Secto Design

Helsinki-based Secto Design brings compelling Finnish traditions to light in their handcrafted products. The fixtures, designed by architect Seppo Koho, show his affinity for architectonic clarity and illustrate his credo that “light should softly invite people to come closer.”

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Secto Design

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Secto Design

Helsinki-based Secto Design brings compelling Finnish traditions to light in their handcrafted products. The fixtures, designed by architect Seppo Koho, show his affinity for architectonic clarity. True to his credo that “light should softly invite people to come closer,” the illumination radiating through the clean lines of the birch slats composing each fixture delightfully beckons. The company’s products are cut and formed by hand, carrying on a storied tradition set by iconic designers like Alvar Aalto. We at Global Lighting salute Secto for making their fixtures from Finnish PEFC Certified Birch and for only choosing materials transported for short distances. These measures count when architects and designers are specifying lighting fixtures for LEED projects.

woodworking hub in the Heinola area. The expanding Secto lines have generated work for other manufacturers, creating a supply network that includes twenty partner companies and contractors, and we at Global Lighting are proud to have a hand in this success by bringing the brand to North America.

Secto Design’s fixtures are made of flawless Finnish birch (PEFC certified), and can be found in some of the world’s most notable environments, including the Embassies of Finland in Brazil, Pakistan and Kosovo; the American Express Head Office in Sydney, Australia; and the Museum des Sciences Naturelles in Bruxelles, Belgium. Their lighting can also be found in the permanent collections of the Design Museum in Helsinki, Finland; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and in the museum of lamps in Paris’ Louvre. International airports in Oslo and Munich, as well as the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, also have Secto lighting amongst their furnishings.

Given the company’s philosophy of producing enduring designs, its no wonder their fixtures would appeal to designers of environments seeking to evoke timelessness with a modern sensibility. Architectural Record’s product publication, SNAP, deems Secto’s fixtures, “Well suited to residential, hospitality and office interiors.”

A note about Seppo Koho: The architect shows his affinity for architectonic clarity with his designs for Helsinki-based manufacturer Secto Design. True to his credo that “light should softly invite people to come closer,” the Finnish architect designs products that illuminate spaces with textural beauty. The clean lines of the birch slats composing each of his pendants, table lamps or floor lamps delightfully beckon one to come closer because he always carefully considers how the light emanating from a fixture will “feel.”

Born in 1967, Koho studied at the University of Industrial Arts in Helsinki and at the Tampere University of Technology. Fans of Scandinavian design will understand the architect’s language and his desire to create timelessly modern products from Finland’s beloved birch wood. The mottled bark of the tree in its natural setting masks the simplicity Koho teases from its grain—the earthy appeal of its pale trunks are dressed in vivid green during the spring and summer, then flame to vibrant yellow in the fall, and shed all color to meld with the icy landscape of crisp white and effusive blue during the winter months. You don’t need to know this to appreciate the beauty of these fixtures, though the elemental evolution is there each time you illuminate one, thanks to Koho’s sensibilities as a designer. There is a calming quality to Secto’s products, which reflect not only Koho’s sensibilities as a designer, but the company’s CEO Tuula Jusélius’s personality as well. Her passion for her business and her empathy for the craftsmen and women who bring her products into being shine through in every fixture the company produces. Having a pool of skilled artisans who have been steeped in a handmade woodworking tradition for generations means these products are destined to become classics, and that’s just the way she wants it.

The company’s evolution is as natural as its products: Jusélius and Koho crossed paths in 1995 when she was seeking a designer for her new company. The first time they met, Koho had just graduated from university, and they recognized they were kindred spirits sharing a respect for Northern wood, Scandinavian design and professional woodworking. Initially, Jusélius was producing furniture made of innovative glue-laminated wood. When clients began requesting lighting products that would echo the aesthetic, they realized there were none in the marketplace. Koho began making prototypes, which quickly became so popular the pair’s challenge became finding someone who could manufacture enough of them to satisfy demand.

This is the moment when cabinetmaker Heikki Saastamoinen stepped onto the scene, developing a handmade manufacturing process that remains in place today. The lighting has been so successful Jusélius has turned her focus to developing other iterations with Koho as they grow the Secto family of fixtures. Following the 4200 collection—their first—Koho created the Octo, the Victo, the Puncto, the Kontro, the Owalo, and the Aspiro—the company’s newest design. In the process of expanding Secto’s offerings, Saastamoinen's small workshop has grown into a factory, a steady uptick in sales allowing him and Jusélius to create a prominent