Designer Desire: Björn Weckström

Mosaic of Björn Weckström designs | H is for Home

I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.

Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.

He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.

A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.

Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:

A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.

Björn Weckströmcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet

Designer Desire: Arne Jacobsen

Mosaic of Arne Jacobsen designs | H is for Home

Arne Jacobsen was one of the designers that featured in our 100 Chairs book review this week. He’s best known for his iconic chairs – the Swan, the Egg, the Ant, the Giraffe, the Tongue – but during his 40-year career, he also designed lighting, stainless steel tableware, cutlery, textiles and buildings.

Probably his most famous building is the SAS Royal Hotel (now known as the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel) which opened in 1960 in his home city of Copenhagen. He designed the building and almost all its fixtures & fittings, from the furniture down to the ashtrays.

Many of his works are still in production; you can purchase genuine vintage or brand new pieces from eBay, Heal’s, Trouva and the Conran Shop.

Arne Jacobsen portraitcredit

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Etsy

Designer Desire: Alvar Aalto

Mosaic of Alvar Aalto designs | H is for Home

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.

Alvar Aaltocredit

Image credits:

Aram | Arch Daily | Finnish Design Shop

Charity Vintage: Stavangerflint plate

"Charity Vintage" blog post banner

Stavangerflint plate designed by Inger Waage with a handpainted face of a woman for sale on eBay for Charity in support of Age UK South Lakeland
(ends 29 Apr 2013 19:13:13 BST)

We’ve just spied this beautiful vintage Stavangerflint plate on the web. It was hand painted by Inger Waage in the 1950s/60s. These female faces always make me think of Cleopatra or Spanish señoritas – it must be their huge almond-shaped eyes and big hooped earrings!

She’s currently up for sale on eBay for charity in support of Age UK South Lakeland*

*Age UK South Lakeland offers help and support to older people living in the rural community of South Lakeland, enabling them to retain their independence and choice. We have a commitment to volunteering and campaigning and providing services to all people aged over 50.

Fine Finel Find!

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detailed view of red, vintage Finel enamel mug decorated with repeating bird pattern | H is for Home

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.

red, vintage Finel enamel mug decorated with repeating bird pattern

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!

view of the base of a red, vintage Finel enamel mug decorated with repeating bird pattern

Finel is responsible for some fantastic pieces of enamelware.

red, vintage Finel enamel kettle

Great designers such as the aforementioned Kaj Franck, Seppo Mallat and Antti Nurmesniemi worked for the company.

detailed view of a red, vintage Finel enamel kettle

Their pieces are decorative, functional & well made.

large, vintage Finel enamel bowl decorated with mushroom pattern

We have quite a few pieces dotted around the house including cups, teapots & bowls.

detailed view of a large, vintage Finel enamel bowl decorated with mushroom pattern

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!

collection of blue vintage Finel enamel bowl decorated with circles in a square pattern

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.

detailed view of a collection of blue vintage Finel enamel bowl decorated with circles in a square pattern
One more design that still eludes us is the repeating red & white heart shape one – but we’re keeping our eyes peeled!

R is for… Rorstrand

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detail of a pear from a Rorstrand pottery dish | H is for Home

Swedish ceramic production has been dominated by 3 firms – Gustavsberg, Upsala-Ekeby and the subject of today’s blog… Rorstrand.

'Pop' series teapot by Inger Persson for RorstrandPop series teapot by Inger Persson

Rorstrand is in fact, the 2nd oldest porcelain manufacturer in Europe, having been established in 1726. However, most of its early production was based on successful ranges developed by other factories.

'Koka' teapot by Hertha Bengston for Rorstrand | H is for Home
Koka
range by Hertha Bengston

The arrival of Alf Wallander as Art Director in 1895 was very significant. The factory began producing original, distinctive and innovative ceramics of its own.

Small 'Eden' lidded pot by Marianne Westman | H is for HomeEden range by Marianne Westman
'Eden' casserole dish by Marianne Westman | H is for Home

Rorstrand has attracted some of the most talented artists & designers of the day. Names such as Edward Hald, Louise Adelberg, Carl-Harry Stalhane, Hertha Bengston, Gunnar Nylund, Marianne Westman, Inger Persson and Bertil Vallien.

Stoneware ewers by Gunner NylundStoneware ewers by Gunner Nylund

The mid-twentieth output is our own personal favourite – with its simple stoneware designs & informal tableware ranges such as Picknick and Eden.

Rorstrand 'Picknick' serving trayPicknick serving tray

Rorstrand 'Ark' plate and bowlArk plate and bowl

There have been various mergers & takeovers within Swedish ceramics – the ‘big three’ firms are today part of a single conglomerate – Designer Oy.

Rorstrand 'Granada' pattern milk jug | H is for HomeGranada pattern milk jug

Rorstrand is still producing great ceramics – take a look at their current designers & ranges.

Of the recent output, we’re fond of the Grade tableware designed by Pia Torwell in 2000 – simple, functional & beautiful.

Rorstrand 'Grade' ceramic kitchen/tablewareGrade kitchen/tableware

For more information about Rorstrand & Swedish ceramics in general check out the books listed below. They’re packed full of images!

Additional images courtesy:
Fischler, George & Gould, Barrett: Scandinavian Ceramics and Glass 1940s to 1980s
Fiell, Charlotte and Peter: Scandinavian Design