Category Archives: Finland

2013/03/26 15:05

Pirkko’s back story.

The Pirkko vase was the first product I designed for Oiti, fresh from Architecture School, back in 2003. Its super simple shape hides a functional solution that consumed months of my obsessive twenties.

I was determined to make the inside of the wooden vase impermeable, without having any removable piece. For that, I added a plastic tube to the construction and had to try out – a million times – a way to permanently attach plastic to wood in a system which would allow both materials to contract and expand from temperature variation.

Brazil is a very interesting country when it comes to observing materials react to our powerful weather. Climate conditions – temperature, humidity, sunlight incidence – can vary drastically within a day. I remember leaving the office full of Pirkkos filled with water over night and arriving to a bunch of cracked pieces in the morning. I had already sold a few and had to organize a recall.

But what does Pirkko mean? Pirkko is a Finnish name, a girl’s name to be precise. I named it after a very special friend, Pirkko Kasanen, my host Finnish mother whose family welcomed me in their home when I was a 19 year-old exchange student in Helsinki.

Mother’s day is just around the corner, so if you have a mother figure in your life, Pirkko is a good option for a gift. They are on sale at Oiti’s shop in Belo Horizonte, with very special prices.


Out of focus picture, back in the day. Studding proportions, with long hair and a nice tan, before the Finnish winter entered my life.

2012/10/18 16:24

The best of Finnish fashion: Samuji.

As I had previously promised , I will post the selection of my ten favorite places in Helsinki. This list was specially  compiled  for an article I wrote about the lovely city of Helsinki, my current geographic location, for Wish Casa magazine in May 2012.  The original text in the picture is in Portuguese, but the translation to english is found right below, on the post.  Specially for my fellow Brazilian friends who also share a thing for the nordic aesthetics, my favorite Finnish fashion brand:  Samuji.


“Samuji’s clothes are full of Finnish identity. Their values comprise functionality, the love for necessary things and kindness. The collections are composed by a few items, which are aesthetically timeless. Alongside the seasonal collections, there is also a permanent collection called “Samuji Classics”, consisted of strategic pieces, which are thought to survive trends . Their first shop is charmingly small, but located in a very noble spot in Helsinki. Its architecture is as elegant as the clothes found inside.”

In 1’16”, the short-film below summarizes my love for Samuji and, specially, my love for Helsinki. Samu-Jussi Koski, Samuji’s designer and director of this film, has the rare ability to make everything look effortlessly sophisticated. The frugal, though disturbingly beautiful ride of a carefree girl on her blue bike around Helsinki made me emotional, probably because I have already lost a piece of my heart to this land, where moments like the one in the film can really happen on a sunny day. Preferably  all dolled up in Samuji, from head to toe.

Last June, Samu-Jussi gave me the kindest, most honest interview for my Master’s research. I’ll must certainly be writing about it, here, as soon as I find the time.

2012/05/22 16:22

For WishCasa: To/From Helsinki with love.

I had the pleasure to collaborate with WishCasa Magazine on their one-year anniversary issue. I was invited to write about the wonderful city I have been calling home for the past two years: Helsinki.

WhishCasa is a breath of fresh air in the Brazilian design scene.  It was a pleasure to work with them. Congratulation and thank you! Long live WishCasa!

Below is the first part of the original article in Portuguese as well as a rough English version, so our international friends and partners wouldn’t feel left out. The entire article consisted of my ten favorite places in Helsinki, which I promise to gradually post, one by one, along with its English translation.

To/From Helsinki with love!

My love story with Helsinki began in 1998, when I went on a three-month exchange programme to Finland, soon after starting architecture school. The city greeted me covered in snow, with endless nights,  warm hand shakes, candlelight and in the most peculiar language I have ever heard.

From this time, I left with friends for life, an obsession with the work of architect Alvar Aalto and the certainty I would be back. In 2010, I started a Master’s Programme at the Aalto University School of Arts Design and Architecture. Helsinki has not changed much, it has remained a lovely slow paced place which has gained a cosmopolitan charm over the years.

The difference between winter and summer is remarkable. The experience of the Finnish cold weather is surreal, especially for tropical souls. In the winter, the word sisu, is easier to understand.  Lacking a precise translation to English, its meaning would be a compilation of perseverance, credibility, efficiency and honesty, characteristic of Finns. Relying on a lot of sisu, the infrastructure of Helsinki runs smoothly, even under piles of snow. There are no excuses for not enjoying the exotic pleasures of low temperatures.

The sauna experience is indispensable. In a nation of small social disparity, everybody goes to the public saunas. There bathing suits are optional, however this is one of the rare moments when you feel more naked if dressed. Walking over the frozen Baltic Sea is at the top of my favourite activities. In the winter, the perception of the city is altered. The functionalist architecture seems to be even more discrete in the dark days. Helsinki becomes a white town, framed in a grey-reddish horizon that resembles the Nordic expressionist paintings.

In the summer, snow-free and under the irreplaceable sunlight, the city reveals itself. The perception of the urban plan becomes clearer and I find myself discovering new-old buildings everyday. The city is mostly flat, composed by short building and wide sidewalks, perfect to be explored on foot. The transportation system does not disappoint. The trams are punctual, confortable, safe and a great option to see a lot in little time.

Helsinki slows down in the summer. Schools and universities close their doors and companies work with limited workforce. Helsinki taught me that efficiency requires leisure time. Perhaps, this is one of the secrets of the Finnish well fair state, of which, more than the architecture of Aalto, Finland and its capital are most proud.

2012/02/27 07:24

To my girls, with love!


My love for Finland was never a secret and after I actually moved to Helsinki it managed to grow more and more each day. This country has given me a lot and, among it all, the most valuable: friends. As I made public here, ten months ago, I lost my dear mother and life has been tough ever since. But this blog is a space for good feelings and that’s why I would like to share the sweetest, kindest gesture I received from five dear friend whom I had the pleasure to meet in Finland.

Kate (UK), Natalie (Germany), Julie (France), Karin (Estonia), Carolina (Colombia) created a character by the name of Tropi. They knitted it – bringing it to 3D life – wrote and illustrated  a booklet featuring Tropi’s saga. Tropi is a little Brazilian fish who has always loved Finland and, one day, decides to swim all the way from Brazil to this country. Please, don’t ask me about the alternative routes he might have had to take to reach Finnish ground – it was not elaborated by the authors – but we can assume he’s a tough cookie.

According to the story, Tropi met a lot of people in Finland and, before he had realized, he already had YKSI (one), KAKSI (two), KOLME (three), PALJION (several) friends in this beautiful land. It is true. I received Tropi and his story by mail in Brazil on a very tough day. Their gesture touched me deeply and brought a bit of light to a very dark moment in my life. I want the girls to know that Tropi has found his way back to Finland and is managing to enjoy its white winter, which we all came to love. I keep him very close to my solar lamp so he does not miss the sun or get low vitamin D levels.

Tropi at Taik

As you can see, he has already been to Taik and has met new friends this year. However, he secretly told me that the ones he really loved are no longer here. He misses them very much and wish to see them again. Very soon.

Thank you!

Meu amor pela Finlândia nunca foi segredo pra ninguém e, depois que me mudei pra Helsinki, esse amor só cresceu. Esse país me deu muitas coisas, entre elas, a mais valiosa: amigos. Como eu contei aqui, há dez meses, perdi minha querida mãe e a vida tem sido dura desde então. Mas esse blog é um espaço pra bons sentimentos e é por isso que gostaria de dividir com vocês um gesto muito doce, gentil, de cinco amigas que tive o prazer de conhecer na Finlândia.

Kate (UK), Natalie (Alemanha), Julie (França), Karin (Estonia), Carolina (Colômbia) criaram uma personagem chamada Tropi. Elas a tricotaram – dando à ela vida em 3D – escreveram e ilustraram um livreto contando a sagra de Tropi. Tropi é um peixinho brasileiro que sempre amou a Finlândia e, um dia, decide nadar do Brazil até lá. Por favor, não me perguntem que rota alternativa ele pegou pra alcançar terras finlandesas – isso não foi especificado pelas autoras – mas podemos assumir que ele é osso duro de roer.

De acordo com a estória, Tropi conheceu muitas pessoas na Finlânida e, antes que se desse conta, já tinha feito YKSI (um), KAKSI (dois), KOLME (três), PALJION (muitos) amigos nessa bela terra. Eu recebi Tropi e a sua estória pelo correio, no Brasil, em um dia muito difícil. O gesto delas me tocou profundamente e trouxe um pouco de luz para um momento muito negro da minha vida.  Gostaria que as meninas soubessem que Tropi achou seu caminho de volta e está conseguindo aproveitar o inverno branco, que conhecemos e amamos juntas. Eu deixo Tropi perto da minha lâmpada solar, para que ele não sinta muita falta do sol ou tenha problemas taxas de vitamina D. 

Como vocês podem ver, ele já foi à Taik e fez novos amigos esse ano. Mas o Tropi me contou, em segredo, que aqueles que ele  amava não estão mais aqui. Ele tem muita saudade e gostaria de revê-los. Logo, logo.

Muito obrigada!

2012/02/02 09:30


I arrived back in Helsinki last week and this is how the city greeted me. Fo those who never had the opportunity to visit Finland, it may look unwelcoming, but it is the opposite. This is one of the best winter scenarios in Helsinki: loads of snow on the ground and the certainty, in the back of my head,  that daylight hours are only stretching from now on until summer peaks.

Sorry, there is just a small detail that I forgot to mention: it is -21C, today. The daylight is gorgeous, though.

Cheguei em Helsinki na semana passada e foi assim que a cidade me recebeu. Para aqueles que nunca tiveram a oportunidade de visitar a Finlândia, a imagem pode parecer pouco receptiva, mas é exatamente o contrário. Essa é uma das melhores situações do inverno em Helsinki: muita neve no chão e a certeza, lá no fundo, de que, daqui em diante,  as horas de luz só vão aumentar até o auge do verão. 

Desculpa, só esqueci de mencionar um detalhe: está -21C, hoje. Mas a luz está linda. 

Sorry about the Instagram picture. Just started using it and I’m not ready to let it go, yet. I promise a natural-light-one, for the next time.

Desculpa pela foto do Instagram. Comecei a usar agora e não consigo parar. Prometo uma imagem com luz natural, para a próxima vez.