“Straight forward” implies moving ahead in a direct course. To be “straightforward” is to be honest, frank and open. For the Finns it is a state of mind and a way of life. In Finland, design has to make sense, be meaningful, be straightforward.”
— Curators Paula Bello and Teemu Oksanen
Paula Bello and Teemu Oksanen / Assay
Paula Bello (b. 1974, Mexico) is an industrial designer with a doctorate degree from the Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki (former University of Art and Design). Her doctoral thesis ‘Goodscapes’ investigated the complex relationship between social sciences and design, as means to analyze how globalization has affected the practices of design. The interest for the subject arose from her work in various collaborative projects within the creative industries between Mexico and Finland where she found herself questioning the way local practices are being redefined by a higher global interactivity. After finalizing her doctoral education Bello aimed at creating a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration that linked research to practice. She founded Assay, a consultancy company specialized in systemic thinking. In 2009 she joined KONE Corporation where she could test her ideas in reality through a systemic design approach, by working in cross-cultural collaborations and processes of localization. Throughout her work her main goal is to see things in a wider perspective and to understand the complex dynamics in interdisciplinary activities.
Teemu Oksanen (b. 1973, Finland) is an interior architect and furniture designer with a Master’s degree from the Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki (former University of Art and Design). After he graduated from the International Design Business Management (IDBM) program his goal has been to work among different creative fields. In his everyday work Oksanen transcends the limitations of physical space and sound production. For him the processes of creation are very similar although the outcomes of each may be different in nature. In his role as Creative Director at Silencio Inc., a sound production company, Oksanen encourages cooperation between various creative professionals such as design producers, architectural offices, advertising agencies, publishing houses and video and film studios. Oksanen builds strong teams with the best professionals from each field creating new and innovative practices in various projects. His approach and philosophy can be summarized in the word “teamwork”.
STRAIGHTFORWARD opens the way for a fruitful dialogue between Oksanen and Bello through their different approaches towards design. This framework creates a critical dialogue that lays as the foundation for the curatorial concept. The result is, rather than an exhibition, a set of construction blocks that are weaved together by introducing new designers, progressive Finnish and American companies, leading academic institutions and other creative industries. The main objective is not only to present New Finnish Design in America but to engage in a straightforward dialogue with the audience and amidst the participants. The project works as a platform for new ways of communicating, by opening the boundaries between different professions, between cultures, and between the ways of thinking about and doing design, without boundaries or obstacles, in a straight forward way.