In Review: ISKU’s MyFlow

We were back at the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, this time at the Finland Pavilion to review ISKU’s latest and sizable modular collection. MyFlow was, as the name suggests, a soft and elegant range of chairs, tables and lounge furniture that was just as beautifully designed as it was impressively high on the sustainability front. Designers Jamie Sandy from BSBG and Tia Lindqvist from GAJ joined us in our mutual appreciation of this low key, and power packed range.

Our first encounter with ISKU furniture was at the Finland pavilion at the EXPO 2020, where they furnished the conference and VIP floor of the Finland Majlis. Using the novel MyFlow furniture family and other beautiful products from their collections, ISKU delivered an exceptionally sophisticated yet comfortable experience that showed visitors exactly what Nordic design can do.

ISKU’s story began in 1928 when Eino Vikström founded the now global manufacturer in his basement. ISKU has been manufacturing and specialising in office furniture since the 1930s, and the brand is now in its third generation of family-run management. ISKU is known to deeply embed Finnish design philosophies in their products and is a pioneer in bringing sustainability and a love of nature to the industry.

Our review is focused on MyFlow, a large family of fantastic furniture solutions that make open, multi-purpose spaces flexible but intact in appearance and design.

The Review Crew

From left to right: Antti Olin, Design Director, ISKU; Jamie Sandy, Designer, BSBG; Tia Lindqvist, Designer, GAJ Architects

Inspired by Nature

One of two defining aspects of the MyFlow family is the consistency and uniformity of its design. According to Vertti Kivi, designer of this new collection, “I promised ISKU that I would design a collection with one form, and that would serve as a solution to multiple types of environments”.

Prior to MyFlow, ISKU did not have a comprehensive and versatile family to respond to the multifaceted needs of the market.

“We wanted a one-stop solution, but we also wanted something that reflects our design ethos and values,” explains Antti Olin, Design Director at ISKU. “We’ve worked with Vertti Kivi for many years now, and are really happy with the outcome of this latest collaboration.”

The design inspiration for MyFlow has an interesting story behind it. “We were brainstorming and creating a huge amount of initial design concepts and rendering with Vertti,” says Antti. “Then one day, Vertti happened to really notice the rounded rocks found in the Finnish archipelago. We thought that the forms could form the base of our design, and it ended up becoming the main language.”

The curved profiles offer a welcoming feeling to users in any setting. We especially loved the curved veneer plywood finish on the back – a finishing touch to the chairs that make it look luxurious without the opulence. MyFlow has a fairly comprehensive set of products that should fit nearly any modern office need. From chairs and desks to storage and soft seating, MyFlow has it all.

Jamie: It’s a timeless and elegant design. All of the pieces go very well with one another, and they’re easily adaptable for workspaces but also for a lobby or an airport. They’re also very durable – you can tell that they’re sturdy just by looking at them. I do think when you have cushions or lumbar support, it can be even better, especially if you’re sitting there for a long time, but it’s still very comfortable and ergonomic. The proportions and dimensions are just right. I think it’s great that you can mix and match as well, and include antimicrobial elements, something that is becoming increasingly important these days. l like the stitching detail and more so the fact that you can customise that as well. You can tell it’s been designed with clear intention, it’s not just slapped together.

Tina: It looks like a very unified, very cohesive range that has a smooth flow. I feel like there is a certain familiarity and softness to the products that makes them just look very cosy and inviting even before you have sat on them. The rounded shapes and edges exude a feeling of comfort. In terms of aesthetics, it’s quite versatile and offers homeliness to the workspace as well. The use of materials and combinations that we saw have an elegant and beautiful appeal. There’s a richness and sense of high quality to it. You can just see how everything from natural forms to ergonomics is translated into the final product. I think you can create a palette that speaks to your project and what you want, and that’s fantastic!

The Crown Jewel

The second defining feature of the collection is a sleek polished metal component that you will find in the chairs and stools, one which the ISKU reps refer to as the ‘jewellery’. The design of this is in the shape of a capital ‘I’ to brand it as an ISKU product. The products are finished with a piece of this jewellery, that connects the seat to the backrest, and this component is available in brass, copper, painted black or white. “The jewellery is a core part of the collection,” says Antti. “We wanted to tell the story of this product in a unique way, and we believe this small feature does a great job of it.”

The collection on a whole is highly customisable and available with antimicrobial materials to help set up a safe and responsible workspace. Leg options range from loop legs, cross base, to wooden base or castors. The MyFlow storage is something to look out for – you rarely see storage products with rounded profiles. This unit is equipped with an electric lock and LED light as standard, as well as a power socket that can be attached inside the cabinet, allowing you to charge devices even while they’re stored.

We can’t do an ISKU review without mentioning the sustainability aspects of their product lines. Some interesting data points on their production process: The factory produces less mixed waste than a small apartment building! Almost all waste generated is also recyclable. Antti further tells us, “We keep our supply chains short as well. We source 75 percent of our purchases from within Finland and almost 99 percent of all materials come from within Europe. With a short and well-supervised supply chain, we can offer and achieve an incredibly reliable delivery time for our customers.” Not to mention the logistical advantage and further reduced carbon footprint.

Final Thoughts

Scandinavian design is known to be minimal, functional, and comfortable. ISKU takes it a step further by adding just the right amount of luxurious finishing touches without diluting any of their overall design values. The jewellery is certainly something to look out for if you’re looking for that unique element in your furniture solutions. And considering that it’s priced so competitively, and has most, if not all, of the components needed for a full office setup, MyFlow would certainly be a top contender for your new space.

Jamie: I love the high back chairs, especially for a workspace environment where you want a little bit of privacy and quiet, because a lot of workspaces are now open offices, and the fact that they swivel gives you the option of just turning around for collaboration or social interaction, and swing back to a wall or corner for focused work. I’d love to add on and fine-tune the accessories, like adding some more details, whether it’s colour or finishing again. And if the chairs could be a little more padded, it would work so well in lounges and even spas!

I think it’s really important to have a modular space as well, one that you can rearrange and rework, and ISKU has taken all this into consideration. The details through to the fine bevelled edges for the tables and the curves at the lip have been thought out to ensure that they don’t break and fall apart very easily. If I could add one more product, it would be an ottoman because, while we have the upholstered stools, an Ottoman can allow people to sit and congregate. Overall, I would say, the range is good quality, good price, and sustainable… a triple threat!

Tina: I think it’s so impressive how they reuse and recycle leftover materials and use them in their new products. They really follow through on their sustainability commitments, how many companies can claim that? Regarding the MyFlow collection, I love the multifunctional aspect of the range too. It can even work for a home office because of the aesthetics. I think it has the right price point, range of use and finishes as well. I really do think they should get more attention than they do now. My favourite aspect of MyFlow is the jewellery that goes so well with the soft forms. It really elevates the look giving it a high-end appeal. Plus, the metal translates into the other furniture pieces, such as the table legs, or desks. You can customise the drawer handles too, allowing you to attain a cohesive and unified look. It can look eclectic and not feel like your standard office or public space furniture in that sense. One thing I would like to add is more collaboration units, such as a writable surface. But overall, it works so well and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t start getting traction with clients.


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7 April, 2022

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