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.
Enzo Mari is an Italian product designer who is, in our opinion, under-valued and -appreciated. He’s a life-long communist and infamous firebrand known for his staunch views on design and life in general. “Design is dead” and “form is everything” are statements made during his regular outbursts.
He states that during his design process he’s more interested in pleasing the factory worker than the consumer. Evidence of this can be seen in his 1973 Proposta per un’autoprogettazione – a manual for creating a collection of basic, DIY furniture simply using plain planks of wood and nails.
He’s produced designs for brands such as Driade, Poltronova, Alessi, KPM Berlin and, most famously, Danese Milano. It was only when researching Mari that I discovered he designed the ‘Mama’ range for Le Creuset in 1972.
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.
Alongside her husband Jerome, Evelyn Ackerman (1924-2012) was a leading light in California mid-century modernism. They were contemporaries of the likes of Alexander Girard and fellow married couple, Ray and Charles Eames.
She worked across a variety of mediums including mosaic, textile tapestry, metalwork and enamelware, stone casting and wood carving. They designed, produced and sold their work through their companies Jenev and ERA Industries.
Although mostly available in the United States (as expected), her work can occasionally be found on Etsy and eBay.
Philippe Starck is probably best known for his ‘Juicy Salif’ metal citrus squeezer or polycarbonate ‘Ghost’ chairs. However, he’s such a prolific designer – he has turned his talents to such an array of products. He has designed motorbikes and cars, clocks and wristwatches, restaurants and hotels, mineral water bottles and bottles of Champagne, spectacles and shoes. Is there anything he hasn’t designed?!
Earlier this week, we featured a book-filled sitting room that contained a Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System. Today, we’re featuring it’s designer, Dieter Rams.
Born in 1932 in Germany, Dieter Rams is considered the king of industrial design. Yes, he has designed his fair share of furniture, but it is his everyday electric and electronic items for which he is best known. He makes the mundane and practical, beautiful and desirable. Alarm clocks, men’s electric shavers, calculators, radios and heaters have all received the Rams treatment.
He designed for Braun for many years; his products are pared back, unfussy and, most of all, thoroughly usable.