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The Block: Talentshop & Protoshop

The call for the 2023 Talentshop and Protoshop exhibitions has ended. The selected designers and product ideas can be seen at Habitare from 13 to 17 September 2023.


Here they are, the four emerging designers of Habitares Talentshop exhibition in 2023: Laura Meriluoto, Didi NG Wing Yin, Melissa Sammalvaara and Antti Tuomi. These designers of a new generation show the way forward for Finnish design in the coming years.

Talentshop is searching for young designers living and working in Finland. To be held for the seventh time, Habitares Talentshop highlights designers who are in the early stages of their career, but who have found their own personal style and designer identity to differentiate themselves from others. Since the beginning, Talentshop is curated by Elina Aalto, Krista Kosonen and Saara Renvall from Imu Design and desinger Hanna Anonen.

The four selected emerging talents represent a wide range of fields in design: traditional product design, the design and manufacture of unique art objects, productisation management, conceptual thinking, and insightful use of craft techniques. They provided a high-quality demonstration of their skills and a strong, personal style.”
Elina Aalto and Saara Renvall


The designers to be featured at Habitare’s Talenshop 2023 are 

Laura Meriluoto 

Laura Meriluoto, an Aalto University graduate, is a multi-talented designer based in Helsinki. Laura’s work focuses on the emotional experiences evoked by objects, as well as people’s attachment to objects and the reinforcement of this through design. In her work, she explores and examines methods that go deeper, beyond material properties, to help extend the life cycle of products. Laura believes that a product that is sympathetic, engaging, or personal will make the user cherish it, take care of it, and, if necessary, repair it. The recurring themes in Laura’s works, which straddle the borderline between artworks and everyday objects, are adaptability, the traces left by time, and the human features and imperfections in objects. Currently, Laura works as a creative director and a freelance designer, and her work has been presented internationally, for example, in Stockholm, Bern and Milan. Through the objects she designs, Laura aims to awaken people to re-examine their own consumption habits and to encourage a dialogue about the many dimensions of sustainability. 



Didi NG Wing Yin 

Didi NG Wing Yin (b. 1989) is a Hong Kong Born artist-designer based in Helsinki. Upon completing a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2012, he went on to work in the furniture- and interior design industry. He is currently attending the MA in Interior Architecture at Aalto University, Finland, where his practice has shifted toward woodworking in the fields of contemporary design and crafts. In his practice, Didi seeks to expand perspectives on wood crafting and highlight wood’s natural materiality through experimental surface treatments and hand-carving techniques. His dedication to wood crafting over the past years has resulted in small- and large-scale works situated in a space between sculpture, installation, and furniture. 


Melissa Sammalvaara 

Melissa Sammalvaara is an adventure-loving artist working in Helsinki and around various campfires. She creates modern rya rugs, which are inspired by nature and moss, and which explore spatiality and the relationship of the modern human with nature using different surfaces, materials and techniques. Her hand-made rya rugs are luscious and moss-like, and they come in a variety of shapes: they grow on walls in organic clusters and gently but purposefully spread out in thread-like formations. The rya rugs are handmade by weaving, tufting, knitting, and knotting, and as with traditional rugs, it is a very slow and careful process. Sammalvaara graduated as a textile artist from Aalto University in 2019, since when she has worked full-time as a freelance artist. Sammalvaara’s works are featured, for example, at the Finnish Institute in France and in the State Art Deposit Collection and the Tuomas Sopanen Collection. The Sammalvaara works included in the Tuomas Sopanen Collection, the largest private rya collection in Finland, are featured in an exhibition that opened at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in January.        


Antti Tuomi 

Antti Tuomi graduated as a furniture designer from what is today the LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts. Most recently, for more than five years, he has mainly focused on custom projects and on developing a furniture collection bearing his own name. The Antti Tuomi collection is based on studies made in experimental and collapsible furniture structures, and in the ergonomics of upholstered furniture. Tuomi has done product development with Anna Lampinen, who has been working as the Antti Tuomi studio designer since 2017. Antti dreams of new office and exhibition spaces near good cross-country skiing trails.                



Habitare’s Protoshop exhibition presents 10-12 new prototypes and product ideas. The selected prototypes demonstrate an insightful way of finding new solutions to current issues and the ability to turn an idea into a product that will stand the test of time. Protoshop 2023 product ideas will be published in June.

Over the years, Protoshop has pioneered and highlighted young, new design. Prototype proposals can be any design objects related to either the home or work environment. The jury is looking for clever, original designs which have product potential. The exhibition is curated by Elina Aalto, Krista Kosonen ja Saara Renvall from Imu Design together with Laura Sarvilinna, Creative Director of Habitare.


In 2022, we will exceptionally present both the 2020 and 2021 Protoshop designers.

Get to know the 2020 designers.

Get to know the 2021 designers.