Estonian designer Johanna Tammsalu searches for the hidden potential in everyday objects and creates products through a process of experimentation. She brought her Solid Spin lamps to London last month.
Based in Tallinn, Estonia, Johanna Tammsalu – founder of Tamma Design – searches for the hidden potential in everyday objects.
Her Solid Spin lamps were the result of her experiments with spinning items such as shoes, keys and sunglasses. She brought them to London’s Clerkenwell Design Week last month.
Tell us about the Solid Spin lamps
Solid Spin is a collection of three glossy lamps, made using slipcast moulding. They were designed two or three years ago, but the project took years – and countless broken lamps – to finish as they were so technically complicated.
It was a conceptual project – I wanted to see what would happen when I spun everyday objects – mugs, forks, books – to see what shapes would be created.
I took long-shutter pictures and videos of this process, but I wasn’t satisfied – I wanted to make the outline more solid and clear. I moved onto spinning the objects on 3D software, around their own axes and others, and also stacked in groups. This created interesting results – and a more precise outline.
There were endless possibilities, but I eventually settled on three objects – shoes, keys and sunglasses – and these are what the final lamps are based on.
What is your background and how does it influence your work?
After finishing school, I went to London to study creative adverting and photography. I worked for a little while in the media, but realised it wasn’t for me – I came from a family of designers and I liked working with my hands.
Then I went to Madrid to complete a master’s in conceptual design. The course was led by Jaime Hayon and his influence – the fun shapes, the primary colours – can definitely be seen in my work. I mixed my Nordic background with his brave style, and incorporated my experience in advertising, which allows me to see the big picture.
What are your plans for the future?
I enjoy working with artisans – many small and medium-sized producers put their heart and soul into their work but are being left behind because of modern manufacturing techniques.
I’d like to explore ceramics further and I’d also like to work more with glass.