Medium: Fibre Arts
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Member Since: 2009
Marja Koskela was born and raised in Finland. She graduated with an MA in Industrial Design from the University of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, Finland. As an Industrial Designer, she worked throughout Europe for companies like Seimens, UNESCO, and the Finnish Occupational Institute of Health.
In 1997, she met her husband and moved to Canada. Upon their arrival in Vancouver, the husband and wife team founded Up and Down Productions, a contemporary wood furniture and home accessory design and marketing company. Following the birth of her first child, Oskar, in 1999, Marja decided to dedicate her time to her family, and this was her focus until 2002, when her second son, Kasper, was born. In 2002, she co-founded BARK, a Vancouver based design collective whose mandate is to raise the profile of Canadian Design at home and aboard. The group has exhibited all over the world, educating the public about the powers of Canadian creativity.
In 2005 Marja decided to return to the design business and founded her company mimi. Working from her home studio, she began using softer materials like wool, silk and cotton and concentrated mainly on toy design. Designing and handcrafting her own products for mimi has allowed Maria to take more of an experimental approach to her design process, which is very different from traditional Industrial Design practice. The inspiration and motivation behind each one of the mimi products comes from BC’s natural environment and from the exploration and experimental use of the selected material.
“Children’s play is a beautiful thing guided by imagination more than fixed rules. Mimi toys are designed and made to inspire creative, safe and fulfilling play. They are handcrafted with love in my North Vancouver, B.C. home studio. Enjoy.”