Friday, May 20

My top ten iconic iittala products

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Iittala was founded in 1881 to produce household glass items and chemist bottles. However, it was not until the 1920s and 30s, that iittala as we know it came into being. In that era of burgeoning creativity, iittala attracted artists like Alvar and Aino Aalto who led the way in creating glassware that was beautiful, modern and functional. 

Today iittala is one of the frontrunners in the world of modern design. It has become synonymous with high quality and its glassware is renowned for its timeless beauty and functionality. Here I have put together a list of 10 iittala products that according to me are the most iconic. Some of these were created more than 70 years ago, but have survived the test of time and remain as popular as ever.

1. Aalto vase (1936)

The Aalto vase dates back to 1936 and was first presented at the Paris World Fair. Alvar Aalto's first sketches for the vases were playfully called "Eskimo woman's leather trousers". Its fluid, organic form is still mouth blown today at the Iittala factory and it takes a team of seven skilled artisans working as one to create one Aalto vase. 

2. Aino Aalto (1932) 
Echoing rings of water, this pressed glassware from 1932 is tactile proof that essential design is timeless. Simple, space saving design that permits stacking and versatility were the starting point for these classics. In production since its launch, Aino Aalto glassware now celebrates 80 years of design history. 

3. Tappio (1952)
Considered synonymous with Finnish design, Tapio Wirkkala excelled in the art of glassmaking by capturing a single air bubble inside the stem of the glass. He intended it as an eternal reminder for us to enjoy each fleeting moment. 

4. Sarpaneva (1960) 
With a wooden handle and a cast iron body, this ultimate design classic is as functional in the kitchen as it is appealing on the dining table. Combining design usability with a traditional cast iron pot, Timo Sarpaneva’s inspiration came from his blacksmith grandfather.
5. Maribowl (1960) 
These cute little Maribowls have been in production since 60s. But they shot into the limelight when Marimekko’s founder, Armi Ratia, used them in her famous garden parties at Bökärs. This celebrity endorsement resulted in these humble bowls becoming collector’s items. 

6. Kastahelmi (1964)

Kastahelmi means dewdrops in Finnish and refers to the circles of bubbles in the pressed glass. Inspired by Finnish nature, the dewdrops glisten like a string of pearls on grass in the morning sun. Oiva Toikka’s love for experimentation led to the creation of this unique droplet design for Kastehelmi. 

7. Birds by Toikka (1972)
Oiva Toikka’s limitless imagination combined with his sophisticated knowledge of glass to make possible for him and Iittala glassblowers to create these gorgeous birds. Toikka has created more than 400 birds over the last forty years. Each bird is individually mouth-blown, and is one of a kind. 

8. Kivi (1988)
Heikki Orvola, Kivi's creator says, “When I got the commission, I knew what they wanted from me: a Scandinavian glass candleholder. I gave it some thought and then that ‘blunt piece of tubing’ began to take shape in my mind.” This is how t
he these tea candle holders became so minimalistic and timeless. 
9. Taika Plate 2007
Taika means ‘Magic’ in Finnish. An apt name for this range of bold and enchanting tableware. Klaus Haapaniemi’s illustrations inspire your own imagination and storytelling. These fascinating and magical designs gradually reveal their details and layers of meaning to the user.

10. Vitriini 2010

Anu Penttinen's Vitriini boxes are the perfect way to display all the little things you love. This colorful range gives endless possibilities of storing small objects and putting them on show. I love the way the boxes combine glass, wood and aluminum in one seamless whole.

All images courtesy iittala.

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