Introducing: Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen

Metaphysics Over Functionality

Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen’s thesis was inspired by his grandmother’s Alzheimer and Heidegger’s Dasein, and his work does reflect such an intense genesis. What the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate tries to achieve is creating a memory for his objects, which he does the old fashioned way: with steel and fire.

What was your first project?
If this question is about the first project I did as a design student, the project was to design a fur­niture for the hallway. Some kind of an aiding object for storing shoes in this problematic transi­tory space. Looking at the assignment in retrospective, the biggest problem might have been that I was de­signing for people who have too much stuff to store. A piece of furniture cannot change the prob­lem, and in this case, it would only add to it. 

Where does your inspiration come from?
Before entering the Design Academy Eindhoven my inspirations mostly came from an aesthetic and functional point of view. Now I understand design as an eclectic field of study and inspiration as a driving force that can come, for example, from the political, economical or psychological domain. Not forgetting the aesthetic values and the notion of functionality.

What’s your design process?
The process varies a lot, it depends if the project is self initiated or an assignment.

And next, what are you planning to work on?
Gathering strength to work on future projects.

City of Residence No permanent residence at the moment
Age 28
Education MA, Contextual Design (Cum Laude), Design Academy Eindhoven ; BA, Furniture Design, Lahti Institute of Design
Motto Believe in what you are doing and take joy out of it.
Best advice received This advice did not come from one single person, rather from all of the people I’ve encountered in life: continuously ask yourself: “What am I doing?” This advice does not just relate to thinking about your concept, or how to manufacture your design and how to sell it. It’s much more than that. It’s about relating whatever you are doing (design in my case) to the world at large, and questioning the relevance of your work. Am I actually making something substantial, something that is really needed?
Best tip for designers Don’t follow trends that much or what other people are doing, especially in the field of design. Design is a very self-repetitive form of art and I would recommend adopting new perspectives from other domains.
Three things every designer needs 1) Mental stamina; 2) Engagement to what you are doing; 3) Remember there’s much more to life than design
Newest addition to your studio I don’t have a studio running at the moment. It’s under developement and the new location depends on where I decide to settle next.
First design that inspired you My grandparents’ old farm tools, particularly my grandfather’s old axe. The handle was smooth and worn out because of use. A home made object which was not designed, it was just bare essentials and did its job. It showed how the tool had been used for decades and how the object had trans­formed during time.

Photos courtesy of Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen.

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