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SPOTLIGHT


SPOTLIGHT ON: JOHANNA HYRKÄS


Tomorrow’s Flooring Editor Grace Holliday spoke to Helsinki based artist, Johanna Hyrkäs, about the design process for creating her unique Light Carpets, and the challenges and difficulties that she came up against along the way.


An established designer, architect and artist, who also runs a central Helsinki design hotel and is prepping to begin her doctoral thesis on off-grid dwellings suitable for the Finnish climate; Johanna Hyrkäs is a busy lady.


Beginning her working life mainly in the interior design and architectural sector, she went on to became a member of the Finland-based design collective Anteeski for 10 years, (Anteeski, in English, means ’I’m sorry’, or ‘Excuse me’.) “Anteeksi is a little bit like the Italian mafia - once a member, always a member!” Johanna says on her time with the collective, of which she was a part of until just last year. It was here that she became inspired to create Light Carpet.


“Anteeksi has two annual happenings: in the autumn, a fashion show and in spring, a furniture show - an unofficial sidekick of Milano Furniture Fair, called Milari. In the spring of 2004 I was


pondering what to do for it; on one hand, I would have loved to make a lighting piece, but on the other I was tempted to work on some kind of rug. So I decided to combine the two! This was how Light Carpet was created.”


The first prototype was created from nylon rope and light rope of the same blue colour, but suffered technical problems; heating up so quickly that parts of the rug came close to melting, and some parts of the light rope becoming faulty after a short amount of use. Though Johanna made several new prototypes with different types of light ropes, she remained unable to solve the problem.


Not only this, but the crucial elements of safety were also being compromised. Whilst the voltage use of 240V were safe under normal cirumstances, she wasn’t willing to take the risk; especially since finding the issues with over- heating. Johanna therefore held off on making the rugs available to the general public. Instead, they became reserved for her own personal use, and the project was put on indefinite hold.


Since then, however, Johanna recieved regular enquiries into her carpets, and was finally prompted this spring- some nine years since the start of the project – to re-visit the design and development project;


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“The Light Carpet was popping into my mind every once in a while, and earlier this year I read something about the development of LED-lights. It was really easy to find the right components this time around. All of a sudden I was able to solve all the techincal issues with no problems at all!”


Nowadays, she uses the very best components in her designs. Made up of 100% wool thread from a Finnish producer, the carpets are available in various colours and sizes, starting from 55cm diameter. And as for the LED lights? The strips are high quality, come with years of working time and harbour a voltage of just 24V, making the product safe, too.


She has even produced a one-off design for a special project in Azerbijan. As the Azeris traditionally worship the element of fire, Johanna broke away from her prototype and created a stunning red and orange design.


And one other thing.... “My dog love these, they are soft and warm!” she adds.


Well, you know how the saying goes.... “If it’s good enough for a Finnish dog, it’s good enough for us!”*


Prices start from $700 info@part.fi.


*The unofficial motto of Tomorrow’s Flooring...honest...


www.tomorrowsflooring.com


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