Maarit Salolainen

Photo: Niklas Kullström Copyright Maarit Salolainen

SalolainenAalto University

Maarit Salolainen

Adjunct Professor, 3D Surface Design, especially textile materials, Department of Design

What do you do?

What do you do?

Maarit Salolainen is an experienced international design and textile professional.  She works as a creative director and collection coordinator in European and Indian textile companies as well as in her own studio as an artist and designer and as a professor at the Aalto University. Salolainen's current positions include working as creative director for the Mumbai based Indian mill G.M. Fabrics leading the team of 30 designers in devekiping new concepts, products and collections for international interior textile editors and brands as well as the in-house brand. 

Maarit Salolainen was appointed as Professor for 3D Surface Design, especially textile materials in August 2013. The part time adjunct professorship enables Salolainen to continue her active professional work in the field in her various tasks in textile industry and business. Through Salolainen the Aalto University ARTS Department of Design gets a contemporary view and contact to the international field of textiles. Article in the New Professors' -publication

Where do you come from?

Where do you come from=

Salolainen graduated from the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 1992 with a major in Textile Art and Design. In the beginning of her career she worked as an artist and freelance textile designer in her studio in Düsseldorf, Germany and later Vienna, Austria. Her artistic work includes woven pieces, paintings, installations, and commissions for public spaces. Salolainen has been exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums and art galleries. During her years as a freelance designer Salolainen worked with a network of textile companies and weaving mills in Europe. In 1999 she started to focus more on industrial and commercial textile design as well as collection and color coordinating, product portfolio management tasks and strategic design work.

Maarit Salolainen started her professional career inside the textile industry in 2003 as the design director of Backhausen Interior Textiles, an internationally recognized Austrian jacquard mill. During her three years at Backhausen she was in a fortunate position to deepen her expertise in woven structures, materials, qualities of fabrics and collections, as well as technical requirements for residential and contract textiles. As the head of the design team, she was responsible for the research and development for the new products as well as for the design and coordination of the interior fabric collections under the Backhausen brand. In addition Salolainen was responsible for the conceptualization and design of international customer collections. Connections to high-end interior textile companies and textile editors in Europe, the U.S and Asia expanded Salolainen’s area of expertise.

In her subsequent position as design director for the Finnish interior textile editor Lauritzon’s. Maarit Salolainen developed the brand and visual profile of the company. Salolainen’s responsibilities included also the development of Lauritzon’s collections and the research, design and development of new fabrics together with leading textile mills in Europe and Asia.

From 2011 until 2015 Maarit Salolainen worked as the creative director of the Indian owned interior textile editor F&F Floor and Furnishings. Her responsibilities included the development of the brand and the visual profile of this growing company as well as strategic portfolio management, conceptualization and development of the collections and research, design and development of new qualities. The fabrics designed by Salolainen’s design team were developed and produced by textile mills in India, China and Europe.

Since autumn 2016 Salolainen has worked as creative director for the Mumbai  based Indian mill G.M. Fabrics leading theteam of 30 designers in devekiping new concepts, products and collections for international editors ad well as the in-house brand. 

Maarit Salolainen has also been working for the non-profit organization Alba Collective. The organization is engaged in projects for sustainable and ethical artisan production in India. As a creative director and design and textile advisor Salolainen has been involved in projects empowering artisan women and girls.

In her teaching career in different positions in design and textile area since 2003 Salolainen has gained insight into the challenges of education. In addition, coming from outside academia with a view and experience of the international textile field, has enabled her to view teaching anew. Her curriculum development, reorganization of the weaving and textile courses and research of teaching methods in weaving as brought innovative results and represent a major improvement at the department. She leads the successful PatternLab- study project and since 2003 has developed the brand, study content and process to what it is now.

Maarit Salolainen has actively  opened the textile courses to fashion students and to students from other study programs of the Department of Design, worked as a supervisor for projects with industry and business as well as helped the students to network with international textile companies and ethical projects. Salolainen has developed the pedagogics and possibilities of material based fashion design. The innovative use of materials and techniques by Aalto ARTS fashion students has claimed international recognition at international shows and fashion competitions in the recent years.




Maarit Salolainen                                                             

Born 21.9.1966 in Helsinki, Finland


1987-1992 University of Art and Design Helsinki, Master of Arts 1992, Textile Art and Design,                                                         

1986-1987 Studies at Wetterhoff, Häme University of Applied Sciences 

Pedagogical Positions

Since 2013 Adjunct Professor (50%) Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

2006-2013 Lecturer (50%) Aalto ARTS

2003-2006 Guest Lecturer, University of Art and Design Helsinki

Selected Expert tasks and Positions with Industry, Trade and Business

2016 -        Creative Director, G.M. Fabrics, Mumbai, India, I

2011-2015 Creative Director, F&F Floor and Furnishings, Gurgaon, India, I  

2006-2011 Design Director. Since 2011 external consultant, Lauritzon’s Finland

2003-2006 Design Director, Backhausen Interior Textiles, A

2010-2013 Creative Director, Design and Textile Expert, Alba Collective, USA/I 

2011-2012 Design Expert Kone Oy and Outokumpu, Stainless Steel 3D surface design project

2010-2011 Freelance designer, Studio in New Delhi, I

Since 2002 Maarit Salolainen Design, Studio in Helsinki

1995-2002 Freelance designer and artist, Studio in Vienna, A

1991-1995 Artist and Freelance Designer, Studio in Bonn and Düsseldorf, DE

1986-1991 Assistant at Vuokko Oy

International Pedagogical supervision Projects and Workshops

2010           National Institute of Design NID, Ahmedabad, I

Since 2010 National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi and Gandinagar, I

2003-2006 University of Applied Sciences of Hof DE

Selected Design work                                                      

F&F Floor and Furnishings, India Brand identity and collections, 30 presented collections since SS2011 at international interior fairs e.g. Acetech Mumbai, HGH Mumbai.

Lauritzon’s, Finland Brand identity and collections AW2006 – AW2010

Backhausen, Austria 12 presented collections AW2003-SS2006 at international design fairs e.g. CASA, Heimtextil Frankfurt, Index Dubai, Abitare il Tempo Verona, Stockholm Furniture fair. Leading the design of fabrics for e.g. Jab Anstoez, Sahco, Z&R, Almedahls, Kinnasand, Höpke, Pollack, Maharam, Knoll, Brentano, Brunswig, Ralf Lauren, Rolf Benz, Kravet, Knoll, COR, Bielefelder Werkstätten. Leading the design of a new Backhausen and Wiener Werstätten brand identity AW2004

Selected Artistic Work

Works in Public Collections

2008 The Nordic Embassies, Berlin, D

2000 The State of Austria, A

1999 The Nordic Embassies, Berlin, D

1998 City of Vienna, A

1997 The State of Finland

1993 Liberty New Science Center, New Jersey, USA

1991University of Art and Design Helsinki

Solo Exhibitions

2000 Works 1997-2000, Galerie Gabriel, Vienna, A

1998 Works in Light 1994-1998, Galerie Gabriel, Vienna, A

1995 Encounter with Light, Museum Schloß Rheydt, Mönchengladbach, D

1992 Light Textiles, University of Art and Design Helsinki

Selected Group Exhibitions and Events

2012 Espoo Cultural Center, Exhibition “Light from India”

2011 Neuzugänge III, Licht – Raum, Kaiserhaus Arnsberg-Neheim, Sammlung Schrott:, D

2004 Lichtkunst, Dokumentationszentrum fur Moderne Kunst, St.Pölten, A

2002 Finddesignnow, Design Forum, Helsinki

2000 Begegnungen, Museum Kloster Schloss Bentlage, Rheine, D

1999 Triennale 5, Museum of Applied Arts, Helsinki

1998 ljuskonst-konstljus, Galerie Otso, Espoo

1997 Flexible 2, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, GB

1997 Flexible 2, Galeria “Awangarda”, Wroclaw, P

1997 Die Neuen -97, Galerie Station 3, Vienna, A

1996 Lichte Räume, Galerie Neher, Essen, D

1996 Ajantajut, Museum of Middle Finland, Jyväskylä

1996 Soul Scenery, Installation in Old Church-Park in Helsinki

1996 Flexible 2, Tilburg Textile Museum, NE

1996 Curated by, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, A

1994 kunst in europa, Galerie Neher, Essen, D

1994 Travelling, Galerie Kluuvi, Helsinki; Turku; Varkaus; Tampere

Catalogues and selected publications

Neuzugänge III, Licht – Raum, Sammlung Schrott 2011

Kuvan teologia STKSJ 209, s.165-168, Helsinki 1997

Begegnung im Licht, Mönchengladbach, Kulturamt, Museum Schloß Rheydt 95

Kunst in Europa, Galerie Neher, 1994


Interwoven - exploring materials and structures, Aalto ARTS Books to be published in 2016

Awards and Grants

2015 Finnish Cultural Foundation Grant

2015  Arts Council of Finland Grant

2014 Ornamo Finnish Designers Awards, Textile Artist of the Year

1997 Arts Council of Finland Grant

1996 Finnish Cultural Foundation Grant

1993 Alfred Kordelin Foundation Grant

1993 Primus Magister, University of Art and Design Helsinki


I love to play with combinations of contrasts, materials, structures, colors and patterns and enjoy teaching and coaching talented future designers at Aalto University.

Contact information

Work postal address
Arabia Campus
PO Box 31000
FI-00076 Aalto
Work email
maarit.salolainen at
Web site


Peer-reviewed scientific articles

Conference proceedings

Crossing over Boundaries through Experimental Pedagogy

Salolainen, Maarit; Partanen, Jouni; Moslemian, Oldouz; Suorlahti, Eeva; Kiviluoma, Panu; Niinimäki, Kirsi 


Cumulus association 

ISBN: 9788793416154 

Non-refereed scientific articles

Unrefereed conference proceedings

Sielunmaisema — henki, ajatus, kuva

Salolainen, Maarit 



ISBN: 952-9791-22-4 

ISSN: 0356-9349 

Scientific books (monographs)


Begegnung im Licht

Salolainen, Maarit 


Kulturamt, Museum Schloß Rheydt 95 

ISBN: 3-925256-43-1 

Publications intended for professional communities

Article in professional conference proceedings

Exploring Materials and Structures - interweaving expression, storytelling, artistic and technical mastery.

Salolainen, Maarit 


Fashion Colloquia, Domus Academy 

Text book or professional handbook or guidebook or dictionary

Interwoven - Exploring Materials and Structures

Salolainen, Maarit 


Aalto ARTS Books 

Publications intended for the general public

Popular article, newspaper article

Reilusti Intiasta

Salolainen, Maarit; Valta, Tanja 


Glorian Koti 

ISSN: 1455-1284 

Public artistic and design activities

Public contribution to artistic work

Yhteistyö Anish Kapoorin kanssa - tekstiilien kehittely ja valmistuttaminen Intiassa

Salolainen, Maarit 


Valoisasti Intiasta -näyttely

Salolainen, Maarit 


Sammlung Schrott Neuzugänge III Licht-Raum

Salolainen, Maarit 


Public artistic play or exhibition

Creative Director GM Fabrics, Mumbai, India. Design of Interior textile collections SS18 launched at the international Heimtextil Fair 2018, Messe Frankfurt

Salolainen, Maarit 


GM Fabrics 

Creative Director GM Fabrics, Mumbai, India. Design of Interior textile collections AW17-18 launched at the international MoOD interior textiles Exhibition 2017, Brussels

Salolainen, Maarit 


GM Fabrics 

Creative Director GM Fabrics, Mumbai, India Design of interior textile collections AW17 launched at the International Proposte interior textiles fair, Como, Italy

Salolainen, Maarit 


GM Fabrics 

Creative Director GM Fabrics, Mumbai, India. Design of Interior textile collections SS17 launched at the international Heimtextil Fair 2017, Messe Frankfurt

Salolainen, Maarit 


GM Fabrics 

Creative Director F&F India, design of Interior textile collections AW15

Salolainen, Maarit 


F&f Floor and Furnishing India 

Creative Director F&F India, Design of Interior textile Collections SS15

Salolainen, Maarit 


F&f Floor and Furnishing India 

Floor&Furnishings India, Creative Director, SS14 & AW14 collections

Salolainen, Maarit 


Floor&Furnishings India, Creative Director, SS13 & AW13 collections

Salolainen, Maarit 


Floor&Furnishings India, Creative Director, SS12 & AW12 collections

Salolainen, Maarit 


Floor&Furnishings India. Creative Director, brand renewal, SS11 & AW11 collections

Salolainen, Maarit 


Dekoteräsmallistot Kone Oyj:lle yhteistyössä Outokummun kanssa

Salolainen, Maarit 


Design Director, Lauritzon's Finland 2006-2011

Salolainen, Maarit 


Design Director, Backhausen interior textiles, Austria, Textile Collections 2003-2006

Salolainen, Maarit 


Backhausen interior textiles