Finnish designer Mika Tolvanen designs everything from lighting, furniture, and consumer goods, and has leant his design talent to companies like Muuto, FontanaArte, Frag, Blå Station, and Zanotta over the years. After graduating from Royal College of Art in London in 2003, he set up his studio in a former coffee shop in the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki. Continuing to produce timeless classics with his signature Nordic slant, Tolvanen takes a pause to reveal what keeps him inspired in this week’s Friday Five.

Friday Five with Mika Tolvanen in home furnishings  Category

1. You can find interesting things anywhere. For example, this image is from some old boat at Ahvenanmaa Islands. The things that catch my attention might be a gesture, sometimes a color, or a kind of mechanism.

Friday Five with Mika Tolvanen in home furnishings  Category

Photo by Julie Tolvanen

2. Flea markets and vintage shops are my hobby. At least a couple times a month my wife and I go exploring the markets. Our home is pretty full of flea market finds. It’s a relatively cheap hobby if you don’t mind a few nicks and scratches.

Friday Five with Mika Tolvanen in home furnishings  Category

3. It’s also very useful to take your mind off the work every now and then. Joining a kayaking club a few years ago opened a whole new world just outside of Helsinki. There are hundreds of islands and plenty of campsites. Weekdays are best.

Friday Five with Mika Tolvanen in home furnishings  Category

4. I like rounded corners. Kaj Franck is the master of that.

Friday Five with Mika Tolvanen in home furnishings  Category

Photo by Julie Tolvanen

5. One of my favorite places is my parents’ smoke sauna. My father spends the whole day preparing it. While it’s heating, the smoke fills the top of the room and you can crawl underneath it. Average age of a smoke sauna is 8 years, but this one is over 20 years old.