Interior architect Aino Kavantera, and product and exhibition designer Federica Capitani, have designed the first Fin Noir exhibition, which took place at the ‘Passage du désir’ gallery in Paris during SS12 Fashion Week (4-16 October). The two designers met in 2005 whilst working at Marcel Wanders Studio in Amsterdam and have since collaborated on a number of design projects as well as worked on their own. Fin Noir is their most recent collaboration.
Loosely translated as ‘Black Finland’, the Fin Noir exhibition design draws inspiration from the Finnish landscape and its wraiths of darkness during the winter, when the light disappears for months. Fin Noir unravels the layers and undercurrents of Finnish fashion. The exhibition presents 16 artists, a multifaceted array of Finnish fashion professionals: designers, photographers and illustrators, and aims at expanding the comprehension of fashion beyond clothing to a conceptual, all-encompassing visual experience.
The 700m2 exhibition consists of two distinct areas, the main space and a lower gallery. The main space, ‘forest’, is housed within a windowless gallery space. The design consists of architectonic elements made of stretched lightweight fabric that recreate the sense of depth and multi-layered density in a natural habitat, each structure framing the work of a designer.
The stretched fabric shapes, produced by Fantasiarakenne, grow toward both the ceiling and floor. Each has a light cast from its core onto the collection, which is exhibited on the platform or plinth beneath. The lighting design, by Alpo Nummelin, sees the exhibits highlighted by light beams that burst through the dark and dense forest canopy.
The exhibition experience is choreographed to create unexpected possibilities for inspiration and an atmosphere where the viewer can surrender into the space and feel simultaneously at peace and lost. The space plays with contrasts: lightness and darkness, closeness and depth, transparency and opacity.
The lower gallery, adorned by a magnificent dome made of circular glass tiles, displays photography against a central ‘Himmelinna’/’Snowcastle’ installation, that seemingly reaches to the sky. Produced by Stand By Me, its design draws inspiration from the geometric structure of snow, and uses traditional Finnish ‘himmeli’ straw structure as a point of reference in construction.
Photographs: Nicole Marnati