Arbor Vitae, from the series Hypnopompic


Kustaa Saksi

Helsinki 2013 tapestry
Materials polyester fr mohairmix acrylic acrylic polyester

Jacquard weaving is taken to a new level with Hypnopomic, a series of vivid large-scale tapestries made by Finnish graphic designer and artist Kustaa Saksi. The brightly coloured pieces combine recognisable creatures and organis designs with surreal visualisations. Having no background in textiles, Saksi made the most of the expertise available at the TextielLab, optimising the specific qualities of the materials to give his designs depth, warmth and structure. 

photo: Tommy de Lange | A150-1.jpg
photo: Tommy de Lange
photo: Jussi Tiainen | kustaasaksi_hypnopompic_fotojussitiainen.jpg
photo: Jussi Tiainen
photo: Jussi Tiainen | saksi_detail_02_lores foto Jussi Tiainen.jpeg
photo: Jussi Tiainen
photo: Tommy de Lange | A150-2.jpg
photo: Tommy de Lange
photo: Tommy de Lange | A150-3.jpg
photo: Tommy de Lange


  • Arbor Vitae, from the series Hypnopompic
  • Kustaa Saksi
  • tapestry
  • art
  • Stef Miero
  • 2013
  • Helsinki
  • Kustaa-tree-60s
  • SQ130752
  • texture through weave material properties, double weave
  • illustrative, voluminous


  • polyester fr | PES FR | flame retardant
  • mohairmix | WM / PA / WO
  • acrylic | PC | fluor
  • acrylic | PC | fluor
  • polyester | PES


Hypnopompic (literally ‘leading out of sleep’) is the state between sleeping and waking that can give rise to dreamlike hallucinations. Saksi is interested in neurological and optical phenomena. Through the ages, these ‘mind tricks’ have contributed to the development of ornaments.

Saksi himself experiences patterns and structures during migraine attacks. These ideas and impressions are interwoven in the psychedelic tapestries from the ‘Hypnopompic’ series. A wide range of natural and synthetic materials, from viscose, lurex and metallic yarns to alpaca wool and mohair, add extra depth.


In 2012, Saksi approached the TextielLab with the request to translate several of his digital designs into tapestries. The colours were reduced to a maximum of eight before determining the bindings. The bindings dictate how the yarn is interlaced and influence the colour. Twisting the yarn creates new colours thanks to optical blending. Saksi opted for a mix of synthetic and natural yarns. In a series of samples incorporating different materials, the hunt was on for the perfect combination: like painting with textiles on a loom. Retaining the original design details was a challenge. With the specialist knowledge and high-quality equipment in the TextielLab, Saksi succeeded in making a double weave without sacrificing the level of detail.


Kustaa Saksi

Saksi (1975) was born in Kouvola, Finland and graduated from the institute of Design at Lahti University of Applied Sciences in 2000. Two years later he founded his own studio.

His graphic and patterned designs, art direction, illustrations, textiles, art works and installations, which have been shown in Helsinki, New York and, in 2014, at the prestigious Salone del Mobile design fair in Milan, have variously been described as psychedelic, kaleidoscopic and fantastical. He has designed for Nike, Salvatore Ferragamo, Moooi and Marimekko. After living in Paris for a few years, he now lives and works in Amsterdam.

photo: TextielLab | VA (14)a.jpg
photo: TextielLab

Exhibitions & Publications

  • ‘Hypnopompic’. 16 August to 15 September 2013, Korjaamo Gallery, Helsinki.
  • ‘Highlights TextielLab: Kustaa Saksi – Hypnopompic’. 24 April to 20 November 2014, TextielMuseum.

  • Lucy Upwards. ‘Warped Vision’. Cover, winter 2013, p. 66-69. Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten and Angel Trinidad (editors).
  • Scandinavia dreaming: Nordic homes, interiors and design. Berlin: Gestalten, 2016. Library reference: Eu-zwed 774.42 SCAN (the specific work is not shown in this article but is an in-depth piece about the artist).