INTERVIEW  /  December 2020

A fascinating day at the factory

Our Sectomo factory is located a one and a half hour drive north from Helsinki. It provides work for a little over 30 highly talented local craftsmen, who are the pairs of hands behind the beloved Secto Design lamps. We head to the small town of Heinola to join our colleagues for a day! The first person we meet on the door step of the factory is Kari, the Manager of Sectomo, who greets us and welcomes us in. We pass by a group of Octo lamps that shine in the hallway as bright as the birch trees with their yellow autumn gowns outside the factory building.

A front-view of the entrance to the Sectomo factory with some trees, grass and small bushes in the foreground.

In the small room next door we are surprised to see piles of ready-cut rings in a space that looks surprisingly much more like a small gym than a woodworking smithy! This association comes from the fact that there are different sized black professional kettlebells standing firmly on top of each ring pile. That room, with very dry and warm air, is where the watercut rings get to dry while the weights help them keep their flat shape. How exciting!

A close-up of three piles of the wooden rings used in some Secto Design lampshades.
A male employee sitting on a chair on the left, sanding the wooden rings, which are piled up on a table on the right.

We continue our tour to the next work space, where we need to wear ear muffs due to the noise levels coming out of the cutting machines. Watching Jari cutting slats, currently for Octo lamps, is fascinating. The bent shapes of the slats look elegant, and it feels exciting to see from where the actual shade gets it’s elements. Highly experienced Jari spots one uneven slat among dozens of others in a blink of an eye and removes it from the row of perfect slats with a gentle hand movement. And so the work goes on.

We head on to see the stage of the making process where the slats are being sanded. Sami operates the sanding machine fully concentrated on his work. He sets the slats on the assembly line and lets them slowly slide through the machine. At the end of the line there is Jouko collecting the sanded slats that arrive on a plate to his arms. There is a new small in-house innovation - a slide - that runs along the sanding machine, making the work of these two men more ergonomic. In the same room Pasi grins to us with his smiley face while he cuts the slats and hums.

A close up of the curved wooden slats used in Secto Design lamps.

We do a pit stop in a calm space, much like an atelier, where Juha is setting the small slats of Owalo lamps on the jig. He is highly concentrated on the demanding work. Despite the work that requires most of his attention he still has a moment to chat with us telling about his day with the familiar blink in his eyes.

A smiling man wearing black round glasses and a blue shirt, focused on setting small slats on the jig.

In Otto’s strong hands the necks of the lamp shades are being glued professionally, after which he checks that the gaps between the slats are perfectly even. Kylli does the final sanding of the shade that already begins to look rather ready. At Piipa’s work station it’s hardly ever quiet, even though her stage of the manufacturing process doesn’t create that much noise. But it’s her lovely chatty personality that creates lots of amusing stories she tells with a catchy laugh while doing the final checks of the shades.

A person holding the Victo pendant lamp, showing its inside.

Our second last stop is at the station where we spot a big steamy chest freeze that looks like a huge ice cream container! Here, Tanja sprays the ready lamps with the nozzle that has dry ice coming through it. With the help of dry ice, the lamps get their final efficient clean-up, so that they are all cleaned, polished and ready to leave the factory. The icing station is one of the last destinations of our lamps before they head to the quick and skilled arms of the ladies working in the packing area. This is where each and every lamp gets a hologram label - a seal of their authenticity. With this label the new owner can be sure their Secto Design lamp is manufactured at Sectomo and thus produced ecologically, ethically and socially sustainable way in a modern and safe Finnish factory. The lamps have their individual cardboard box, where they are packed to ensure a safe onward journey. Stickers with destination addresses are printed on top of the boxes and off the lamps go, to their new homes around the world where they are eagerly awaited!

A hand is gluing the Secto Design hologram label inside the top of a lampshade.