Martin Pärn
KNOK design

"Hello, I am Martin Pärn, an Estonian designer, 32 years old. Besides working as an industrial designer in my own consultancy KNOK (design) together with my wife, I also teach as associate professor in Industrial Design department in the Estonian Academy of Arts and act as a chairman of the Estonian Association of Designers.

What is happening today in Estonian design? It is clearly a developing field with a quite high potential. Today design is used primarily in furniture, textile and fashion industries, in the fields where it is really difficult to succeed without the help of design. In general, the use of design is pretty incidental rather than a steady strategic process. But things are moving.

We usually work with small Estonian companies, which are not so financially sound. The financial shortage and limited possibilities of our companies on one hand is a problem, but it builds a very demanding context and can be viewed as a chance to create simple, strong and genuine solutions. If we are able to succeed in our limited conditions, I believe it offers our designers a cutting edge also in European Union. I do not see why European companies shouldn’t come also to Estonia and find use for our skills.

What is happening on a State level? With our association we have managed to bring the Economic Ministry to the state where they have started to show some interest towards the role of design in economic life. We have carried out a thorough analysis of design use and possibilities. Today we are working to bring our design policy into action.

Some changes on the international stage are noticeable as well. Here and there our designers step into the picture. Perhaps it is just a curiosity towards the new cultures of the EU, but it must show that there is something to talk about."