Interview with Jaanus Orgussar
A native Estonian, Jaanus Orgusaar began in 2010 with his design project where he explores the forms of nature through creating furniture designs from sustainable production, resulting in furniture that combines simplicity and refined beauty.
You pay special attention to minimizing your carbon footprint as much as possible, from the choice of raw materials to the distribution of the final product. Why this effort? How does it reflect in your product? Do you think it is valued by your clients?
We try to keep the package as small, lightweight and flat as possible, so the shipping cost and hence the footprint stays low. We use raw material from our region only, also to avoid long transportation and reduce costs. This benefits both us and the clients, as due to this we can offer free shipping for the flatpack products. Also it makes it less painful to order from another country, as the footprint is small, and Estonian market is too small for us.
Dune bookself, available in two sizes: S and L.
In addition to furniture, you have begun to design and manufacture small sustainable modular cabins, what is the reason behind this incursion into architecture? Will Jaanus Orgusaar become a name of reference in the design of modular homes in the future?
Yes, this has been our aim for the past 4 years. We are now moving on
with the temporary small living units and tents. Also the Noa cabin. Our
aim is to advocate for simple minimal living. Architecture, holy
geometry and creating holistic spaces has been my main interest for the
past 5 years. I hope we will have some success in spreading the good
ideas to help people solve housing problems with small spaces.
Noa tiny house and Dome greenhouse aerial video
In your story you talk about one of the great figures of design and architecture worldwide: Alvar Aalto. Do you see yourself as a reference of Estonian design? What are your references in your professional career?
This was a reference by one of our loyal clients, not my own. Our designs are very popular with the local audience, and it’s an honour that people like the designs and recognise it. I have received the Bruno award for the bookshelf Comb, it was also nominated for most wanted products by the magazine Wired UK in 2012. But the best recognition is when the product is bestselling on some popular design platforms, side-by-side with many design icons. Our tiny house NOA also received a lot of press coverage in 2012 and is still published in many professional editions and books regarding tiny houses and holiday houses.
In Spain we do not hear much about Estonia, much less about its architecture and design. How would you describe Estonian style? How do you see the future of the sector in your country?
Estonian design is probably not as minimalistic as that of Scandinavia. We use wood and plywood as material a lot. There are no big design and furniture industries here, so that’s probably the reason, as plywood can be worked with by just a CNC bench. The future seems bright, as we are a young country, and the design scene is now really booming, also international recognition.
Historically, Nordic design has been a reference, in Europe and worldwide. What do you think this success is due to? What do you think is the differential factor between Nordic design and that of other places?
I would say the success is due to its minimalistic, simple style,
that is elegant, timeless, high-quality. The design language of the
North is different due to cultural, climatic and aesthetic reasons. The
minimalistic colors of the cold climate, everything is scratched down to
the core, bare minimal. Estonians for example are also more in touch
with the forest and nature in general than the average European citizen.
We all have country houses and escape from the city in May- September.
That’s where the inspiration comes for me.