Marimekko’s renowned Unikko print celebrates its 60th anniversary – LUX Helsinki kicks off the festivities

In 2024, Marimekko celebrates the 60th anniversary of its most globally recognized print Unikko. To mark the beginning of a year filled with joyful Unikko-inspired activations taking place around the world, Marimekko presents Unikko at La Louviére – a unique artwork of light projected onto the façade of Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland. Unikko at La Louviére is a tribute to colors, the joy of life, and Finnish design and visual arts. The artwork will be presented in conjunction with Lux Helsinki – an annual light festival in Helsinki that seeks to inspire both locals and visitors by presenting a diverse range of light installations during the darkest period of the year.

Unikko was designed by Maija Isola in 1964, and it is not only one of the most recognized Marimekko print designs in the world of art and fashion, but also a historical connection between Marimekko and Ateneum. From 1848 to 1982, the Ateneum Art Museum housed The University of Art and Design of Helsinki. It was this building in which Maija Isola studied from 1946 to 1949, and where Marimekko founder Armi Ratia would first discover her talents. This encounter would mark the beginning of Maija Isola’s remarkable career working as a print designer for Marimekko and creating over 500 unique designs over the period of 38 years. Now, Isola’s most notable print returns to Ateneum as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

“We are excited to present the first Unikko-inspired community activation in a series of many across the globe during the year. It feels natural to begin the celebrations of our very special year 2024 in the hometown of Unikko at Lux Helsinki and transforming Unikko into an artwork of light. Projecting the artworkinto the façade of Ateneum creates the perfect dialogue between the heritage and future of the print. Unikko at La Louviére is a tribute to colors, the joy of life, and Finnish design and visual arts”, says Sanna-Kaisa Niikko, Chief Marketing Officer at Marimekko.

Unikko at La Louviére was created by Helsinki-based artist and visual designer Katri Tikkanen and Finnish composer, sound designer, music producer, and artist Matti Ahopelto. The installation features the 60th anniversary colorway of the Unikko print and was partly inspired by the current “Color & Light – The Legacy of Impressionism” exhibition at Ateneum. As a result, a masterpiece of Finnish impressionism, Alfred William Finch’s pointillist painting “Orchard at La Louvière” meets the joyful and ever-optimistic Unikko pattern in an artwork of light created using the pointillism technique.

Lux Helsinki takes place from 3 January to 7 January 2024.

Photo: Jere Viinikainen