Marimekko Designer Profile – Klaus Haapaniemi

Klaus Haapaniemi

Klaus Haapaniemi, known for his illustrations, advertising art and clothing fabric prints, designed the Jääkarhu (polar bear) pattern for Marimekko in 2001. After an absence of a few years, the pattern has now been put back into production in response to strong demand.

Klaus Haapaniemi, how did you become a designer?
I graduated as a graphic designer from the Lahti Institute of Design. That’s how I ended up as a print designer.

Please describe your design process.
In my mind, I design nearly 24 hours a day, and at some point, I realise the designs. London is an important place for me; it interests and inspires me in several ways. The people, cinema, music, strolling around the streets or sitting on the tube and seeing all kinds of things – that’s inspiring. I also often get good ideas on the plane. Realising a plan usually takes more time than sketching. I use many different kinds of techniques and equipment, from hand-drawing to digital technology.

How would you describe your style as a designer?
I have a few different styles. At the moment, my favourite style is very geometric and decorative.

Do you have any role models in the field of art and design?
I admire many artists and designers, but at the moment I am more interested in cinema than design or fashion.

What is the most important quality of a designer?
Perseverance and versatility.

What’s it like to work for Marimekko?
Working for Marimekko has been pleasant and relaxed.

If you could choose any place, where would you like to see products designed by you?
I have already seen them there. Therefore, I would choose a new place. I would like to see my products on sale in North Korea.

What is best or most important in your work?
New types of projects.

What do you dream of?
A beach holiday in Ibiza.

What makes you happy?
Successful works and my own lifestyle.

In addition to designing for Marimekko, Klaus Haapaniemi has designed the popular Taika dinnerware for Iittala. Even more of his work can be seen at his website.

Polar Bears

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