Designed by architects Raili and Reima Pietilä, Mäntyniemi, the official residence of the President of Finland, was still unfinished at the end of the 1980s. Sarpaneva walked through the nearly completed structure with Pietilä, listening intently to the architect expound almost lyrically on design and structural details. Pietilä used his expressive hands to sketch images in the air, with his gaze extending through the light-filled spaces. Each door, each window – each and every piece a tour de force of Finnish craftsmanship! Sarpaneva could appreciate this kind of devotion. He had been entrusted with the task of producing all the glassware and silverware for Mäntyniemi.
Sarpaneva and Erkki Ahokas (Major-Domo of the President of Finland) had searched for a manufacturer of the silver collection in several different countries. Among many other places, they visited a silversmiths in Lahti, only to find that their standards were too high. After careful and thorough consideration, Hämeenlinna-based Kultakeskus Oy was chosen as the official manufacturer. The architectural style of the Pietiläs had made an impression on Sarpaneva. The silver collection he designed matched the overall motif of the structure. Sarpaneva had a wood model of each piece made. This allowed him to precisely fine-tune each three-dimensional piece, its form and its dimensions. Masterful silversmith Markku Laulaja hand-crafted each and every piece. The lid hinges form a refined whole. The surfaces vary between matte and glossy silver.