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: Jorma Laine

Mosaic of Jorma Laine jewellery designs | H is for Home

I was doing a Google search recently for ‘Vintage Scandinavian jewellery’ (as you do!) and stumbled across the work of Jorma Laine – I’m now smitten!

Laine (1930-2002) was a Finnish jewellery designer who worked for Turun Hopea Oy, Kultateollisuus Ky, Kalevala Kory Oy and his own company, Silver-Laine.

He worked mainly in bronze and silver with the occasional use of semi-precious stones such as turquoise, tiger eye, unakite or nephrite. His style was abstract, Modernist – almost Brutalist – with Viking and tribal influences.

I’ve come across lots of stunning examples of his work but below is the only portrait of the man I could find. Perhaps it’s because he apparently spent the final years of his life living as a recluse in a log cabin in the forest of Finland.

As I said, his work is readily available and fairly affordable – from less than £50 for a bronze pendant. Try looking on Etsy and eBay if you’re interested.

Jorma Laine, jewellery designercredit

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: Vuokko Nurmesniemi

Mosaic of Vuokko Nurmesniemi designs | H is for Home

This is a Designer Desire post for all you vintage fashion fans! Vuokko Nurmesniemi (born 1930) was one of the two main pattern designers at Marimekko during the 1950s. Her striped Jokapoika (top image) was one of the company’s best sellers.

I just love her big, bold op art designs, many of which are in the New York Met’s permanent collection. Those tent coats and dresses are to die for!

I couldn’t find much of it available online. However, a few sellers on Etsy stock vintage Nurmesniemi-designed Marimekko and her own brand Vuokko Oy pieces.

Portrait of Vuokko Nurmesniemicredit

Additional image credits:

Marimekko | Pinterest

Designer Desire: Ristomatti Ratia

Mosaic of Ristomatti Ratia designs | H is for Home

Last week, we blogged about a couple of vintage Palaset storage boxes we put into our shop. Today, we’re featuring their designer, Ristomatti Ratia.

By all accounts, he has so far led a very colourful life. He’s been married numerous times, had a challenging relationship with his mother and had even appeared on the Finnish version of Dancing with the Stars.

He has, however, found the time to design all manner of products in his 50-year career. From clothing, spectacles, jewellery, glassware, cutlery and bedding to a free-standing fire and even a boat-shaped coffin and urn for ashes!

He’s best known for a couple of his early designs; firstly, his 301 shoulder bag (shown above in green) for his parents’ company, Marimekko. The other is the aforementioned, award-winning Palaset modular storage system – the LP units are especially sought after by vintage vinyl junkies. I discovered today that the ever forward-thinking Sir Terence Conran stocked Palaset in his Habitat shops in the 1970s. The image of the beanbag-seated lady is taken from a vintage Habitat catalogue.

His contemporary designs are readily available from the Finnish Design Shop and the Ratia Shop. His vintage designs pop up from time to time on 1st Dibs, eBay and Etsy.

Ristomatti Ratia has, as one might expect, a beautifully furnished home. You can take a house tour here.

Portrait of Ristomatti Ratia

credit

Additional image credits:

70 Luvulta | Flickr | Mundadaa | Why not 2nd Cycle

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Designer Desire: Björn Weckström

Mosaic of Björn Weckström designs | H is for Home

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.

Björn Weckströmcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet