By Amanda Soila, June 2011
The handmade design products of Tikau have become regular features on the pages of Finnish magazines, but they encorporate much more than just cool design. Inspired by the aesthetics and craftsmanship in rural areas of India, Tikau combines Scandinavian design with a wide approach to fair trade and sustainability, providing a unique alternative to mass-produced products.
As interest in craftsmanship and the values behind our daily products increases, Tikau has quickly found its way into the homes and hearts of conscientious Finnish consumers. The beautifully crafted textiles, rugs and pillows gain their unique look and feel from the century-old skills and knowledge of the local artisans in rural India.
The woman behind Tikau is designer Taina Snellman, whose trips to India and interest in ethical and environmental production brought her the idea of combining Scandinavian aesthetics while cherishing local artisan work and traditions. The philosophy at the heart of Tikau is also to create design that is as socially, aesthetically and environmentally sustainable as possible. Tikau itself is a Hindi word meaning long lasting, durable and sustainable.
The values of Tikau are implemented at every stage of production. In contrast to mass production, which begins with the product and then seeks a producer, Tikau is based on the skills and traditions of the local artisans and the local materials. Snellman and the maker start to plan how a product would fit Scandinavian aesthetics. Some of the products have been designed by Snellman herself, some by other designers and some are creations of the craftspeople themselves. Traditional patterns and materials are often used.
In production, Tikau attempts to revive the disappearing artisan traditions to the use of environmentally friendly methods for processing textiles. It uses natural materials such as uncolored wool, organic cotton, water reed and banana fiber for the core of most Tikau products, and the use of chemicals is avoided by utilising traditional vegetable dyes whenever possible.
Most Tikau products stay the same from season to season. Rugs, blankets, baskets and pillows in their natural colours and quality fabrics form timeless design elements.
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