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.
Aram | Arch Daily | Finnish Design Shop
We’ve selected this gorgeous little item for this week’s favourite buy.
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.
This particular piece is a lidded sugar bowl… also perfect for jewellery, keys, loose change – or any small precious thing!
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!
(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.
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!!
Perhaps ‘find’ is too strong a word – more a patient track down. We’ve long coveted this particular enamel mug designed by Kaj Franck for Finel.
We’ve been holding out for a really good example, in pristine condition. Our wait ended this week when we won the bidding on a well-known auction website. We just love the stylised birds and fiery colours – it really is a stunner!
Finel is responsible for some fantastic pieces of enamelware.
Great designers such as the aforementioned Kaj Franck, Seppo Mallat and Antti Nurmesniemi worked for the company.
Their pieces are decorative, functional & well made.
We have quite a few pieces dotted around the house including cups, teapots & bowls.
This bowl is decorated with a fabulous mushroom design. It was probably intended for the kitchen or dining table, but ours seems to have adopted the role of tea light storage container!
We also like to keep examples for sale in the shop. We currently have one of the teapot/kettles shown above. Also, this lovely set of bowls – perfect for serving starters, salads, curries, desserts – anything really! It consists of one large bowl with the geometric circle/grid design and six smaller bowls in the same vibrant blue.
One more design that still eludes us is the repeating red & white heart shape one – but we’re keeping our eyes peeled!
Any of you vintage fans born in 1979? This could be the perfect thing for you.
It’s one of a series of ceramic date plates produced annually by Arabia of Finland.
Designed by Raija Uosikkinen, they take their inspiration from the Kalevala – the epic national saga of Finland.
Here’s an extract from the English translation of Rune 33 from which this plate draws its reference:
From a tree the raven answered:
“O thou little silver buckle,
Only son of old Kalervo,
Why art thou in evil humor,
Wherefore sad in thy demeanor?
Take a young shoot from the thicket,
Take a birch-rod from the valley,
Drive thy herd across the lowlands,
Through the quicksands of the marshes;
To the wolves let one half wander,
To the bear-dens, lead the other;
Sing the forest wolves together,
Sing the bears down from the mountains,
Call the wolves thy little children,
And the bears thy standard-bearers;
Drive them like a cow-herd homeward,
Drive them home like spotted cattle,
Drive them to thy master’s milk-yards;
Thus thou wilt repay the hostess
For her malice and derision.”
You don’t have to be born in 1979… they were made from the mid 1970s to the late 1990s. That gives a good span of potentially significant years – birthdays, anniversaries etc.
And don’t mind if there isn’t a special date to be marked… the artwork is so fabulous, they’re covetable for the patterns alone.
Having said that, there’s sure to be a few completists out there who are just going to have to have the full set – and we wouldn’t blame you!!