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Talentshop – Habitare presents the four most exciting names in design right now

Habitare presents the four most exciting Finnish designers whom Finland and the world should be following right now: Ville Aakula, Ekin Kayis, Mari Koppanen and Zuzana Zmatekova. Each of these designers have a strong personal style. They also have a proven track record that demonstrates their skills.

Talentshop is part of The Block, an area for new design at Habitare. The featured designers were selected from among 36 applicants.


Ville Aakula

Ville Aakula is a cabinetmaker and designer whose work is driven by necessity and practicality. A product should fulfil a function while having aesthetic appeal. Soft and simple lines highlight the intrinsic character of wood. Ville’s designs are characterised by beautiful details and high-quality materials. Designing and manufacturing new products is sometimes like shedding a skin; it is about trying out new things and looking for fresh perspectives. The finished product is, at its best, timeless, beautiful, durable and practical.


Ekin Kayis

Ekin Kayis is a contemporary product designer based in Helsinki, who graduated from Product and Spatial Design MA at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Ekin follows a hands-on and experimental design process with an innovative, research-oriented and intuitive approach. He is passionate about exploring qualities and potential of the materials and new production techniques, and has a strong emphasis on materiality, tactile qualities, textures and colour, which are highlighted on his projects. His works have been exhibited internationally in Milan, Brussels, London, Paris, Helsinki and his hometown Istanbul in the past few years.


Mari Koppanen

Mari Koppanen is a designer who likes to work with wood, ceramics, textiles and biomaterials. In addition to form and user experience, Mari is interested in exploring cultural and social issues in her designs. Mari received her Bachelor’s degree in furniture design from the Malmstens Linköping University in Stockholm, and her Master’s degree in design from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. She also has a degree in fashion design (clothing artisan). In recent years, Mari has concentrated on researching fungus-based biomaterials and their use in art and design as substitutes for animal leather. Mari is currently working as a part-time teacher at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, while further developing her research on fungal materials.


Zuzana Zmatekova

Zuzana is a textile designer who pursues innovation and interdisciplinary ultimately attempting to reach beyond the boundaries of the conventional reception of textile design. Her work is inspired by aesthetic tendencies influenced by new media, virtual reality and technology. Various internships abroad and working experience as a freelance print designer has contributed to improving her competences in designing for fashion and interior textiles. To further deepen her knowledge in woven textiles, Zuzana decided to pursue studies at Aalto School of Art, Design, and Architecture, where she currently attends the second year of Master studies, focusing on surface design creation while employing different media and jacquard weaving.