Nikari began as a one-man workshop housed within the woodworking factory of Nikkarinkoski Oy in 1967. Over the years, cabinetmaker Kari Virtanen’s studio has grown from a small workshop to an internationally renowned design company, with many of its products gaining their rightful status as design icons. Collaborations with legendary designers and architects such as Alvar Aalto and Kaj Franck have furthered both Virtanen and Nikari’s standings as the darlings of architectural and design circles.
The aesthetics of the company rely on the traditional tenets of Scandinavian minimalism, whilst also echoing the philosophy of the company: to combine contemporary design with the Finnish craftsmanship tradition. The core of the company is formed by a deep respect towards nature. For the cabinetmakers, designers and craftspeople of Nikari; wood is the only material. Wooden products live in harmony with the environment and over time become an organic part of the cycle of nature. The company’s values are embedded from the very beginning in each piece of furniture, as nearly all of the wood used by Nikari is supplied by a sawmill next door to their workshop in Fiskars, and most of the timber comes from Northern European forests. Nikari’s manufacturing principles stem from founder Virtanen’s own exploration into sustainable cabinetmaking. Today, the philosophical origins of the company are nurtured by a younger generation of designers, cabinetmakers and entrepreneurs.
Nikari’s ethos is one of respect: towards both nature and design. In essence, it is a love letter to wood and all of its features. This philosophy has been adopted by designers all over the world who have collaborated with the company. The likes of Alfredo Häberli, Cecilie Manz, Jasper Morrison and Wataru Kumano are all fond of Nikari’s philosophy, with its workshop and old hydropower in picturesque Fiskars, a town known for its resident artists and artisans. Alongside these iconic designers, younger makers and doers such as Wesley Walters and Salla Luhtasela have added their own touch to Nikari’s ever-growing history, ensuring that the legacy started by Kari Virtanen will carry on for decades and centuries to come.