Maker. Artist. Industrial Designer. 

“I grew up in a family of makers – and surrounded by design."

“Making, designing, art — it's in my blood. When I was a kid, we were surrounded by makers. My father is Finnish and we grew up with timeless and collectable Finnish design classics. Handcrafted modernist furniture, pieces that are still in use today, were created by my grandfather. My grandmother made ceramic lamps, tailored her own suits, and loved creating wonderful food. My mother is a graphic designer, and when I was growing up she was studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art. I spent a lot of time on campus, and we went to exhibition openings and lectures together. This was my world.”

Finnish-Canadian Elizabeth Salonen is a multidisciplinary designer, and founder of Mottoform Design Studio

In 2005, Salonen moved to Helsinki and established Mottoform, a design studio now based in Canada. Her work includes: artwork, product design, textile, surface, interior spaces, and collectible furniture and objects for the home.

Salonen has a love for materiality and fine craftsmanship. Throughout her career she’s explored materials to create collectible 2- and 3-D objects. Nordic influences are evident in the form language of her designs, and in the desire to explore the narrative of materials, craft, tradition, and techniques.

Often inspired by her local surroundings, she sees beauty in everyday life: a walk near the water, observing nature, textures, found objects, and the small things we forget to notice.

“In my work I hope to contribute a sense of wellbeing to objects we use and spaces we live, to spark curiosity, a memory, or a smile.”

Salonen is interested in creating art and products with a long life. “I care less about trends, and more about designing art or product that will survive fashion.” In a world flush with throwaway culture, Salonen seeks to create products and artwork that are enjoyed for many generations. Her versatility can be seen in products and artwork for international brands, such as lighting, textile, wallpaper, furniture, watches, and homewares.

Salonen's work has earned international awards and recognition, and in 2012 she was selected as Industrial Designer of the Year in Finland – awarded by Ornamo.