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

Forthcoming Attractions: Mid July 2017

Collection of vintage homewares

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.

Collection of vintage art glass | H is for Home

For starters, a lovely selection of glass. Various sizes, shapes and colourways – and some famous designers such as Per Lutken and Otto Brauer.

Set of cream & green vintage spice tins with rack | H is for Home

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.

Vintage Mills Moore soup spoons and dessert spoons | H is for Home

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.

Vintage Hornsea Pottery witch birthday mug | H is for Home

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
HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Orange vintage fondue set | H is for Home

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!

Vintage Esquire Drink Book | H is for Home

…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.

Illustrations from the vintage Esquire Drink Book | H is for Home

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!

Price Points: Glass teapots

Selection of glass teapots | H is for Home

We love tea here at H is for Home headquarters – green, white or builders’. Always loose leaf of course! It tends to be strong ‘builders tea’ by day, but in the evening we’re a little more refined and opt for Silver Needle, Dragon Pearl, Yellow Sun and the like.

A glass teapot makes for the perfect brew when it comes to these delicate leaves. You can watch the colour and intensity of flavour develop – pouring at your optimum point. Also, some of these more exotic ones such as blooming tea are things of beauty that need to be seen – the petals & flowers unfurling like a spring day as the hot water penetrates the dried ball.

  1. Viva Scandinavia Bjorn glass teapot, transparent, large: £25.99, Amazon
  2. Loose leaf glass teapot with infuser by Bluebird Tea Co.: £60, Notonthehighstreet
  3. Wedgwood Tea Garden glass teapot: £80, House of Fraser

Designer Desire: Erik Höglund

Mosaic of Erik Höglund glass designs | H is for Home

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.

Erik Höglund portraits

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Bukowskis | Invaluable

Forthcoming Attractions: Early May 2016

Selection of vintage homeware sourced by H is for Home

We’ve acquired some fabulous vintage items this week.

Vintage Thomas Flammfest lidded casserole dish and Johnson Brothers Op Art coffee pot

We’ll start with two pieces for the kitchen diner – both items having a distinct Op Art feel. The coffee pot has a bold pattern of squares & circles in chocolate brown, black & white. It was produced by Johnson Bros in the late 60s or early 70s. The lidded casserole dish was made around the same time and has an equally striking design – this time, a repeating pattern of tulip heads in vibrant green & blue. It was made by Thomas of Germany. As we mentioned in the last Forthcoming Attractions post, we’re big fans of much of this company’s output.

Vintage toy Mettoy Elegant typewriter with original box

This toy typewriter is a lovely example. It’s the Mettoy Elegant model in shades of pink – complete with original box. We’ve had a few of these Mettoy typewriters, but never in this colourway before.

Small vintage Dümler & Breiden fat lava vase and Cascade glass piggy bank

Next is an old favourite – the West German fat lava. This example was produced by Dumler Breiden and has a striking, sculptural form with flashes of orange to the rim and twin handle like openings. The piggy bank was made by Cascade in the 1960s/70s. We like the design and pewter colour of the glass. You might want to use this money box for display only because there’s no stoppered hole to retrieve the coins – once they’re in, they’re in!

Small goose neck desk lamp and mid century modern teak, metal & glass wall pendant lamp

And last but not least, two nice bits of lighting. The miniature desk lamp is really cute. It dates from the 1950s/60s era and has a brass coloured flexi neck – perfect for those dramatic grey interiors perhaps. The wall lamp originates from the same period and is a real beauty. The mount is teak with brass & copper detailing – the glass shade has a wonderful swirling pattern. This piece looks good against grey too – and we can also see it hanging on a bright white wall in a pared back Mid Century Modern space.

Detail from a mid century modern teak, metal & glass wall pendant lamp

If anything has taken your fancy, most of these items have just been put into our web 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.