Nikari was founded in 1967 in Seinäjoki, next to Nikkarinkoski river. The company name is a play with the Finnish word “nikkari”, meaning a cabinet maker, the name of the area Nikkarinkoski (meaning “the river stream of the cabinet maker”) and the founder’s own name, Kari Virtanen.
HISTORY – YEARS
1967 Nikari is founded in Osthrobothnia by cabinet maker Kari Virtanen and the first project with Alvar Aalto Architect
Office lasts 7 years
1977 Kari Virtanen and Kaj Franck exhibit together for the first time in Helsinki
1987 Kari Virtanen receives the Scandinavian Bruno Mathsson Award
1993 Nikari moves to Fiskars village, center for Finnish art and design
1993 Kari Virtanen receives the SIO (Finnish association of interior architects) Furniture Designer of the Year award
1993 The Fruit Bowl designed by Kari Virtanen is chosen into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
1996 The co-operation between Rudi Merz and Kari Virtanen begins
1998 Steven Holl chooses the KVT2 to be the visitors’ chair of Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki
2005 Kari Virtanen receives the State Prize for Design
2006 Rudi Merz receives the annual award of Finnish Association of Artists and Designers
2007 Nikari celebrates its 40 years
2009 Kari Virtanen receives the Pro Finlandia medal from The President of Finland
2010 Generation shift: the new entrepreneur generation begins to operate the company. License manufacturing of Nikari products is begun in Kyoto, Japan
2012 The “12 DESIGNS FOR NATURE” product development project is made to celebrate the Helsinki Design Capital year. It receives a lot of international acclaim and the company participates in an international furniture fair for the first time.
2014 “5 STUDIES for nature” project is made together with 5 universities around the world (Helsinki, Guangdong, Toronto, Milan, Stockholm)
2017 Nikari celebrates the 50th anniversary with a theme “50 years of stories”. The book “WORKING WITH WOOD – a Nordic perspective on cabinetmaking” is published.
2020 Nikari Ltd and Woodnotes Ltd join forces continuing as separate brands, yet merging some parts of the operations. Johanna Vuorio begins to work as CEO for both companies.
2022 Kari Virtanen is awarded the prestigious Kaj Franck Design Award.