28 May 2021
This new series, Design bites, unveil the backstage of contemporary creation. Tackling various topics from personal designer processes to the position of Collectible design on the global design market; these bites offer different views to suit all tastes. Today we talk with Katja Hagelstam, director of Lokal.
COLLECTIBLE: How do you position your city in the global design market, what makes your city unique?
Katja Hagelstam: Lokal is specialised in collectible design pieces, mainly material-based, functional and non-functional objects. We represent a variety of designers and artists working at the intersection of design and art. The majority of our works are unique decorative wall pieces or sculptural items made from ceramics, glass, textile or wood. This focus makes us unique in our kind in Helsinki. With this selection, we also honour our national heritage, as Finland is historically known for its traditions from the past, with notable artists such Tapio Wirkkala, Kaj Franck, Gunnel Nyman, Birger Kaipiainen, just to name a few. We offer a contemporary continuation of these heritage crafts.
“ In Helsinki, there was a need for a different kind of gallery, especially for the type of designers that feel between the art scene and the crafts sector.”
C: How would you describe the boundary between functional art and collectible design? Where do you situate your practice between those two?
KH: The border line between functional art and collectible design is very fine in some cases, and can even depend on the context. Still, it is tricky to find something that really works both as art and is at the same time functional.
C: How did you get into collectible design? Why did you start your gallery?
KH: I wanted to provide a channel for these material-based artists and designers to showcase their work. There was a gap in the shop and gallery section in Helsinki, which I wanted to fill with a new space. There were solely galleries focused on art and then a few design and craft shops, but nothing combining both elements. There was a need for a different kind of gallery, especially for the type of designers that feel between the art scene and the crafts sector.
C: Can you talk about the designers you present for COLLECTIBLE SALON, what makes their practice and pieces unique?
KH: All the artists we work with have a strong connection to the material they work with. They all work by hand, establishing a true connection with the sources they're working with. This makes all our pieces unique, even if some are made in small limited series.
Lokal is a concept gallery and home to independent Finnish art, design, and craft. Besides the unique art pieces in the gallery space, Lokal offers a wide array of selected products from some of the leading names in ceramics, jewellery, art prints, and home interiors. Inspired to create a space where the elements of Finland’s strong art and design heritage could come together, photographer Katja Hagelstam opened Lokal in April 2012.