The creative design and architectural agency Partanen & Lamusuo Ltd was born when a designer couple joined their forces. The win in a design competition at the Shanghai World Expo put speed in the process of creating a joint company.
Kuva: KariMattiAntero Puustinen
Jaana Partanen and Heikki Lamusuo took occasionally part in many design competitions together during their studies 30 years ago – and not without success. However, the couple had decided to offer their skills for their own companies – Partanen in the art world and Lamusuo as an architect.
– Ultimately, the local tax office contacted us and told us we would have an easier time with our taxes if we were in business together, Partanen laughs.
Around the same time, in 2008, the couple won the competition to design the Finnish national pavilion at the Expo 2010 Shanghai China together with Fantasia Works Oy. This endeavor brought the beginning of the joint effort closer to reality. Partanen & Lamusuo’s design included, among other things, designing the visual identity of the expo, manuscripts and artistic direction of the multimedia installations, as well as an Artist Guide project. 3.5 million visitors were expected at the exhibition, but the expectations were exceeded by more than 2 million visitors.
Kuva: Pekka Mäkinen
Not all Partanen & Lamusuo assignments have been that huge. The company is involved in varied projects, large and small, in various fields of business. In addition, Jaana Partanen has her own art exhibitions around the world.
– Whatever the project, it all starts with a creative process. For us, architecture, art and design are the tools with which we carry out our clients’ wishes, says Lamusuo.
Even though the entrepreneurs do have a collaborating team, they want to keep the company at a size that allows them to be personally involved in every project. That way, they can make sure they know what goes out to the world in their name. In addition to the Shanghai Expo, the couple has had other international projects and exhibitions around the world.
Partanen & Lamusuo has designed custom furniture throughout its existence, but recently the company has launched its own furniture line, called Palad. The line consists of furniture designed by the team, some of which can already be found at, for example, airports and cinemas. Lamusuo says he’s glad that now the furniture is available for companies and private consumers as well.
Kuva: KariMattiAntero Puustinen
Partanen & Lamusuo furniture has been used for designing the public spaces of the Kuopio University Hospital (KUH). In addition to the interior design of the public spaces at KUH, Partanen & Lamusuo have also designed the glass artwork called Evolution covering the façade of the Kaari Hospital building and functioning as a sun louvre as well. Thanks to the artwork, Kaari Hospital has been called the most beautiful hospital in Finland.
– Our motto is that we want to help our customers succeed in their chosen paths. Our best moments have been those when we’ve succeeded in that. Luckily, there’s been plenty of those, says Partanen.
One of those moments of success was when the Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän in Rantasalmi, designed by Partanen & Lamusuo, was elected as the Destination and Travel Company of the Year 2020 by the Finnish Guild of Travel Journalists. Partanen & Lamusuo think that in order to succeed, you just have to trust your own vision and work with empathy.
– Empathy is extremely important in any given field of business. Empathy is always the basis of our design; we try to emphaticize to the needs and wants of our customers when designing furniture. We design everything as if we were designing for ourselves. We even refer to ourselves as “empathy designers” or “emphatic actors”, says Partanen.
Partanen & Lamusuo’s work is also guided by the principle of enjoying what they do, whether alone, with a client or with their team. The entrepreneur couple says that you can see from the final result whether the work has been done from the heart and with empathy.
Text in Finnish: Minna Akiola