My work as a designer, researcher, teacher and redirective practitioner spans across disciplines in furniture design, craft, and climate change adaptation. I am a PhD candidate at Queensland University of Technology School of Design researching the relationship between craft practice and economic life, focusing on the craft community of Fiskars in Finland. I help manage a small family-run furniture design and manufacturing company working between Australia and Finland, and I am also a sessional academic and a research assistant at Queensland University of Technology, School of Design. In 2015 I was a Visiting Researcher at Aalto University, Department of Design, in the School of Arts, Design and Archicture. I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Redirective design is a design process concerned with identifying the essence of what it is that is defuturing and to direct design action towards sustain-able (futuring) solutions. It is the core strategy in developing Sustainment – the project and process that is needed for humanity to create viable futures. This futuring project as theorised, advanced and applied by Professor Tony Fry requires a wide agenda and a directional change in politics, economies, industries, social norms and cultural development.
I regularly participate in redirective design workshops, presentations and design competitions. My collaboration with architect Jim Gall includes architectural and urban re-design projects which consider the challenges of climate change and increased urbanisation, and aim to promote a sustainable way of living in our future cities. I am also an Associate with Harbinger Consultants, collaborating on cross-disciplinary community engagement and cultural projects.
I undertake self-directed cross-disciplinary research in areas spanning interiors and furniture, craft (see The Endangered Skill), sustainable/alternative ways of living, new economies and climate change adaptation. I apply the philosophy of design futures to challenges across industry sectors by developing viable future scenarios that guide strategic re-direction of the design process.


I work as a furniture designer and project manager for my family company Deka Design, where my work  is enveloped within a broad framework of redirective design practice. Servicing an industry with many choices for furniture specification, my purpose is to advance local design and manufacture for a more culturally relevant and environmentally responsible built environment. My work is shaped by a Finnish design sensibility where there is a respect of the ‘everyman’, a modesty in material use, and a loyalty to culture and nature. Each project that I undertake is an individual design journey, taking me from a new concept or the identification of a need, through the rigorous design process during prototype and production. Working in collaboration with my designer-maker parents Helena and Lasse Kinnunen, we enjoy an intense interchange of ideas, working quickly and efficiently through our diverse and complementary expertise.


I have been teaching into the interior design program at the QUT School of Design since 2014, as a lecturer or tutor in Research Methods, Design Psychology and Design in Society. I am an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and maintain continuing professional development in design pedagogy.


The arts have been a consistent companion throughout my designing life, as I have seized opportunities to engage with and promote several artforms over many years, including visual arts, music, design and craft. I have curated design exhibitions and fashion parades, hosted industry events, design and art exhibitions, discussions and forums, and sponsored design and orchestra events. My interest is in the advancement of arts and culture as drivers of sustain-able ways of living, and so development of local artforms, community engagement and education are important design futuring strategies.


My design career began as an aeronautical design engineer with Brisbane helicopter service company Helitech Pty Ltd. The unique opportunity of working in a highly specialised and highly regulated technical field required me to develop my technical knowledge quickly. The work included structural design of aircraft repairs, design and structural analysis of equipment installations, structural and flight testing of modifications and new systems, writing of quality and regulatory standards and procedures, and tender responses. I was the project manager on several Army Aviation projects including the development of component testing facility and a helicopter maintenance training aid. The intensity and passion of the various trades and professions working in close collaboration in the aviation industry stays with me in a respect and understanding of effective cross-disciplinary teams.


2014 Current: PhD – Craft Beyond Craft: Craft Practice and Economic Life at Queensland University of Technology
2010 Master of Design Futures – Griffith University, Queensland College of Art
1998 Master of Engineering Science (Engineering Management) – Queensland University of Technology
1994 Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical – University of Southern Queensland


Kinnunen, N. (2016). The transformative role of craft’s resilience. (Making Futures IV conference proceedings.
Kinnunen N, (2013). Life in a box: packing and unpacking the future, Zoontechnica (3).
Fry, T., Kinnunen, N., Perolini, P., Odom, W. (2009) Metrofitting: Adaptation, the City and Impacts of the Coming Climate. Brisbane: Griffith University, Queensland College of Art.
‘Climate change and our coast’ : Future Tense, Presented by Antony Funnell, ABC Radio National, 19 November 2009


‘The transformative role of craft’s resilience’ conference presentation at Making Futures IV, Plymouth, 2015.
‘Design Criticism’
guest lecture at Griffith University Queensland College of Art, 2014
Phenomenology of Space’ guest lecture at Griffith University Queensland College of Art, 2013, 2015
‘City 2 – Ecologies of Climate Change Adaptation’ with Jim Gall, oral presentation at the Second Nordic International Conference – Climate Change Adaptation Research Meets Decision-Making , Helsinki, Finland 2012.
‘Platforming: A Strategy of Redirective Practice’ for Griffith University Queensland College of Art , 2010, 2012, 2014
‘Design Futuring: The New Design Direction’ for Aalto University School of Art and Design (Finland), 2011
‘Ecologies of Climate Change Adaptation’ with Jim Gall and Rae Cooper, poster presentation at the NCCARF International Climate Change Adaptation Conference, Gold Coast 2010.