encounters in Lisbon, I’m still pondering: is Finland ready for the imaginative and distinctive style of Storytailors?

Minna / Paloni

Rebecca Clamp at Paloni LIVE

Paloni’s free-entry gigs by independent, interesting musicians continues.

This time we’ll have the privilege of listening to Rebecca Clamp. The UK-born, Helsinki-based singer-songwriter will be performing her own music.


Rebecca Clamp at Paloni LIVE


Rebecca’s latest album Key to the City is a love letter to her neighbourhood in Helsinki, but you don’t need to have been to Finland to appreciate these songs about love, fragility and finding home. As with her debut album Nocturnal Leap (2005), her lyrics delight in the small-great things in life: parasitic wasps, a special bookshop, and a bearded female saint all make colourful appearances here.

Rebecca’s song “Epiphany” has been visualized on a music video by Aarni Vaarnamo, filmed in Paloni:

Free entry.

Rebecca’s album “Key to the City” is now available in Paloni.

The event on Facebook.