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.
We bought this yellow Cathrineholm kettle with a view to it going into our webshop, but as soon as Adelle saw it emerge from its brown paper packaging, she went all Gollum from Lord of the Rings on us. “Come to me, my precious!”, she exclaimed. The chances of it ever being re-sold slid away rapidly as the golden enamel glow filled her eyes!
It was added to our shelves of vintage Scandinavian loveliness – high up so it couldn’t easily be removed!
Another design we’ve been waiting to get hold of for a while is this Op Art crockery by Seltmann Weiden. We had it in stock previously and sold it all. This time we’ll sell some, but keep a piece or two. By coincidence, they appeared in the same week. They work very well together don’t they? The perfect combination for a bright and cheery afternoon tea we think.
Born in 1931, Anita Nylund is the daughter of the late Gunnar Nylund, Artistic Director of Rörstrand. Her grandfather Felix was a Finnish painter and sculptor, so she’s from a great artistic pedigree.
She studied at Otte Skölds Målarskola in Stockholm and then on to Paris and Florence. On her return to Sweden, she began working as a ceramic designer at Jie Gantofta where she produced a plethora of often folk-inspired designs.
The patterns included ‘Vår lilla stad’ (Our small town), ‘Familjen Pepparsson’ (Pepper family), ‘Prisma’ (Prism), ‘Cookie’ and ‘Janssons frestelse’ (Jansson’s temptation). They decorate plates, platters and serving dishes, salt & pepper shakers, salt pigs, butter dishes and all manner and size of storage jars.
Examples can be found readily on eBay and are still fairly affordable for the time being. Definitely one to watch!
Inger Waage was a long-serving designer working on ceramics at the Norwegian company, Stavangerflint. She began with them in 1953, continued when the firm merged with Figgjo Flint in 1968 and on until they closed the Stavanger branch in 1979.
One of our favourite of the many, many designs of hers is the dark haired lady with almond shaped eyes, huge earrings and flowers in her hair. She uses this motif again and again on bowls, vases, plates and lidded containers.
Some of her best loved and desirable tableware designs include Lotus, Bambus, Pernile and Kongo.
Al & Lena Eklund are Swedish product designers. Much of their work has a Pop Art feel with it’s bold patterns and bright, contrasting colours. Their designs can be found on lots of different homewares such as trays and coasters, thermometers, oven gloves, egg cosies and storage tins.
Apparently, they met at Beckmans College of Design (which Lens’a mother, Göta Trägårdh, co-founded) and soon after leaving began designing textitles for STOBO – Al’s Ornito is featured in our mosaic above. The couple are much more well known however, for their designs on paper, metal and plastic which they produced in collaboration with Laurids Lønborg (known as ‘Sunny’ to his friends). The email reply went on to say that Lønborg was less artistic than the Eklunds, but was an astute businessman and negotiator with suppliers and distributors.
Lønborg also worked with Gunnar Flørning on the wooden figures of animals… but enough about him, this post is about the Eklunds – perhaps he’ll be the subject of another of our Designer Desire posts!
The Eklunds emigrated to New York for a time in the 1970s where they worked on textile and wallpaper designs. Lena passed away in 2007 after a short illness at the age of 72.
Born in 1931, Lisa Larson is a Swedish ceramic designer. She worked for Gustavsberg, under Stig Lindberg, from the 1954 through to 1980 when she branched out on her own working for, amongst others, Royal Krona, Duka, Åhléns department stores and Kooperativa Förbundet.
Larson is probably best known for her small sculptures of animals and children of the world, but we absolutely adore her glazed tiles. The Viking ship at the top right of the mosaic is ours – and we’ve also got an elephant. So, it’s a collection of just two at the moment – but we’ve always got our eyes peeled hoping to happen across more. 🙂
As you can probably tell, Larson is an animal lover – but she verges on the obsessive when it comes to cats!
If you have a look at the short film below, she has the most beautiful sculpture of a cat which just begs to be stroked – so tactile. If you don’t speak Swedish, you can turn on subtitles by clicking on the left icon (next to the one that looks like a cog) along the bottom panel.