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.
Additional image credits:
1st Dibs | Bukowskis
We put loads of new items in the web shop last week – one of our a ‘Forthcoming Attractions‘ posts would have been very much in order, but we didn’t get round to it – slapped wrists! We vowed to do one soon though – so here it is! It’s a much smaller selection this week, but some nice pieces all the same.
For starters, a lovely selection of glass. Various sizes, shapes and colourways – and some famous designers such as Per Lutken and Otto Brauer.
Next up we have a very cute little spice rack. There’s a wall-mountable metal shelf with six labelled metal tin pots. It dates from the 1950s era and is in very good condition – the perfect vintage touch for any kitchen.
We don’t normally pick up part sets of cutlery, but we had good reason this time. We had some of this walnut-handled Mills Moore cutlery in our web shop a couple of years ago – and so many people have enquired about it since it sold that we vowed to keep an eye out for more. Perhaps someone out there would like to add these soup and dessert spoons to their collection. It’s very stylish and beautifully made.
One of last weeks item’s was a Hornsea ‘Birthday Mug’ by John Clappison. We’ve decided to add another example from our collection this week – a magnificent spooky witch design. The sweet verse underneath reads:
If I but had THREE WISHES
And only one came true,
I’d ride with these THREE WITCHES
Upon their broom to YOU
From monochrome to eye-popping colour! This fab orange fondue set looks like the perfect thing for a cold winter’s evening. Log fire, glass of wine, melting cheese – bliss!
…and finally a late arrival (today in fact) – the Esquire Drink Book dating from the 1950s. It’s interesting, informative and funny… and is packed with the most gorgeous illustrations by renowned artist (and one of our personal favourites) Bill Charmatz. We already own a copy, so this one’s for sale.
As usual, these pieces will be split between web shop and physical shop, but blog readers will have first dibs – so let us know if anything catches your eye!
We’ve not really featured any artists who specialise in glass so far in Designer Desire but that is about to change with this mosaic of work by Erik Höglund.
Best known for his people decanters for Kosta Boda (where he worked for 20 years), Höglund had a long and industrious career designing all manner of art glass. From the smallest coin-sized sun catchers to large-scale candelabra.
His decorative pieces are colourful and playful with organic, flowing forms. Many of them are designed to interact beautifully with light in some way – be it electric, fire, candle or the sun.
We have a few favourite pieces amongst this selection – perhaps the fabulous mid century modern fire-screen just edges it – or maybe that gorgeous ceiling candelabra. Tough choice!
There are always quite a lot of his works available for sale online – from just a few pounds to thousands & thousands. As a starting point, check out Etsy and eBay.
1st Dibs | Artnet | Bukowskis | Invaluable
Here’s a selection of recent buys.
Ladies first, of course – a lovely vintage framed print of ‘Tina’ by J H Lynch. This one’s a very nice copy with original green hessian border.
Two lamps by Herbert Terry & Sons next. The older of the pair, a classic Anglepoise, has the stepped base which is much sought after. It has obvious signs of wear, but we like this finish. Not battered, but loved & used. The other goose-necked lamp dates from the 1960s – we’ve not actually had this model before, but it’s a nice design – perfect for desk or bedside.
This Bitossi bowl is very attractive. We love the incised and stamped decoration and bold colours – very boho vintage!
More handmade decoration with this glass vase with blue glass trailed over the pink marbled glass. It’s like a boiled sweet and very tactile. There’s an etched makers mark for Mdina glass to the base.
Finally, some vintage place mats. We’ve had this op-art like circle pattern in various shades and mat sizes over the years. They’re very eye-catching and always prove popular.
As always, the various pieces will be divided between our web shop and antiques centre space. Get in touch if you see anything that takes your fancy.
We have a high-end Charity Vintage item for you this week. Helen & Douglas House* are selling this fantastic vintage Whitefriars nipple vase.
An identical vase, in the same sage green colourway, sold in March for £800. Another nipple vase, in kingfisher blue, ends tomorrow and is currently at £450. Yet another, in aqua, is for sale elsewhere online with a price of £900. This example above is listed with a ‘buy it now’ price of £800 but they are open to offers; a very fair price.
Up until fairly recently, we had a collection of tangerine Whitefriars art glass. However, as is the way when you’re vintage dealers, items come & go, ebb & flow.
*Helen & Douglas House is a registered charity providing respite and end of life care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions, as well as support and friendship for the whole family.
We often speak of living with things for a while before they reach our shop – and this is a case in point. We steadily added glass vases to the windowsill on our landing over recent years, building up quite a collection. We’ve enjoyed looking at them each time we passed – the natural light enhancing the gorgeous olive green colourway & highlighting the different shapes… but now it’s time to let them go. Here they are pictured sitting atop a 1960s teak bookcase in our Picture House Antiques space – they look great grouped together.
They’re all produced by Finnish glass company Riihimäki in the 1960s. For the sake of accuracy, we should attribute them to Riihimäen Lasi Oy as the company was renamed in the late 1930s, but they’re still often referred to as Riihimäki vases. The company had some very notable designers such as Aimo Okkolin, Timo Sarpaneva, Helena Tynell, Nanny Still, Tamara Aladin and Erkkitapio Siiroinen.
We’ve got them priced up between £15 & £35… and of course we’ve started a new windowsill collection!!