Aap Piho is an Estonian designer based in Tallinn, and his early development was shaped by the bauhausian dichotomy between art and pragmatism at the Department of Interior Architecture at the Estonian Academy of Arts, and his design studies at the Royal Academy of Art in the Netherlands, which were informed by creative freedom. His recent project Studio Aap is a declaration of freedom as a designer and creator. “It is a platform for my self-fulfilment, where the medium is furniture, sculpture, architectonics – it is self-expression where I am free. Free from defining – myself, the client or the user. While previously my work has been linked to the brands I have founded, today I do not wish to define myself in any way as a creator. Call it relaxing, if you will. I am intrigued by the contradiction between design as a tool for a capital-based industry, and its creative artistic value. Can design be free? Free from standards, habits, widespread preferences, restraints of the market economy? As a designer, I cherish sincerity, genuineness and cleanness – in my choice of material, an impulse or an idea behind a work. I love material, working with it, its impact on and relationship with space, the architectural environment.
I am not denying that as a creator, I have been shaped by the (geo)cultural context in which I am inevitably operating daily, and I like, as an exercise, to constantly redefine and question it. What we do is part of our cultural space, yet we have a chance to reconsider it, develop it further, interpret it.”