Rovaniemi is by nature the Arctic Design Capital

With the temperature well below zero, the landscape covered with snow, and the night sky lit up with the Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi is the perfect platform for Arctic design.

What is ‘Arctic design’ and why is Rovaniemi called the Arctic Design Capital? ‘The Arctic design perspective combines the demands of Arctic conditions, top research and training in the field, creative industry expertise, and Northern culture,” says Tuula Rintala-Gardin from the city of Rovaniemi.

Arctic know-how draws on traditional materials in Rovaniemi. “In addition to spectacular snow and ice constructions, we have a long tradition of manufacturing products from Lappish wood, reindeer skin and bone, as well as from Lapland gold. Northern touch is often associated with coldness, but it also means good quality, cool and fresh design. Northern colour palette covers moments of blue twilight in winter, golden midnight sun in summer and all the shades of dancing Northern lights. Arctic also combines the right know-how with the right design.” 

The companies of the region often take advantage of their Arctic background and design, as do events like the Arctic Design Week. “Every year we award the prize for Arctic Design Company of the Year. Through the award, the city of Rova-niemi and Rovaniemi Development Ltd want to display the company that has boldly used design in their operations and embraced Arctic into their business.”


In the heart of the cold

This year, the prize was awarded to Amandan Healthcare Ltd. The company developed a cold therapy device that offers the opportunity to enjoy a cold treatment, corresponding to ice swimming, in your own home year-round. “Cold is our natural element. We are familiar with its benefits and we know what can be achieved with the controlled use of cold. I think the effects of cold treatment belong to everyone and we believe this treatment can improve the well-being of millions of people,” said CEO Panu Vapaavalta.

The Northern dimension provides a space for innovation. “Creativity arises, in my opinion, from the silence and the fact that we have room to breathe in Rovaniemi. When you go skiing right from your own backyard – in this spectacular scenery, your soul is given a chance to rest and you find the opportunity to create something new. We feel that this is one of the few places on the globe where mind is free from all the noise and hectic pace of the world. This is exactly why I think Rovaniemi is the natural environment to create new Arctic design,” Vapaavalta states. 

Text: Mia Heiskanen

Snowboard picture caption: Rovaniemi-based ILAHU Snowsurfboards are designed and made to be at home on Lapland’s fells. The company behind ILAHU, Treeform, received the Arctic Design Company of the Year prize in 2016. Treeform was founded by Jan Leutola and Maxim Narbough who were inspired by the arctic nature to hand-create the ecologic snowboard. | | Photo: Treeform Ltd / Kota Collective, Jani Kärppä


The City of Rovaniemi registered Arctic Design Capital trademark in 2015

  • The trademark signifies the central role of Rovaniemi as an Arctic Design Capital in co-operation with the enterprises of the region and the Arctic Centre and Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland 
  • The main event is Arctic Design Week, which will held for the 10th time next year 


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Rovaniemen Kehitys Oy
Ainonkatu 1
96200 Rovaniemi
040 513 7890


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