Photo by Pierre Bjork

Designer Ilkka Suppanen sits at the head of the class when it comes to Finnish design. Leading Helsinki’s Studio Suppanen since 1995, the designer has leant his skills to top-notch companies like Artek, Axis, Cappellini, Nokia, and Saab over the years. His well-rounded firm handles everything from interiors, architecture, and product design, covering the gamut and keeping their toes in all the design ponds. With countless awards under his belt, Suppanen continues to be a leader with some of the best, and most innovative, designs that Finland has to offer. Curious as to what keeps this busy designer inspired? This week’s Friday Five sheds some light.

1. Here are classic 12 meter wooden yachts in competition. I love the slender lines of the old yachts. For me it is amazing that sailing as an action has been basically the same since human beings went on the water with vessels.

2. This is a new boat that hydrofoils. It is like an insect or small animal that skims over the water. I have always been interested in technology that uses the forces of nature and lives in beautiful relationship with nature.

3. I love these container ships. They are so functional and whiteout aesthetics consideration: That they somehow become great because of that. Somehow the aesthetics kills natural beauty of objects.

4. I live the viking boats: They are so much more slender, faster, and lighter than the ships created later, like the ones Columbus used for exploring the new continent. I love this strategic approach to be lighter and faster.

5. Recent racing yachts remind me of a huge ballet dancer. It is dancing on the top of the water balancing the forces of wind, water, and waves. I really appreciate the brave and fearless people who are pushing something so traditional as a sailing boat beyond the boundaries of tradition.