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Articles and Columns, 06/10/2009

Harrods, VEEN Waters and Kaj Stenvall unite for a worthy cause

Finnish spring water brand VEEN and Mrs Heini Al Fayed from Harrods handed a £5000 cheque and a Kaj Stenvall painting to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH) on 1st October. GOSH’s Director of Corporate Fundraising, Antonia Dalmahoy received the donation at a function at the Finnish Ambassador's residence in Kensington Palace Gardens.

VEEN Art is a concept by the Finnish spring water brand VEEN featuring famous artists and designers who bring VEEN Water into their creations. The artist has full artistic integrity to complete the work. This summer, VEEN took its art concept to Harrods with the aim of raising funds for charity through the sale of VEEN Art bottles. These exclusive bottles, of which only 250 were produced, featured a duck from the Finnish artist Kaj Stenvall's painting “Better than a cookie!”.

Tomi Grönfors and the Kaj Stenvall painting (photo: VEEN Waters)Tomi Grönfors and the Kaj Stenvall painting (photo: VEEN Waters)

Known internationally for his hilarious duck caricatures, the painter Kaj Stenvall was asked to join forces with VEEN in early 2009.With the promise of total artistic freedom, Stenvall didn't hesitate to take up the challenge. "The charity aspect made the project extremely attractive,” says Stenvall. "This was a great opportunity for us to bring joy to so many children, doing what we do best."

In Stenvall's painting water plays the central role and is featured in three forms: in a glass, in the sea and in tears of joy. "And let us not forget duck is a WATER bird by definition," notes Stenvall of his trademark character. 

The funds of this latest campaign were donated to the Great Ormond Street Hospital at the function at the Finnish Ambassador's residence. ”It was a great pleasure to host this event,” said Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, who was pleased to witness the collaboration between Finnish creativity and entrepreneurial spirit with the famed London company – all for a worthy cause.

Named after Veen Emonen (the Mother of the Water) in the Finnish national epic Kalevala, VEEN Waters was established in 2006 as a company registered in Ylitornio, in Finnish Lapland. In 2009, VEEN became noticed in London when it was introduced as the official water for the restaurants of the famed department store Harrods. VEEN spring water is also available in the Harrods Food Hall.

Now sold in selected high-end restaurants and hotels in Europe, VEEN pays attention not only to substance but also form: the water is from the free-flowing springs in Ylitornio and the bottles are courtesy of the Finnish designer Antti Eklund.

"The idea to the company was born in a sauna a few years ago," laughs Tomi Grönfors, Managing Director of VEEN. Since then the progress of the brand has been rapid and the company now aims to enter the North American market. "In Britain, all of our resources are focused on the Harrods deal, but we hope this amazing opportunity will promote the brand even further here."

Text: Joonas Mikkilä, The Embassy of Finland

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Updated 07/10/2009


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