"FUNCTIONALITY IS NOT AN ATTRIBUTE OF THE OBJECT. IT IS THE BY-PRODUCT OF USE. CREATED BY A USER."
- IIRO A. AHOKAS 2000
IIRO A. AHOKAS is a Helsinki-based designer and the Founder and Design Director of ATELIER AHOKAS. He holds an extensive experience in designing consumer goods in collaboration with leading brands. For two decades Ahokas has helped his clients across the lifestyle industries build their companies by developing successful products that have been retailed worldwide in around forty countries. His collaborations include e.g. Audi, Unilever, Crate & Barrel, Iittala, Marimekko, Richloom Fabrics Group, 4murs, Tamurakoma, Design House Stockholm, CarpetVista, Burda, Mugi Couture, Leaf, S Group, Hackman Designor, Kesko Corporation, Raisio Group, Arabia, Anno Collection, Vimmacompany, Frenn, and Aalto University.
Ahokas works internationally on design and art projects that vary between industrial production and handcrafted one-offs. His work is focused on creating bold, alternative and dynamic lifestyle products such as tableware, rugs, upholstery, wallpapers, lighting, furniture, shoes, bags, jewellery and accessories. Ahokas is renowned for modern surface pattern and colour designs that he has created for companies operating in the sectors of consumer goods and marketing. He has created alone for the iconic Finnish Marimekko textile and clothing house over fifty interior design products since 2006.
Around 400 printed publications have featured Ahokas’ work internationally. His work has been shown in museums, events and design fairs worldwide from The Museum of Modern Art MoMA in New York to the Murano Glass Museum in Venice, Italy. Ahokas has been recognized with a number of awards, grants and scholarships including the prestigious ”European Academy of Arts” which is one of the most outstanding European awards in the field. He has been ranked as the ”World's Leading Designers” by Taschen Publishing and honoured in ”The Year’s Most Ingenious Products” by I.D. the International Design Magazine. He has also been awarded ”THE K.E.N.K.Ä" shoe designer of the year prize and the international ”CarpetVista Design Competition 2015” award.
Ahokas' professional spectrum expands to academic dimension in the form of lecturing. He has contributed on the current multidisciplinary design education as a lecturer in Industrial Product Design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Ahokas has also held a lecturer’s position at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture being in charge of the experimental design education in the MA Degree Programme of Applied Art and Design. (2007-2014.)
Born in 1976, Ahokas took his Master of Arts Degree from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2001. He is a member of Design Migration Association and Ornamo Art and Design Finland. Ahokas is currently based in Helsinki, Finland.
"As an artist and designer, one of the main interests and the thematic content of my work is in the psychological aspects of functionality as a diverse term in design. I see design in general as a study of social epidemic, the changes in our environment and the development of urban culture. This is especially interesting in the relationship between space and objects – how objects interact in space, and how humans interact with objects.
I feel that seeing functionality as an inherent part of the object, independent of the user, was born of industrial constitution and mass production – the idea that everyone will use a certain object the same way. To me this created a linguistic and conceptual perversion, the idea that an object can be impractical. I believe that functionality becomes a part of an object only when the object is used or as a by-product of use. This means that functionality is not an attribute of the object as much as of the person using it."