Kari Asikainen graduated from the Helsinki Institute for Applied Arts in 1966 with a degree in interior architecture. After graduation, Asikainen worked at various architecture firms, and has had his own firm, Kari Design, since 1983. Asikainen has designed furniture and interiors as well as taught design over the course of his extensive career. Asikainen has taught furniture design at the Helsinki University of Art and Design, and later went on to hold the post of Professor of Industrial Furniture Design there. He has also worked as the head of department at the Design Centre MUOVA in Vaasa. As an interior designer, his most notable projects include the interior designs of the Kannelmäki Church and the Tampere Workers’ Theatre.
However, Asikainen has always been more interested in furniture design, and is one of the best-known furniture designers in Finland. Asikainen is particularly recognized for being the designer of the Kari furniture collection for public interiors, of which the classic chair Kari 1 has been in production for over four decades. Kari Asikainen’s design philosophy is to strive for simple forms that stand the test of time and go well with both older and newer architecture. In his design work, Asikainen has sought to combine structural strength with lightness, functionality in different situations and good ergonomics, all without having to compromise aesthetics. He has also always been interested in experimenting with structures and materials. Asikainen was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Applied Arts in 1984, and in 1983, the Kari 3 chair designed by Asikainen won the Association of the Finnish Interior Architects Prize for the best Finnish public interior fixture of the year.
Kari 3 chair, P.O. Korhonen (1982)
Kari 1 chair, P.O. Korhonen (1969)
Smash chairs, P.O. Korhonen (1985)
Kyoto chair, Kurikan Puunalostustehdas Oy (1985)
Pikku-Kari, P.O. Korhonen (1985)
Carbonara chairs, P.O. Korhonen (1989)