The interior architect Samuli Naamanka is a designer with exceptionally wide-ranging skills. A keen interest in different ways of living, scales and materials has produced individual and ground-breaking results ranging from patented manufacturing processes of graphic concrete to lamps, and from architectural projects to bio-degradable chairs. The creative exploitation of technical innovations combined with a very well-considered design language have assured Naamanka of a distinguished place among designers both nationally and internationally.

© SAMULI NAAMANKA, Reseptori Ltd- All Rights Reserved

Summer Meadow, 2017

Talvikangas School, city of Oulu, 2017 Summer Meadow Outdoor stairs artwork by Samuli Naamanka Architecture: M3 architects. Photo Mika Friman Samuli Naamanka

Graphic concrete innovation, 1998

Graphic concrete is a patented technology invented by the founder of Graphic Concrete company, interior architect Samuli Naamanka. The inspiration was to create a true industrial product for large-scale surfaces, a tool with which architects could be more visually creative. Method enables new high-quality solutions and textures for architecture and interior design. It is a surface treatment for concrete, which opens up versatile visual possibilities. Its competitive edge lies in the method’s low production costs, the improved occupational safety and the numerous graphic alternatives it offers. It is a unique industrial product, which meets the requirements of modern architecture. Graphic Concrete is produced at a prefabrication plant using a special coated membrane. The membrane is printed on pre-defined points with conventional printing technology, using surface retarder. The designed pattern is created on the concrete slab surface as a result of the contrast between fair face and exposed fine aggregate surface. Image is generated on the concrete surface as a few mm deep relief. The coated membrane can be used to produce both traditional exposed aggregate concrete surfaces and surfaces with various patterns. It is suitable for façade, partition wall elements and floor slabs, as well as in landscaping products and works of art. The method provides an effective alternative to the traditional reel or brush spreading of retard on treated surfaces. Graphic Concrete method allows precast concrete manufacturers to produce high-quality concrete elements and slabs, and offers designers a new range of surface products. Graphic Concrete Ltd. takes part in the building process throughout the planning, casting and building phases until the final concrete surfaces are unveiled and become public. The benefits of the Graphic Concrete technique are particularly visible on large façade surfaces. Designers can use the halftone patterns from the existing collection or design their own patterns or even create individual images. The designers can also influence in the appearance of the surface by selecting the size, the color and the exposure depth of the cement stone and the aggregate. The special membrane is 3.4 meters wide and available in any length. 

The method has been used in several countries in Europe and the first projects have been launched in the United States, Japan, Australia, India and Middle East. Many world-renowned architects have already used Graphic Concrete technique. Just to mention one Foster+Partners, Co-architects Epstein used Graphic Concrete in SC Johnsons Fortaleza Hall “ Project Honor” in USA in 2010. Competitions and awards: Honourable mention in the Façade 2004 competition - Aare M. Mattinen Foundation 2009 - The Habitare Collection 2009 by the Finnish Fair Corporation and the Design Museum 2009 - Best Material 2011 at the Material Xperience in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2011. Graphic concrete is a patented technology in EU, USA, Canada, S-Korea, China, Brasilia and S-Africa

BACKGROUND Samuli Naamanka found concrete as a building material very interesting and wanted to learn more about it. Helsinki University of Art and Design offered a concrete course in 1996, which seemed suitable for the purpose. The aim of the course was to examine the new look of concrete and the final work was to design Pikku Huopalahti Concrete Park together with its products. He studied aesthetic values of the concrete façade as a material and the method how to threat the concrete surface texture in an industrially sensible way. As a result of the study he made an innovation, ”Graphic Concrete, a method of creating a patterned concrete surfaces”, which became also the subject of his final thesis in Helsinki University of Art and Design. The challenge was also the application of this technology in precast concrete production. The method was patented in February 1999 and named as Graphic Concrete. Same name was officially registered in his company’s auxiliary business name. In 2000 a product development project was launched. It was attended by the leading concrete factories, paper manufacturers and printing laboratories, and was run by his company Reseptori ltd. The project was financed by Finnish concrete companies and Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. After the R&D project in 2002 Samuli Naamanka, engineer Veli-Pekka Rydenfelt and D. Tech Risto Mannonen founded the company called Graphic Concrete Ltd. Later, Graphic Concrete Ltd announced the appointment of its first Managing Director, D. Tech Harri Lanning for the productization of the technology. 

The Clash furniture series.

Producer NAAMANKA products 

Clash 231, 2002, 
ADEX Platinum, FX Award, Grand Prix Mobitex

The Clash 231 range was named after its production method. There are no visible attachments in the seat and legs of the chair, as these are joined to each other by clashing the parts together – hence the name Clash. The solution for linking the chairs in rows is genius in simplicity, creating a feeling of grace and dignified subtlety.

Competitions and awards 2004 First prize, Grand Prix Mobitex (Clash chair) 2004 First prize, ADEX Platinum (Clash chair) 2003 First prize, FX Award, London (Clash chair) Clash 231 is selected on the Helsinki Design Museum’s permanent collections.

Producer NAAMANKA products 

Clash 235, 2007 

Clash 235 is an elegant fixture solution for lounges. Due to the reversal and spring mechanism it is comfortable to sit on it for long-term, so it can also be used in a relaxed meeting environment. The chair has front upholstery. The base is available with a four pointed star base or flange leg.

Producer Naamanka

Calsh 232, 2003 

Clash 232 is version with armrests of the chair Clash 231

Producer Naamanka  products 

Clash 234, 2005 

Clash 234 series has been designed for spaces with prolonged seating such as conference rooms. Due to the large seat Clash 234 chair is comfortable to sit on. The chair comes with armrests and has a four-leg or star base. The four legged Clash 234 is also available without armrests. 

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 239 / 237, 2005

Clash 237 and 239 stools are pieces of art. The beautiful and organic shape of the seat creates harmonic and graceful atmosphere to the space. The seats are also available with upholstery. Optional row connection (Clash 239)

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 239 bench ,2005

Clash 239 bench - row connection (Clash 239)

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 431, 2018

The Clash 431, 2018 Novelty in Clash collection, a wooden stackable universal chair. ”The idea for the wooden stackable Clash chair became from the need of architects and designers. There was no such a chair in Clash collection and in the other hand need for this type of a chair is in the projects all over. Like a speciality the chair stacks strait upwards so it is possible to store the chairs beside the wall, so the special storage spaces are not needed.” – tells Naamanka. 

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 331, 2017

 Clash 331 chair is an outstanding all-purpose chair. Clash 331 is a chair designed for both public spaces and modern homes. The seat is form pressed plywood and the legs are solid wood. 

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 337, 2017 

Clash 337 and 339 stools are pieces of art. The beautiful and organic shape of the seat creates harmonic and graceful atmosphere to the space. The seats are also available with upholstery.  

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 339, 2017 

The beautiful and organic shape of the seat creates harmonic and graceful atmosphere to the space. The seats are also available with upholstery.

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 836 / 837 table , 2014 

Clash 836 / 837, 2014 Clash 836 is a beautiful and light wooden table, which can be enlarged to fit the measurements of a large conference table. 40 mm thick table top enables the table to be build without support frame. This way there is more space for seating under the table. The edges of the table top have been lightened to give the table delicate look. The table top is available in solid wood and Clash 837 veneer or laminate coating with distinguishable veneer edge. The legs are solid wood. The table is also obtainable as round and in different heights. A hatch for electricity comes as an accessory.  

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 835 coffee table, 2006

Clash 835 coffee table is suitable to be used as a lounge table. The table top is available in birch, ash, oak, standard satained alternatives or laminate. The surface of the frame has been finished with chrome.

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 834 table. 2004

Complying with the Clash appearance, Clash 834 table is suitable to be used as a meeting table for example. The shape of the frame gives room for seating on the sides and in the ends of the table. The table top is available in veneer or laminate. The surface of the frame has been finished with chrome. Hatch for electric wires comes as an accessory.

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash folding chair. 2009

Special design to Oulu Art Museum folding furnitures, Oulu, Finland, 2009 

Producer Naamanka products 

Clash 335 lounge chair, 2018

Clash 335 chair is an outstanding lounge chair. Clash 335 is a chair designed for both public spaces and modern homes.

Producer Naamanka products 

Lilja Modular Sofa, 2017 

Lilja is a seating system for public spaces with four different modules. The modules are easy to combine which makes it possible to use them in many kinds of interiors. 

Producer Naamanka products 

Linja Sofa, 2017

 The curved and flowing shapes created for Linja are a rare phenomenon in the world of soft furniture because their manufacture requires high-quality, and training. The back merges into the armrest in a single line – hence  the name Linja – in English, 

 Producer Softrend 


Introducing a blend of modern minimalism and striking form - Source International debuts their newest addition, Garden. Inspired by “Honest Scandinavian Style,” Garden brings dimension and balance through clean lines as it is tailored for high functionality and durability yet remains refined in design. Simply put, Garden is artful, effortless and modern.
Sustainability was at the top of his mind when Finnish designer Samuli Naamanka carefully designed Garden. Naamanka develops products that are made to last as he selects quality materials that will amplify his designs. Steel, being the most recycled material on the planet and allowing for versatility for indoor/outdoor seating, made it the obvious material of choice for Garden. More than 80 million tons of steel are recycled each year. Naamanka expresses the beauty in the form that steel can create as it melds strength with delicate, beautiful sculptures. The contours of the metal seat and back slats create comfort as they mold to the human form. Garden offers durability merged with an ergonomic design and comfort.

Garden is ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 tested and features electrophoresis-coating to provide better corrosion resistance and help to preserve the powder coat color. Available in 16 powder coat colors, It can stack 10 high on the floor, and 20 high on a dolly.

Producer Source International, USA

Garden stool,2022

Producer Source International, USA

Mojo, 2020

Mojo: a small scale multipurpose chair with a modern look that fits every space — office, home, or hospitality.
Mojo is an easy choice, embodying “multipurpose.” The simplicity of its form brings a precise aesthetic to any working, meeting, or dining area. In one moment, Mojo grounds your focus on the task at hand. In the next, the chair embraces you comfortably at the dining table. This, in thanks to its small scale, both armless and lightweight.
“The chair is a miniature architecture - a tool to create sophisticated and functional interiors… beautiful to look at and comfortable to sit in. Its slightly rounded seat, angular shapes, and cushioned shell make Mojo aesthetically an excellent item for the home office,” says the chair’s designer, Samuli Naamanka. Naamanka is an award-winning interior architect and product designer from Finland — a country heralded for beautifully designed plywood products from Alvar Aalto and his contemporaries. “As a Finnish designer, it is natural to use plywood and beautifully bent legs made as light as possible. To me, designing sustainable products is a matter of using long-lasting materials that are recyclable like iron or steel, or compostable like wood. However, the most important thing is to design products that have a long life cycle - which means well-designed products,” offers Naamanka.
The chair can be specified with wood or metal legs. 23 Source International standard wood finishes are available for the wood — 16 powder-coated steel finishes for the metal. For the corporate or home office, a swivel base with height adjustment and tilt is available in polished aluminum, matte black, or dark bronze finish. The swivel base comes with either casters or glides. The fully upholstered shell allows any upholstery option, including the most cleanable or antimicrobial solutions.
Mojo passes ANSI/BIFMA testing and comes with Source International’s standard Lifetime Structural Warranty.

Producer Source International, USA

Mojo Swivel Arm,2022

Producer Source International, USA

Viiva, 2019

Viiva is dedicated to simplicity, beauty, and practicality. The Viiva family has clean, uninterrupted lines, showcasing a lack of exposed hardware. Samuli says his design inspiration came from “the translation of the word Viiva in Finnish which means “line”. The goal was to keep the eye focused on the refined details of the chair, the tapered solid wood back, the waterfall seat and the inherent elegance of the uncomplicated and straightforward product. Chairs can be specified with wood or upholstered seats and stools are offered in 30”, 24”, and 18” seat height (also being considered an end table for flexibility purposes).
Along with the introduction of Viiva, Source International is enhancing the offering of painted metal finishes. Source continues to stay true to its mission of introducing well designed products and responsible pricing.
Viiva passes ANSI/BIFMA testing and comes with Source International’s standard Lifetime Structural Warranty. 

Producer Source International, USA

Viiva stool, 2019

Producer Source International, USA

METEOR Collection modular monolithic benches, 2015 

METEOR Collection modular monolithic bench, lightened inside, available in Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) or Performance Concrete (HPC), depending on the type of use, in linear, sector or Y versions. Available finishes are ALFA for Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) and VELVET for Performance Concrete (HPC). Fixings: free standing.

Producer METALCO, Italy

METEOR  provided by Graphic concrete® material 

METEOR GRAFIC bench system is the outcome of the possibilities provided by innovative Graphic concrete® material as well as manufacturer Il Cantiere Srl. knowledge of in the area spanning architecture and interior design, is recognised as being the best interpreter of ultra-high performance
concrete worldwide.

Producer Il Cantiere Srl

Compos collection  100 % biodegradable natural composite fibre, 2009

 Behind the ecological COMPOS collection is a material innovation – the seats and tabletops are produced from 100 % biodegradable natural composite fibre. The material does not contain any oil-based substances. The steel frame is coated with environmentally friendly eco-chrome plating. The collection currently contains Café, Conference, Bar Stool and Lobby of chairs and a Café table.

Samuli Naamanka has also participated in Compos natural fiber material product development for furniture industry. ( HUOKO – Project, 2006-2008 )

Compos series in Piiroinen production of the years 2009-2014. 

Modern art museum Kiasma cafe, Helsinki, Compos Cafe chairs

"Since  of 2006  I conducted a 3-year study on pressing natural fibers for the requirements of the furniture industry. The goal was to obtain folds and curves in three directions and the relative thicknesses of the material. We started with the premise of using only organic materials, which we fully achieved with the Compos chair. It's important to note that the cost of the moulds for this type of technology, compared with those for plastic or aluminum, is much lower, meaning that the production of a 3D chair can be done with a reduced investment. One of the most significant advantages by comparison to plastic chairs is the temperature of the surface, which is much warmer, making it more pleasant to sit in".

Ligtness, 2015

The Lightness chair family has focused on functionality, great design, and carefully finished details. The strong, plastic forms of both the seat and backrest are created with the Grada material and outstanding design. The efficient stacking and the light, strong structure make the Lightness chair ideally suited for many different purposes.

Producer Isku 

October Light, 2015

 October Light is made of solid birch and molded birch plywood, surface treatment water-based lacquer. The designer’s words of the original October chair seem very appropriate for this lighter than light version as well: “October chair was inspired by the rainy but colourful Finnish autumn. My goal was to design a stackable chair - the October winds had their special effect on the light forms and curves.”

Producer Nikari

October 2012 

October 2012 “OCTOBER chair was inspired by the rainy but colourful Finnish autumn. My goal was to design a stackable chair - the October winds had their special effect on the light forms and curves.” October chair is made of ash, and the surface treatment is a natural vegetable oil mixture.  October is a handmade, very light and versatile little chair. It was designed as a part of the Nikari “12 DESIGNS FOR NATURE” project that celebrated the Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 year. The project was made in collaboration with internationally acknowledged designers and the WWF Finland by publishing a new piece of wooden furniture every month throughout the World Design Capital year.

© SAMULI NAAMANKA - All Rights Reserved

Sade 2012

Sade 2012 Sade chair is light and stackable multipurpose chair. Designing the Sade chair has been studied in a light plywood construction. The exact design and the skill of woodworking stiffens the structure have made it possible. Sade chair represents the traditional Finnish wood expertise in trying to technical limits.

Award : a dozen journalists 2012 Habitare Furniture Fair , Finland

Arktis production of the years 2012-2018.
© SAMULI NAAMANKA - All Rights Reserved

Lambada 2013 

The Lambada ceramic lampshades are handmade in Finland. The vigorous shape and smooth matt surface of the ceramic shade invite you to run your hand along its surface. Lambada is a soft, elegant lamp and fits well into classic as well as modern interiors, either on its own or in groups.

Producer Innolux

Concrete Table Lamp , 2015

Producer Innolux 

Suger Mama 2012

Suger Mama 2012 Suger Mama Lamp is a celing lamp that has the shade with an organic shape like a snail entirely realized with polylactic acid made out of starch sugar, 100% biodegradable. Material: aluminium frame. Shade in polylactic acid.

© SAMULI NAAMANKA - All Rights Reserved

ROLL ON Lamp Shade, 2010 ECODESIGN AWARD WINNERS 2010, Helsinki Habitare, judge by Ingo Maurer. 

The Lamp shade material polylactic acid made out of starch sugar, 100% biodegradable.  

© SAMULI NAAMANKA - All Rights Reserved


UNI is the chair made out of two moulded plywood components. WINNER OF NORDIC DESIGN PRIZE 2008 Comments:
“New, interesting and technically demanding construction”, 
“The proportions and design are thoroughly thought of”, 
“Fresh but discreet appearance”, 
“Minimal material loss: the spare parts are used in other products”
-light and stackable multipurpose chair.
 Producer Avarte Oy ( the company Avarte closed down in 2013 ) Uni chair production of the years 2008-2013. 

SIDES  2007

SIDES. Soviet Fighters, Part II, Martela, 2007 Sides is assembled from three parts - two leg parts and a seat made of pressed veneer that is glued between them. “Finland imports some aluminium that was used in old Soviet fighters,” explains Mr. Naamanka. It is melted and reused, and it may well be that the aluminium used for the Sides chairs has been circling the Siberian expanse.  

Hohto 2014

Hohto INCLUDED AS PART OF THE Habitare’s EcoDesign exhibition in La Triennale Di Milano 2014 UPM Grada’s forming properties enable the Hohto chairs unique 3D form. First launch with Hallingdal upholstery fabric by Kvadrat.

Jiella 2008

 Jiella is a suspended wooden chair utilising spherical geometry. The structure consists of molded laminated battens cut from one laminate veneer sheet. The inner veneer layers are birch, while the surface is ash, walnut, oak or beech. The molded laminated parts are pulled together at the ends of the battens by means of steel shafts from which the chair can be suspended. The airy geometry is based on easy assembly and packing: the curved wooden elements can be interlapped to make a flat package. Jiella is delivered to the client in a package including the wooden parts, a leather cushion, hanging equipment and simple assembly instructions.

© SAMULI NAAMANKA - All Rights Reserved

Baiskeli 2012 

Baiskeli means bicycle in Swahili. Baiskeli is a bike bag. It can be attach to bike rack or handlebar. Two leather straps are adjustable to upper direction. Shoulder strap folds under the front buckles when you are riding. It can easily hold a laptop computer and can be used as a shoulder bag only. Baiskeli is made partly from recycled materials. The base is made from car tyres and the buckles of the bag is made from recycled brass. Inside the bag you´ll find a big zipper pocket. Baiskeli bag is handcrafted at Rift Valley Leather, which operates a continuous training programme, conducted by Robert (who has extensive international training experience), both to enhance existing skills and introduce new techniques to the work force. RVL adheres to an equal opportunities employment policy.

Producer Mifuko

Aamu 2008

Aamu. Every morning (Aamu) the world is created. I created morning (Aamu) to the fabric and maybe the sun is shining through it - in Tokyo.

Producer Svensson Markspelle

Take Nord Shape TRIENNALE DI MILANO 2012

Take Nord Shape TRIENNALE DI MILANO 2012 Graphic surfaces for architecture   by Samuli Naamanka, Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson Samuli Naamanka´s company Reseptori Ltd was responsible for the organization, the design part and the production of the exhibition. Samuli Naamanka was the artistic director of the project and selected all the design objects and participating cooperation firms.

Take Nord Shape is a project with a decidedly Nordic slant dedicated to architecture and design. Conceived as a traveling exhibition.   The project takes form in the Graphic Concrete Pavilion, realized and exhibited in the garden of the Triennale di Milano with the aim of examining issues relative to ecological architecture and eco-friendly design. The architectural project, which adheres to the principles of sustainable development, bears the signatures of the Norwegian architect office of Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson. Finnish architect Samuli Naamanka is responsible instead for inventing the innovative exterior treatment called Graphic Concrete, a patented product from which the pavilion takes its name and that exploits the interesting graphic possibilities offered by concrete surfaces. The Italian company TRUZZI, specialists in pre-fabricated concrete, is the sponsor of the initiative and collaborated actively in developing Graphic Concrete and in building the pavilion. TRUZZI is also directly involved in popularizing and commercializing the Graphic Concrete technology on the Italian market. Furthermore all the internal and external lighting system of the pavilion is realized with Saas Instruments LED technology products.

Also on display are products and furnishing accessories designed by Samuli Naamanka, some in collaboration with other designers, for a number of enlightened Finnish manufacturers – ARKTIS, PIIROINEN, PLASTEXDESIGN, SAAS Instruments – selected on the basis of the sensitivity they’ve demonstrated in the use of and research on biodegradable, organic recyclable and other green materials consistent with the ecological theme of the show. Noteworthy among the designs presented is a new biodegradable composite natural fiber, made in Finland of 100% local wood and linen. 

Take Nord Shape is part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 program and it is sponsored by the Arts Council of Finland, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Employment and Economy

*The MilanoFuori Salone 2012 event follows two other exhibitions entitled Take Nord Shape and curated by Samuli Naamanka, Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertssonand and curated by Nicol Gale, Daria Křivinková a Rostislav Koryčánek. The first was held at the Brno House of Arts, Czech Republic, 23.09 – 1.11.2009, the second at the Jaroslav Fragner Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic, 05 - 28.03.2010.

“ The project of the pavillion The concrete pavilion for the Triennale is a showcase architecture for the project of designer Samuli Naamanka. The structure has two purposes. Firstly, the outer skin will be an exhibition of the Graphic Concrete designs of Samuli Naamanka. Therefore the pavilion is made of concrete, and is offering several surfaces for these designs, exposed to different directions and light situations in the Triennale Park. Secondly, the pavilion houses furniture and lamp designs by Naamanka. For this purpose the whole is composed of smaller rooms or wings, each housing one family of design objects. These spaces have all their own type of natural light, culminating in the central high space with top light and sky view. At the same time, in order to guarantee a good flow of audience and easy accessibility, the house has door openings towards all directions. In other words the pavilion is designed to be both seen and entered from all sides evenly. As this is at the same a temporary exhibition structure, the whole thing is made of pre-fabricated concrete elements, easy to dismantle and transport to the next destination after the Triennale. It is thought that this temporality and dynamics can very well be expressed in the end result, reminding of a house of cards put together to form a series of spaces to be experienced by the visitors.”

Tomoto tableware set, 2009, 100% biobased composite

Tomoto tableware set, 2009 Tomoto bowls and multifunctional lids represent totally new kind of thinking, consuming and most of all, serving. Tomotos are made of 100% biobased composite. Tomotos are made of nonoil based renewable natural material. Put the soup to the bowl, keep it warm with the lid and use the lid as a tapas tray at the same time. Serve simply with style!

Producer Plastex Design 

Suomi Steel by Samuli Naamanka ( Prototype series ) 2008

Fine brand image of Opa is due in large measure to the company close collaboration with top rank designers. Producer Opa - The oldest manufacturer of steel kitchenware in the Nordic countries. 

“ Arctic Reflection “ glass serie 

Samuli Naamanka launched part of his “ Arctic Reflection “ glass serie made in Nuutajärvi AS PART OF The FRENCH DESIGN CONNECTION exhibition in NY Design Week, May 17-20, 2014, Chambers Hotel 15 w 56th st New York, NY 10019.

Pattern design: Samuli Naamanka GCCollection™ Atom Cross ,2008

H.A.N.S Industrial Building Czech Republic, 2009 Architecture: Ing. arch. Jan Jarolímek Pattern design: Samuli Naamanka GCCollection™ Atom Cross Developer: H.A.N.S. stavby, a.s. Prefabrication: H.A.N.S. stavby, a.s.

Photo Ing. arch. Jan Jarolímek Aleš Jungmann MgA., QEP 

Artistic pattern design by Samuli Naamanka for Ishimoto Architects / 7 kimono facades the Semba Center Building, Osaka, Japan, 2015.

Semba Center Building, Osaka, Japan, 2015 Just a couple of years ago the Semba Center Building in Osaka, Japan, was an unsightly bazaar-like complex of ten buildings housing textile companies in the city centre, dividing Osaka in two. Originally built in and norway flyover, the Semba Center Building had reached such an age that the officials demanded its renovation to reinforce its brick façade against the possibility of earthquakes and to prevent the bricks from cracking and falling.

Ishimoto Architectural & Engineering Firm, Inc was selected to carry out the project. The architects at Ishimoto were assigned the task of rejuvenating the urban image while at the same time highlighting the textile activities that take place within the Semba Center Building. This inspired the poetic idea of somehow incorporating a traditional Kimono pattern.

Selecting the materials and agreeing to the renovation solution proved to be a lengthy process due to the variety of opinions and concerns of the merchants’ association representing the 800 tenants. Fortuitously, the fibre concrete manufacturer AGB presented the graphic concrete technique to Ishimoto’s architects just at the right time, shortly before the chief architect Mr. Tada’s private visit to Finland. Mr. Tada was very interested in the technology, so AGB and Graphic Concrete’s distributor in Japan arranged for Samuli Naamanka, founder of Graphic Concrete, to show Mr. Tada examples of how graphic concrete has been used in Finland. Ishimoto’s architects designed their own sketch of a Kimono pattern, but for the final version they wanted a more artistic touch. Following the visit of Mr. Tada to Finland, it seemed natural to ask Samuli Naamanka to design the final pattern.
“The assignment of designing the Kimono pattern was an extremely interesting challenge, as the kimono is a very traditional Japanese form of clothing. In my subsequent research I learned a lot about kimonos and their different varieties, such as Nami and Asanoha kimonos. I found out that each designer creates his or her own variation on the theme and that there is no one standard design,”. Originally the plan was to create a different design for each of the ten buildings at the Semba Center Building. To reduce costs, seven patterns were eventually chosen. The patterns were created using graphic concrete and perforated aluminium panels. “Combining the two materials supports both techniques and allows the patterns to be repeated and varied in an interesting way.
“From a designer’s perspective, it has been wonderful to see the look of surprise and delight on the faces of passersby when they notice the new look of the Semba Center Building. Ishimoto’s architects have also told us that the textile merchants themselves are very happy with the end result, and some of the construction workers have even asked them for their autographs,” . Location: 2-3-6 Senba Chuoh, Chuoh-ku, Osaka, Japan

NOUSUKIERRE Stockmann ramps 2009

”I received a very challenging task when the architect Pekka Laatio asked me to design an artwork to Kalevankatu Street Stockmann parking hall entrance into the ramps. Stockmann is main marketplace in the city of Helsinki.
My first thought was a familiar phrase in Finland, ”we meet in Stocks clock”. The idea that in the future reach Stockmann parking hall, run by a work of art felt good.
Graphic Concrete is a suitable and durable material for this place.
After countless sketches I decided a variation between figurative and abstract art. The artwork should melt into the cityscape, while in no way linked to Stockmann.
The artwork should be aesthetically withstand time. I sought robust graphical surfaces, which reflect the Stockmann’s beautiful and functional internal architecture, the monumental building perhaps the most beautiful and delicate detail: spiral staircase. ”


Suomenlinna 250-years old, an island in Helsinki, 1998. ( with Timo Salli )


MARTELA / DESIGN PARTNERS 2005 , Helsinki exhibition design

ECODESIGN 2010, Helsinki exhibition design

© SAMULI NAAMANKA - All Rights Reserved