designjunction ✕ &New

British-Finnish design duo Jo Wilton and Mirka Grohn launched &New in January 2014. Since then, the brand has gone on to win best new furniture design at Elle Decoration British Design Awards 2015 as well as young designer talent at the 2016 Elle Deco International Design Awards. We caught up with Mirka Grohn, co-founder and designer to discuss all things design having recently launched ‘Colour Play’ at designjunction.

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  • Why &New?
    A new start for Jo and I.
  • What does design mean to you? 
    Why choose ugly when you can choose beautiful? In Finland good design equals functionality, I believe in that.
  • Where do you work the best?
    Jo and I work together most days. We bring in our individual ideas to the studio in the morning and discuss, design and plan with a cup of coffee or two.
  • What motivates you?
    Good feedback from our customers. I think a lot of people are fed up with the disposable furniture and want something locally made and lasting. I’m still always genuinely happy when our customers are pleased with our products.
  • What does &New bring to the design world that other brands don’t?
    &New furniture is slimline, airy and elegant. It doesn’t fill up the room but frees space for living. The proportions are compact so it is well suited for modern living. I think our colour selection is a bit special, too.
  • What is the biggest challenge facing the design industry?
    It is pretty shocking to see how many more men win design awards than women..
  • What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt so far in your career?
    A prototype is worth of at least 1000 drawings.
  • What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in the industry?
    I have three; don’t be scared of making mistakes, take risks and have fun.
  • What do you wish you’d designed?
    Too many amazing designs in the world to even contemplate this..
  • If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
    Working as a psychologist.
  • What’s your biggest weakness?
    I am way too emotional. Recently I started crying just thinking about giving a speech at my best friend’s wedding… Needless to say, I didn’t give a speech.
  • Traditional or contemporary?
  • Instagram or Twitter?
  • Sketchbook or computer?
  • Form or function?
    They need to go together
  • Early bird or night owl?
    Night owl
  • Favourite design product?
    Too many to list!
  • Best spot in London?
    Stoke Newington for old times sakes
  • Best place to get away?
  • Best hotel?
    I prefer Airbnb

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