I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.
Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.
He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.
A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.
Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:
A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.
Alan Fletcher (1931-2006) was one of the true giants of 20th century graphic design. He is the legend that designed the logos of news agency, Reuters and the V&A museum.
He designed book & magazine covers and illustrations for publishers such as Penguin, Time, Life and Fortune. He designed advertising material for brands such as Pirelli, Olivetti and Cunard. He even designed the cover artwork for Pulp’s 2001 album, We Love Life.
Fletcher was one of the five original founders of Pentagram, today the world’s largest independent design consultancy. He was an art college contemporary of, amongst others, David Gentleman, Terence Conran, Peter Blake and Peter Firmin.
There are examples of his Mebel clam ashtrays, books, postcards and limited-edition prints available on eBay and Etsy.
Alongside her husband Jerome, Evelyn Ackerman (1924-2012) was a leading light in California mid-century modernism. They were contemporaries of the likes of Alexander Girard and fellow married couple, Ray and Charles Eames.
She worked across a variety of mediums including mosaic, textile tapestry, metalwork and enamelware, stone casting and wood carving. They designed, produced and sold their work through their companies Jenev and ERA Industries.
Although mostly available in the United States (as expected), her work can occasionally be found on Etsy and eBay.
Earlier this week, we discovered the designs of Laila Zink (1915-1999) whilst researching the identity of the designer who created a large pottery charger that we’d bought at the flea market. She worked for pottery manufacturers Kupittaan Savi based in Finland. Her work is very distinctive – stylised folk art figures, flowers and landscapes. The elongated facial features and almond shaped eyes of the ladies (and it does usually seem to be ladies) are instantly recognisable. Her pieces are all hand painted and very individual.
We couldn’t find out much information about either her or Kupittaan Savi. A book has been written about the company… however it’s in Finnish. Her work isn’t very commonplace however, there are currently a few examples available on Etsy and eBay.
Philippe Starck is probably best known for his ‘Juicy Salif’ metal citrus squeezer or polycarbonate ‘Ghost’ chairs. However, he’s such a prolific designer – he has turned his talents to such an array of products. He has designed motorbikes and cars, clocks and wristwatches, restaurants and hotels, mineral water bottles and bottles of Champagne, spectacles and shoes. Is there anything he hasn’t designed?!