Designer profile: Sanna Annukka

The Marimekko printmaker and textile designer draws on her Finnish culture, wildlife and folklore for design inspiration.

Sanna Annukka

Above: Sanna designs collections for Marimekko and works on silk screenprints and products for her own brand


As well as designing for Marimekko, the famous Finnish fabric house, Sanna Annukka has her own label. The designer, who is of British and Finnish heritage, recently visited New Zealand to attend the design event Norse Code. Here she talks about her work for Marimekko and her own brand of textiles and products.

Sanna, you were born in the UK to a Finnish mother and a British father, where do you feel you have the strongest connection – the UK or Scandinavia? My work is based on my Finnish culture but I do love the English way of life and I enjoy living in the UK. I have the best of both worlds.

How would you define your style? It’s folkloric with a Finnish spirit!

What products have you created with Marimekko? All sorts, from fabrics to homeware such as tea towels, oven gloves, aprons to ceramics, stationery and Christmas decorations.

Why is Marimekko such an iconic brand in your eyes? They are a Finnish institution with a wonderful spirit. They have a rich history behind them but still such a bright future ahead.


Lamppupampula Sanna design

Above: ‘Lamppupampula’ fabric for Marimekko.


What is your favourite medium to work with? I love screen-printing. My limited-edition prints are screenprinted as are the textiles by Marimekko. It’s a wonderful medium to work with.

Through what process are your designs created? Every design starts off with pen to paper, jotting down ideas and creating sketches. I also collage moodboards to set the scene and colour theme. My drawings get more and more established until they are thorough enough to be used as a template; the rest of the design is then created on the computer.

Where do you find inspiration for your work? From childhood memories, my Finnish culture, folklore from around the world and my travels.

To what degree does nature and wildlife play a role in your designs? They are key elements of my work and never cease to inspire or amaze me.

What is the Marimekko design of which you are most proud and why? Kukkuluuruu (meaning ‘peekaboo’ in Finnish) is a new design from the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection. The design is filled with animals found in the forests of Scandinavia. I love the wildlife found in these northern lands and do a lot of work based on them, but the funny thing is I never see these animals while walking in the forest. They are always hiding! So Kukkuluuruu is about the animals gathering together to say ‘peekaboo’ to us.

Kukkuluuruu sanna design

Above: Sanna’s ‘Kukkuluuruu’ design.


What colour palette are you most drawn to? This constantly evolves and changes. The colourway for Kukkuluuruu was fun to create.

Your designs have a magical, childlike aspect to them – how does your childhood influence your designs? Childhood memories and experiences influence my work in a big way. They were the days when I travelled on fishing expeditions to Lapland, the times where I fell in love with the lands above the Arctic Circle. A lot of my designs draw from those memories, it’s nice to revisit them and bring them to life again.

Words by: Catherine Steel

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