One of Finland's leading designers and the pioneer of ecological furniture design, Yrjö Kukkapuro, invited top international designers and young talent to participate in an EcoDesign exhibition he curated at Habitare, Finland’s largest furniture, interior decoration and design fair in September 2009. 81 designers from 16 countries participated by designing an ecological chair. The designers used the following criteria in making the chairs: materials selection; production process; packaging and transportation; uses, durability and maintenance; and recyclability.
Kukkapuro selected 45 of the Finnish designers from the original EcoDesign Special Exhibition for a new edition of the exhibition at Design Forum Finland, which is on view now through January 10, 2010. Almost all chairs are prototypes, but some of the designers have proceeded with furniture makers on plans for industrial-scale manufacturing. The exhibition was the first international event of ecological furniture design in the northern countries.
“We are deeply adapted to industrial processes and transporting materials over long distances,” said Kukkapuro. "However, the ecological viewpoint has become a permanent part of the basics of functional design.”
Kukkapuro's own design for the exhibition is titled “Koivutuoli,” which is a lightweight armchair suitable for a variety of uses and environments. He used birch, a local and readily available wood. He also designed a chair in collaboration with Fang Hai of China called “Small Bamboo Chair” for a Unesco development project on using bamboo in new, innovative ways.