Designer Desire: Alvar Aalto

Mosaic of Alvar Aalto designs | H is for Home

We think this might be the first time we’ve featured a designer who is also an accomplished architect. Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was a Finnish product designer who worked in furniture, textiles, glass and lighting.

He designed many buildings that are located all over the world  and include churches, museums, hospitals, private homes, a sanatorium, a library and an event venue.

Many of his products are still in production today. We’ve linked to a couple of the places you can find them below.

Alvar Aaltocredit

Image credits:

Aram | Arch Daily | Finnish Design Shop

Forthcoming Attractions: End February 2016

'Forthcoming Attractions' blog post banner

collection of vintage homewares

Here are some of our recent purchases and forthcoming attractions.

vintage brass horse and wooden printers letters

We’ll start with our little equine friend. Mid century brass horses – they’re like buses – we don’t pick one up for years then four come at once! We’ve just sold a lovely pair of similar horses in the web shop this week. This one’s equally stylish. Frederick Weinberg is a name often mentioned in connection with this kind of piece. As with the previous pair, this horse dates from the 1960s era and has a classic Etruscan like form. You’ll also notice some of those lovely vintage wooden printer’s blocks lurking there. We’ve just got hold of another small quantity of letters & numbers. They’ll be heading to our antiques centre space as it’s not really practical to list them all individually on the website… but if you’re after a particular letter or number, drop us a line and we’ll let you know what we have.

Vintage Wiktor Berndt face vase and Riihimaki vase

Next we have a couple of lovely Scandinavian glass vases. The green hooped example is known as a ‘tulppaani’ or tulip vase and was designed by Tamara Aladin for Riihimaki of Finland – and the amber ‘face’ vase was designed by Wiktor Berndt for Flygsfors of Sweden. Both date from the 1960s and the latter is signed to the base.

Antique earthenware cup Antique earthenware cup

We’ll head back a couple of hundred years with the next piece. It’s a small transfer printed cup featuring the tale of Cock Robin. It’s got chips, cracks and the handle’s missing – but it’s such a charming little object. Perfect with a few fresh flowers on a small table, tray or windowsill.

Vintage Rorstrand 'Party' teapot

This vintage tin is really lovely and the condition is remarkable considering it dates from the late 1950s/early 60s. It has a ski and winter sports theme with fabulous illustrations to the lid and sides. It still retains the original label to the underside for a ‘mallow selection’ produced by Elkes Biscuits. It’s the ideal container for cakes or home-made cookies. And if any of our readers out there do happen to own a mid century modern ski chalet… well it’s just perfection!!

Detail from vintage biscuit tin with alpine illustrations

And finally, we have to give a mention to this gorgeous teapot by Rorstrand. It’s not actually a recent purchase, but it feels like a new item to us. We misplaced the lid about 5 years ago. We’d given it up for sure – and it really irked us every time we came across the lidless pot in a storage box. Someone recently ordered a coffee set and as we unwrapped the various cups and plates from their newspaper wrapping, there it was! The little lid with its distinctive pattern peeking out of a piece of paper at the bottom of the box. How it got in there we don’t know – but what a great feeling! Anyway, we thought we’d give it a mention in our recent finds post! We’re always happy to share pictures of this wonderfully designed teapot anyway.

Kaipiainen cup & saucer

'Kaipiainen cup & saucer' blog post banner

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

'Raija Uosikkinen lidded pot' blog post banner

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!

Charity Vintage: Kaj Franck for Finel mushroom design bowl

"Charity Vintage" blog post banner

vintage Finel mushroom design bowl by Kaj Frank for sale on eBay for Chrity by & in support of CLIC Sargent(ends 1 May, 2014 15:38:37 BST)

This vintage Finel mushroom design bowl, by Kaj Franck, is up for sale on eBay by & in support of CLIC Sargent*. It’s on at a very reasonable price – buy it now for £44.99 plus there’s free P&P.

We regularly sell Finel enamel items in our web shop. We actually have this very bowl in our own personal collection. We love the black & white mushroom illustration. We’ve only ever seen the enamel bowl (in different sizes), but the design is available on a lidded saucepan, chopping board and even pottery cups, plates and bowls (for Arabia).

*CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. They provide clinical, practical and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life. They are there from diagnosis onwards and aim to help the whole family deal with the impact of cancer and its treatment, life after treatment and, in some cases, bereavement.



George Him matchbook

'vintage George Him match-book' banner

detailed view of a vintage George Him match-book front cover | H is for Home

We’ve tracked down another one of these fabulous & rare, vintage match-books produced for Liberty in the 1960s.

detailed view of a vintage George Him match-book edge showing words '150 CRON MATCHES MADE IN FINLAND | Designed for Liberty of London by vintage George Him

The last example we featured was designed by Miroslav Sasek – this one’s the work of another favourite illustrator, George Him.

vintage George Him match-book front cover

A row of guardsmen provides the inspiration – each with their own unique facial expression & medal collection.

inside view of vintage George Him match-book

The match-book is unused and in very good condition. They really are rare survivors and don’t appear often.

vintage George Him match-book rear cover

We actually had this one sent all the way from America.

collection of vintage London items including vintage Him match-book and London series ceramic tiles designed by Kenneth Townsend

We’ve added it to our collection of quirky London inspired design pieces – they really put a smile on our faces.