Mikki Kunttu

Lighting and Set Designer

Mikki Kunttu is an award-winning lighting, set, and screen-content designer for the visual and performing arts, as well as for live entertainment and television. Kunttu has been collaborating with Tero Saarinen since TSC’s foundation in 1996, creating the lighting designs and visualization for many of the Company’s productions, including Saarinen’s iconic solo HUNTre-premiered in spring 2022.

Mikki Kunttu has created designs for over 100 contemporary dance productions all over the world. Alongside Saarinen, Kunttu works with many prominent artists from Finland and abroad, such as choreographers Jorma Elo, Jorma Uotinen, Carolyn Carlson, Jiří Kylián, Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. He also collaborates with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and the Boston Ballet. In addition to dance, he works in music, opera, television and design.

Kunttu’s recent works include:

  • Set, light, and video design for The Snow Queen ice ballet in 2023, Tampere.
  • Set, light, and video design for Wagner’s RING series (Finnish National Opera and Ballet, 2019-2024).
  • Lighting design for Cirque du Soleil productions Alegria: In new light, Vitori, and 11:11 Gala.
  • Lighting design for California Gala at Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles, in 2019.
  • Set and lighting design for Cirque du Soleil productions MUV and Fuzion in 2022.
  • Set, light, and video design for Swan Lake (Royal Danish Ballet, 2015).
  • Lighting design for The Nutcracker (Boston Ballet, 2014).
  • Light and video design for Eurovision Song Contest in 2007 (Helsinki).
  • Video design for Eurovision Song Contests in 2016 (Stockholm) and 2013 (Malmö).
  • Set and lighting design for the duet “Breath” by Tero Saarinen and Kimmo Pohjonen in 2018.
  • Set, light, and video design for the Cultural Gala in 2024.
  • Set and lighting design for the Emma Gala in 2024 (Kunttu Levelä Sibelius).

Additionally, Kunttu has visualized tours and concerts for various artists including Kimmo Pohjonen, Apocalyptica, Paula Koivuniemi, Hanoi Rocks, Ismo Alanko, Von Hertzen Brothers, Jonna Tervomaa, Michael Monroe, and Sami Yaffa.

In 2006, he received the prestigious Bessie Award in New York for his works in lighting design for Tero Saarinen and Akram Khan. In 2007, Kunttu received the Säde Award from the Finnish Association of Lighting and Sound Designers, and also the Koura Award for the visualization of the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki. In 2010, MTV3 awarded him a Venla Diploma of Merit. In fall 2022 Kunttu’s 50th birthday was celebrated at Tampere Hall with a festival dedicated to his diverse career in the performing arts, television, concerts and live events.


”Mikki Kunttu is responsible for the lights and set design, and Erika Turunen for the costumes. Both are as exquisitely perfect as the rest of the show -- [Kunttus’s lights] create incredible images“

- Demokraatti, 25 Septmeber, 2022 (Finland) about VORTEX

“(Mikki Kunttu’s) light dramaturgy does its job efficiently, creating moods, but without attracting attention to itself.“

- Rondo Classic, 8-9/2014 (Finland) about Morphed

“Mikki Kunttu’s brilliant design creates stark, blue-toned streams of light that shift and change, pinning the dancers in sharply focused beams or bathing them in a hazy chiaroscuro.“

- The Boston Globe, 21 July 2006 (USA) about Borrowed Light

“Mikki Kunttu’s visualization represents international high-tech, which shifts the tale from the past to something more like the future.“

- Helsingin Sanomat, 30 April, 2017 (Finland) about Kullervo

“Mikki Kunttu’s understated visual elements create a sense of richness and fullness that surges vibrantly, like poetry flowing out of the unconscious.”

- Teatteri & Tanssi, 6/2014 (Finland) about Morphed

“Kunttu's astonishing lighting enhances Saarinen's strong choreographic architecture.“

- Gay City News, 15 November 2007 (USA) / Borrowed Light

”Captivating stage image […] brings out the role of Mikki Kunttu's lights as a creator of stage magic.”

- Rondo, 23 Septmeber, 2022 (Finland) about VORTEX

“The other exceptional component is the design element as manifested in Mikki Kunttu's rapturous lighting --“

The Globe and Mail, 2006 (Canada) about HUNT