Tapio Anttila is a freelance Interior Architect and Designer and owner of Tapio Anttila Design based in Lahti (Finland) who was recently commissioned by the City of Lahti, on behalf of Icsid to design the inaugural World Design Impact Prize keepsake. He has worked as an in-house designer at Isku, designing contract furniture and before that as chief interior architect at PES Architects working on interior design projects such as the award winning Helsinki Vantaa Airport.

His scope of design is wide, varying from accessory items such as trays to entire furniture collections and wall paneling systems. Many of his designs have won design awards including Design Plus, Good Design, Fennia Prize and Adex Award. He was recently named Furniture Designer of the Year by the Finnish Designer Awards 2012.

As the designer of the first World Design Impact Prize keepsake, we sat down with Tapio in his design studio in Lahti and asked him about the inspiration behind the design of the trophy, as well as about World Design Capital 2012.

Q: What did you first think when you were approached to design the inaugural World Design Impact Prize for Icsid? As a professional designer, what does the World Design Impact Prize represent? 

When I first heard about the World Design Impact Prize, I immediately thought that it was both a challenging and interesting undertaking. Being the designer of the inaugural prize, I felt the pressure to deliver a quality product. The World Design Impact Prize is one of the most important design awards in the world for designers. Its idea is very ethical and that makes it a unique recognition of design.

Q: Can you tell us about the concept behind your design and the special interest you have with wood as a working material

The prize is a two-piece creation: a level on a ruler base. The concept is a symbolise between a designer’s freedom of thought and the creativity of their work. It also symbolises the alignment or matching up of reality with design. In my interpretation, while both elements are tools neither can be used for their practical nature as tools. I also like to employ a little humour in design!

With regards to wood, it is very warm, human and an especially ecological material. With this prize, I wanted to attract attention to local wood material and local production. The keepsake is made with old elm and maple from a park in the Lahti area, not far from my studio.

Q: Having participated in other World Design Capital (WDC) Helsinki 2012 events, including a solo exhibition to open the WDC year in Lahti, can you tell us what WDC 2012 means for you? 

The World Design Capital has kept me very busy from the end of 2011 in preparation for this year’s activities and exhibitions. My participation in some of these events has resulted in publicity for my design studio, which leads to more work and assignments, which is never a bad thing. The beginning of the WDC 2012 has also sparked much discussion in different media, looking at various current design issues. The whole initiative is bringing design to ordinary people and this is great for designers everywhere.

Products designed by Tapio Anttila are available in design stores in Finland and around the world, like the MoMA Design Store in New York. His designs are being produced and marketed by companies like Adi, Ann Idstein, Isku, Koskisen, Lundia, Laattapiste, Selka, Showroom Finland, Vepsäläinen and Woodnotes.

For more information on Tapio and Tapio Antilla Design, please visit:http://www.tapioanttila.com/

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