Helsinki, Finland | Wood: hard maple
Josh Krute is a furniture and textile designer based in Helsinki, Finland. In 2019 he graduated from Aalto University’s Contemporary Design MA Program, and currently works as a workshop instructor for Aalto University. His furniture prototypes have been published and exhibited internationally – some of which include the Helsinki Design Museum, the National Museum of Finland, Vitra/Artek showrooms in the Netherlands, and the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Currently, Josh is involved in a range of projects, commissions, and collaborations. He approaches design towards sustainability, and experiments with materials and artisan techniques to develop objects that have unique qualities for everyday use.
'Making is probably one of the most essential aspects of the design process for me. One aspect of the project that I had to learn from was taking a step back and letting the manufacturer manage the design.'
The design process
Like much of Europe, Finland locked down as the virus struck and Krute initially had to work from home, which provided him with inspiration for his collection of products when AHEC’s brief arrived. ‘I wanted to design something for storing all of the smaller, remote working materials and supplies,’ he says. ‘When I was working from home my notebooks and computer were just scattered on the dining room table. So the easiest solution was to just put them in a box.’ However, he wanted that box to be beautifully designed and crafted.
The making of the final piece
As part of his process, Krute built moulds and tested how the wood shrinks, as well as trying different glues and veneers. As he points out: ‘Making is probably one of the most essential aspects of the design process for me.’ So it was a little difficult to hand over the responsibility for that element to the WeWood workshop in Portugal? ‘I think that’s the one aspect of the project that I had to learn from,’ he confesses. ‘It was taking a step back and letting the manufacturer manage the design.’
The end result
Toteemi is a set of stackable boxes, each box coming with a different colour on the inside providing them with a distinguishable character. There’s also an accompanying stool and a set of shelves, as part of the collection. ‘I like the idea of designing a collection of objects, things that tell a story together.’ Krute says. He decided to make the pieces from hard maple because of its colour and flexibility. The boxes can either rest on the stool or stack on the shelves.