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

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!