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Marianne Huotari in Forum Magazine

Some of our favorite designs of late are marked by intricate, incredible detailing born of unseen, countless hours spent in the maker’s studio. This week, we spotlight pieces by three inspiring designers—Marianne Huotari, KAKU, and Lukas Wegwerth—whose work embodies patient, mindful, meticulous hands-on processes. Each, in their own way, weaves together time-honored craft techniques and resonant cultural touchstones—resulting in contemporary pieces that transport both makers and admirers beyond the everyday.

Helsinki-based Finnish designer Marianne Huotari crafts delicate ceramic wall rugs and glazed stoneware sculptures using a reimagined version of ryijy, a traditional Finnish textile technique. For each piece, Houtari—who was, notably, shortlisted in 2022 for the esteemed Loewe Craft Prize—sculpts hundreds of oblong ceramic beads and petals by hand, before sewing them onto a metal frame with wire. Her intricate, whimsical pieces harken to the natural world, and a single work can take weeks and even months to execute—contemplative hours Huotari spends engrossed in the intricate, repetitive nature of her process.

Her most recent ceramic tapestry, the dreamy Shangri-la, debuted at Design Miami/ 2023 with Hostler Burrows. Describing the piece, Houtari says: "Shangri-la is a window to an idyllic escape, symbolizing the utopia of a perfect life. Stepping into the illusion, one can momentarily escape from everyday life or experience a deeper realization of the structures of the good life … [It is] an opportunity to dream, to seek change, and thus to grow."

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