by Vicki Matranga
We are speaking with Juhani Sirén, Magisso’s CEO and founder. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland’s capital, Magisso was established in 2008 and began exhibiting at the International Home + Housewares Show the following year.
Simple and smart, Magisso’s home goods products reflect the attitude and atmosphere expected of Scandinavian design. Their hand tools and kitchenware reduce the complexities of daily tasks; tableware inspires harmony and calm. Legendary Finnish design infuses innovation with comfort in modern interpretations of form and function.
Juhani, where do you find inspiration when designing new products?
We are constantly looking for trouble – to solve it! It is fascinating that you never know where the inspiration originates each time. New innovative design ideas can come to mind by touching surfaces, listening to song lyrics, observing nature and just living your everyday life. It’s all about how you see the world around you.
Are there any specific designers, places or eras that influence you?
Our design DNA comes from the functional Finnish design heritage where all the lines and shapes are timeless and in perfect harmony. I personally love the works of Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva and Eero Saarinen – oh yes, and the works of Mother Nature. There’s nothing extra, only the necessities.
How do you choose which idea to take to the next step — to product development?
Our staff generates many ideas; we also receive product suggestions from consultant designers and even from Magisso users. It is hard work to choose the most suitable ones (and a lot of fun). The most important thing is to know your customers and their needs. So we have actually developed a quite sophisticated measuring system that helps us to identify the next big hits for Magisso.
How do you identify the key user audience for your products?
We use varied consumer test groups. We also cooperate with several universities around the world for market, user and brand research. And then we talk a lot with our customers. However, I think it’s sometimes better to shut up and just listen.
Is there an approach or look that joins the functionality, form or emotional appeal of your product line?
We start from a problem, so form always follows the function. Material selection is based on the function needed. Just look at any Magisso product and you will see the eye-pleasing minimalistic design approach—nothing extra and free of short-term trends.
How do new technologies influence your product design? For example, do you use 3-D printing, Kickstarter or other platforms to develop or launch products? How do you use social media?
Social media, especially YouTube, is extremely important for us as every Magisso product has special features which need to be explained. A short video is a perfect way to get people excited. Magisso has almost one million views on the YouTube channel!
We have used 3-D printing for about seven years now. It definitely makes the product development process more time-efficient and brings an idea come to life easily and quickly.
How do you see design’s importance in our industry as it moves forward?
Design is and has always been everywhere, whether you want it or not. Its importance will grow in the future. I believe the perception of design has changed to more than “just” an individual product design standpoint. Design will be more and more related to concept and lifestyle creation, service design and brand identity. Design process can go all the way to the people who are excited to work for the brand. Companies like Google know how to do this all. And even more.
Tell us how you learned about our Show.
We first exhibited in 2009. We had always been interested in the U.S. market and learned about the Chicago Show from our partners. Finnish and Nordic design has some really great traditions in North America. For example, the work of Eames and Saarinen became important in the 1950s and, of course, Iittala, Marimekko and Fiskars have been popular in the U.S. for decades as well.
How does our Show help build your relationships with buyers and media?
This is our most important show in the United States. Thanks to Discover Design we have been able to establish the Magisso brand and build our presence here. We always meet most of our best customers during this Show.
Can you give us a preview of what you will be showing in your booth in Discover Design?
Magisso will showcase more new items than ever before in Discover Design in 2016. I can’t give any details yet but all of the new designs are super smart lifestyle objects!
Thank you, Juhani, for telling us about how Magisso thinks about design. We wish you a successful sales season and look forward to seeing you in Chicago at the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show March 5-8.
At the 2016 Show, Discover Design settles into a new home in the North Building of McCormick Place. Visible from the Grand Concourse, this new location triples the size of its 2015 design presence and will embrace all categories. A global panel of design experts reviews exhibitor applications to select companies that represent the best in functionality and style.
See Magisso there, along with other notable design-driven companies such as Zoku, Joseph Joseph, Charles Viancin, Alessi, Sagaform, Corkcicle and Nambe along with many others. Learn more about Magisso’s exciting products at http://magisso.com.