Paja&Bureau was founded in Helsinki in the beginning of 2016 by former schoolmates Eetu Envqvist and Nino Hynninen, but the seeds of the vision were planted originally in Swaziland, Spring 2008.
Eetu and Nino became friends during their metal artisan studies in Nummela and from early on they shared a similar passion for the craft and material as well as an ambition to create and share inspiring objects with the world. During their second year of studies an opportunity to carry out an internship in Africa presented itself and the duo embarked on a formative journey toward design entrepreneurship. The Spring 2008 was spent in Swaziland working on silver and gold jewellery in a local jewellery factory, applying for future university studies as well as immersing themselves in local culture and surroundings which made a huge impact in both designers’ lives.
After the shared artisan studies the duo went on to attend separate design university studies in Finland, but continued to work on shared projects and design competitions as well as cultivating the dream of a shared company. After Nino’s graduation the professional void left by finishing school and the lack of Finnish companies with a sufficiently significant and honest contemporary material-based design approach in metal started to clarify the need for the next leaps for the colleagues.
In 2015 one of the biggest steps were taken with the decision of the company name, Paja&Bureau, which was the perfect amalgamation of the visions of the founders: Paja, meaning workshop (specifically metal) in Finnish, and Bureau, which represents the “office”. The name was first used during Helsinki Design Week 2015 where the duo were in charge of the technical production of the festival’s main event.
The following year saw the official birth of the company as it acquired joint-stock company status. To celebrate the coming out to the design scene the duo created a unique and provoking design show Primitive Feast for Ventura Lambrate during the Milan Design Week in 2016. The exhibition featured a collection of sculptural one-off objects and pieces of furniture that were inspired by Eetu and Nino’s work and inspiration in metal from their shared studies up to this point. All the while the search for a suitable location to house the fledgling design studio was going on and after several potential workshops were scouted the dream space presented itself in the most unexpected place in the heart of Ullanlinna area. By the end of the year the company had moved its operations from Nino’s garage to the unique workshop space on Korkeavuorenkatu and on top of becoming the home for Paja&Bureau the workshop-studio turned into an eclectic co-working space for 10 jewellery smiths, interior designers, journalists and many others who’ve shared the space over the years.
Over the next few years Eetu and Nino developed the business and honed their professional skills in addition to evolving the workshop space also into a cultural scene of exhibitions and other events. The first Paja&Bureau SIDE SHOW -group exhibition was organized in the workshop gallery and has since become a staple of the Helsinki Design Week festival.
Early on Paja&Bureau became a haven for international student interns from all around Europe, especially from France, and has hosted numerous future designers training in both metal work skills as well as the design aspects of the profession. The previous intern, Mathieu, went on to become the company’s first employee and moved to Helsinki permanently. Since the very beginning the vision of Eetu and Nino has been to design and produce their own line of furniture. The vision has patiently evolved into ideas, concepts and prototypes over the years. Now the time has come to share the vision with the rest of the world with 2021 seeing the dawn of the first Paja&Bureau furniture collection.
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