Friday Five with Joel Roos of One Nordic

This week’s Friday Five is with Joel Roos, the founder of One Nordic. Trained as a lawyer, Roos entered the design field in 2008 when he was called upon to help out with his family furniture retailing business in Finland. His strong entrepreneurial drive took hold, and in 2011 he founded his own company, One Nordic. The firm produces high-quality design furniture created by Nordic designers and others, including Hallgeir Homstvedt, Staffan Holm, Luca Nichetto, and Form Us with Love. Following the Nordic principle of simplicity, there is a no-tools-assembly policy. Let’s see what he treasures.


1. My background is not at all in design. I am actually a lawyer by education. When I graduated from law school in Finland, I received this collection of statutory orders from 1718 as a gift from my mother’s husband, who had received it from his father. At a later stage I also did an LL.M at University of Chicago Law School. It was very interesting to see how different judicial systems work. For a European like me, the logics of case law was sometimes very hard to understand. This book is an item I treasure very highly, and look at whenever I need strength in life and business.


2. Being invited by Eero Aarnio to his summerhouse 35 miles outside of Helsinki was an amazing experience. His age might be 80+, but his soul is 15, tops. His house is situated in this idyllic countryside setting, with a beautiful small sauna by the lake. That’s where we are sitting in this picture. His house is full of his products—everything from prototypes to the classics we all know. We are planning a small collaboration this fall.


3. There are few things that are more relaxing than cross-country skiing in Finnish Lapland. Here we met a deer during our 40 kilometer trip around a small mountain close to a place called Ylläs. During that particular day we met more animals than people.


4. This is an artwork by Finnish artist, Jani Leinonen. Our first year in business we shared office space with him. His pieces are, to say the least, very different from the norms of art in Finland. Here is a piece where a lady got to wear Swedish soccer superhero Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s jersey. Usually artists undress the models; Jani instead gives them clothes.


5. Most young people from Finland grow up with the typical Nordic furniture by famous names like Aalto and Tapiovaara in their childhood rooms. Not me. This was due to the fact that my mother at the time was (and still is today) the CEO of our family company, working with retailing design furniture in Finland. One day my mother brought home this wild chair designed by Stefan Lindfors called Booa, which was designed in 1991. I think it really influenced my design thinking, however, nowadays I lean towards more minimalistic furniture :)

Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.