Designer Desire: Heikki Orvola

Mosaic of Heikki Orvola designs | H is for Home

Heikki Orvola (b.1943) is at the vanguard of Finnish design. He works primarily in glass and ceramics and has produced designs for Notsjö Nuutajärvi, Arabia, Marimekko and Iittala. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Kaj Franck prize.

His designs are readily available on Etsy, eBay and the Scandinavian Design Center.

Portrait of Heikki Orvolacredit

Additional image credits:

1stDibs | Bukowskis | Invaluable

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

Watch the birdie!

Detail of birds taken from a vintage tin | H is for Home

In our last blog we were musing over the influence of nature on artists & designers. Also how nature has been interpreted in book illustrations etc. We randomly began with ‘fish’ as a sub-theme, we’re going to continue, equally randomly, with ‘birds’.

detail of teatowel with bird decoration | H is for Home detail of teatowel with bird decoration | H is for Home

1960s Irish linen tea towel

vintage storage jar with colourful parrot decoration | H is for Homekitchen storage jar

The items featured are again predominantly vintage finds from the 1950s, 60s & 70s. They include artworks, books and domestic wares.

amber coloured glass bird | H is for Home Brown glass robin | H is for Home
1960s Wedgewood glass birds

Check out the fantastic bird series produced for Iittala by the Finnish glass designer, Oiva Toikka started in 1973. They’re still being made today having amassed a range of over 300 designs.

John Clappison Hornsea mug with blue owl design | H is for Home John Clappison Hornsea mug with yellow owl design | H is for Home John Clappison Hornsea mug with toucan design | H is for Home John Clappison Hornsea mug with Libra design | H is for Home
John Clappison designs for Hornsea Pottery – mugs & hen ashtray

John Clappison Hornsea ashtray with hen design | H is for Home

small pottery dish with bird decoration | H is for HomeMexican pin dish

1950s cocktail drinks tray | H is for Home 1950s cocktail tray detail | H is for Home
1950s cocktail tray

We’re really pleased with this recent biscuit tin acquisition, picked up in a mixed box at a nearby auction.

vintage biscuit tin with colourful bird decoration | H is for Homefantastic 1950s graphics
vintage biscuit tin with colourful bird decoration | H is for Home vintage biscuit tin with colourful bird decoration | H is for Home

Mid century books can be a rich source of high quality, period illustrations.

Birds of Britain book cover | H is for Home

We dipped into our vintage cookery book collection again and came out with some little gems.

Collection of Stork margarine cook books | H is for Homecollection of 1950s Stork margarine recipe booklets

Bill Charmatz chicken illustration | H is for Home Bill Charmatz chicken illustration | H is for Home
Bill Charmatz illustrations
Detail from the front cover of Esquire Cook Book | H is for Home
Esquire Cook Book front cover. First published in 1956

Charley Harper illustration of an owl wearing a chef's hat | H is for Home Charley Harper illustration of long tailed birds | H is for Home Charley Harper illustration of a chicken on a drum | H is for Home
Charley Harper illustrations

Charley Harper illustration for 'Dinner for Two' Betty Crocker cook book | H is for Home

We hope you’ve enjoyed looking at our avian delights. Stay tuned for flowers, foliage, landscapes and much more!