Exquisite design is often obvious and simple. It does not purposely pull attention to itself or its beauty, it impresses through the ease of use and timeless design. Timo Niskanen, a Helsinki-based designer and entrepreneur works the idea of impacting through simplicity in his carefully designed and meticulously manufactured lighting products. SKURA interviewed the passionate designer to learn more about his approach to design and his journey from being a lower secondary school shop teacher to founding his own brand of elegant lamps, HIMMEE. (For more information visit www.himmee.com)
How did you get into designing light fixtures?
I have always viewed lighting as a medium of art. It is capable of creating beautiful effects and patterns. That’s why I think lighting fixtures must be treated like sculptures – beautiful when turned on, splendid even when turned off. It is this artistic fascination with lights that got me interested in designing lighting fixtures.
On your website, you wrote that you searched far and wide to find the right manufacturer for your lighting products then why did you decide to do it yourself?
I did find a few suitable manufactures with great reputation. However, they were more commercial than design-oriented and they had tight production deadlines. I was more interested in the quality of products than the rate of production. You cannot force creativity out of someone to meet deadlines. Hence, I at last decided to manufacture my lamps. In fact, I am very glad I took this decision. I can work at my own pace and according to my own standards.
Which product of yours are you most proud of?
I would say I am pretty proud of my latest design – the LOOP table lamp. I like how it is one simple shape and still makes an impact. It is basic but iconic. It will never go out of style.
Do you have any design mentor or an idol?
I don’t have an idol per se but I do get very inspired by well – designed products. Simple and strong designs always make an impression on me.
Are there are sustainable features to your lighting products?
My lighting products can be used with energy efficient LED fixtures. The LOOP also has an integrated LED into it. Also all my lamps have been manufactured using raw materials sourced locally.
What message do you have for young and aspiring designers?
Explore, look around, open your mind! Inspiration could be just around the corner.
Timo, thank you for the conversation and good luck!
Interviewed by SKURA Design contributor Arpita Subroto Basu.