Designer Desire: Kaj Franck

Mosaic of Kaj Franck designs | H is for Home

What? We’ve never featured Kaj Franck on Designer Desire before? How did that happen?!

We have some of his designs in our home and in our shop. So far, we own a ‘Muki’ mug decorated with Raija Uosikkinen’s ‘Lintu’ pattern and a large ‘Kulho’ bowl with Esteri Tomula’s ‘Tatti’ mushrooms pattern (6th from top, on the left).

The one design on his wares that I really, really desire is ‘Sydän’, the red hearts on white enamelware range (3rd from top, on the right). This pattern was designed by Gunvor Olin-Grönqvist. I’ve seen it on bowls, plates, kettles, jugs and mugs – but the condition and price has never been right.

Kaj Franck (1911-1989) was one of the leading modernist Finnish designers working in glass, ceramics, enamel and metalware. He was artistic director at Arabia (now Iittala) and produced many of their designs as well as ones for their subsidiary company, Finel. He also designed many pieces for glassware company, Notsjö Nuutajärvi.

After researching Franck’s back catalogue, we realised that there’s a similar scenario to the design collaboration between Cathrineholm designers Grete Prytz Kittelsen and Arne Clausen. One person designed the vessel (which was Franck’s domain) and others, such as Esteri Tomula and Raija Uosikkinen, produced the applied pattern.

Some of his popular ranges – such as Teema crockery, Scandia Cutlery and Kartio glassware – are still being manufactured and are available from the Scandinavian Design Center and Finnish Design Shop. I prefer his more colourful, more interesting vintage designs which are always available on eBay, Etsy, Pamono and Bukowskis.

There’s a book on Franck that I’d love to buy, or failing that, have a flick through entitled Kaj Franck – Muotoilija / Formgivare / Designer, currently on sale at around the £100 mark.

Portrait of Kaj Franckcredit

Additional image credits:
1st Dibs | Bukowskis

Designer Desire: Birger Kaipiainen

Mosaic of Birger Kaipiainen ceramics | H is for Home

We’ve mentioned ceramic designer, Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988) before on our blog – we have a cup & saucer that he designed for Arabia. A place where he claims he was, “able to grow like a weed”.

Whilst researching this post, I’ve discovered a plethora of brilliant works by him. He produced an impressive mural – 9 x 5 metres – for the 1967 World Exhibition in Montreal entitled, Orvokkimeri (Sea of Violets). Most of his other works are on a much smaller scale; vases, platters, chargers and table and serveware.

Vintage examples of his work can occasionally be found on 1st Dibs, Bukowskis, Etsy and eBay. The Finnish Design Shop sells a few of his designs that are still in production.

There was a book written by Harri Kalha to accompany a 2013 exhibition of Kaipiainen’s work that’s found its way on to my wish list!

Portrait of Birger Kaipiainen

Image credits:

Bukowskis

Designer Desire: Raija Uosikkinen

Mosaic of Raija Uosikkinen designs | H is for Home

There’s such a goldmine of vintage Scandinavian designers from which to choose, we’ve decided upon yet another this week – Raija Uosikkinen (1923-2004).

She is probably most well-known for her fruity Pomona and folk art Emilia patterns for Arabia, where she worked from 1947 to 1986. She also designed annual Christmas commemorative collectors’ plates for the company between 1978 and 1983.

The Finnish designer’s work is most easy to find on Tradera (the Scandi version of eBay), Etsy and to a lesser extent on eBay.

Portrait of Raija Uosikkinen

Image credits:

Bukowskis | Dishware Heaven | Flickr | Retronomi

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Kaipiainen cup & saucer

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Vintage Birger Kaipiainen cup & saucer

We’ve nominated this cup & saucer as the week’s favourite buy. It wasn’t particularly cheap so it didn’t get the nomination because it was a great bargain. Just simply because we absolutely love the pattern… and its extra large size which makes it perfect for a café latte or hot chocolate.

Vintage Birger Kaipiainen cup & saucer showing women's faces

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce who designed it, as the name is clearly incorporated into the pattern of stylised figures on the side.

Vintage Arabia cup & saucer showing Birger Kaipiainen's name on the bottom rim

It’s the work of Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988) who worked at Arabia Pottery of Finland for nearly 50 years.

Arabia pottery stamp

He became an honorary professor in 1977 and was referred to as both the King of Decorators and Prince of Ceramics by contemporaries.

Detail view of Birger Kaipiainen cup & saucer

Despite stretching the budget for a cup & saucer, we certainly weren’t going to leave this fabulous example of vintage Scandinavian ceramics behind!

Raija Uosikkinen lidded pot

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Vintage Arabia lidded pot designed by Raija Uosikkinen | H is for Home

We’ve selected this gorgeous little item for this week’s favourite buy.

Vintage Arabia lidded pot designed by Raija Uosikkinen | H is for Home

It’s from the Emilia range designed by Raija Uosikkinen for Arabia Pottery of Finland. She worked for the company from the 1960s onwards and produced some wonderful designs. The colourful preserve pots with stylised fruit decoration and the plates depicting the Kalevala legend also spring to mind.

Vintage Arabia lidded pot showing base stamp | H is for Home

This particular piece is a lidded sugar bowl… also perfect for jewellery, keys, loose change – or any small precious thing!

Detail from a  Vintage Arabia lidded pot designed by Raija Uosikkinen | H is for Home

We really don’t come across pieces from this range too often, so it’s lovely to handle them. They’re incredibly detailed, but also have a charming simplicity. Coming to the shop soon!

Forthcoming Attractions: Mid March 2013

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selection of vintage homewares including Babysham party pack in original packaging, red enamel Finel coffee pot designed by Anti Nurmesniemi, Arabia milk jug, pair of staplers, trio of milk bottles, Figgjo Flint Turi Daisy cup & saucer, set of tin drink coasters and trio of Altenkunstadt pottery vases designed by Cari Zalloni

Here’s a selection of vintage homewares that we added to the H is for Home webshop this weekend.

vintage Arabia milk jug and Figgjo Flint Turi Daisy cup & saucer

Some lovely Scandinavian pieces for kitchen/dining including the cow milk jug produced by Arabia and the Daisy cup & saucer by Figgjo Flint.

vintage red enamel Finel coffee pot designed by Anti Nurmesniemi

Also, this red enamel coffee pot designed by Anti Nurmesniemi for Finel – such a classic piece of Scandinavian mid century modern!

trio of vintage blue circle Altenkunstadt vases

Moving a short distance across Europe to Germany – this trio of vases were designed by Cari Zalloni for Altenkunstadt Pottery. They’re from his ‘Cirkel’ range and the Op Art pattern is really striking. We’ve listed them separately, but they do look great grouped together. If you’d like to re-home them as a family, then we can do a special price on the three together!

vintage Babysham party pack in original packaging

These Babycham glasses were a good find. You quite often come across them looking a bit tired (well, they have been partying!). The logos & gold rims are often well rubbed, but these are absolutely mint in their original display box.

three vintage milk bottles advertising Brooke Bond Tea, Ready Brek and Kellogg's Corn Flakes

A bit more advertising ware. These milk bottles were popular in the 1970s & 80s – much more exciting that a drab Tetrapak carton! You could decant your milk into them to brighten up your morning cereal – or they’re perfect for cut flowers too.

pair of vintage staplers

We’ve been picking up a lot of industrial vintage items recently. These staplers fit in very well with that theme adding a vintage touch to a desk or shelf whilst remaining completely functional.