In this section we present vintage utility items that are designed by well known, many of them also award winning artists and designers.
In the middle of last century, design began to prosper in Finland in all areas at the same time. Home decor, furniture, glass industry, as well as ceramics and fabric. - "Why shouldn't everyday items be properly designed and beautiful", was the general attitude! The prevailing mantra was that an item should be practical and useful but at the same time provide atmosphere and beauty to everyday life. As a result of that era we now have many beautiful and atmosphere bringing vintage items by skillful designers for sale in this section, mainly table ware, vases, utility glass and and some items for home decor also. The products that here are for sale are found further below the short presentation of some of these artists. So please scroll all the way down to see the actual items!
And you are welcome also to visit our huge section with Oiva Toikka's birds and the other one with his cubes, as well as the section with Nanny Still's vases, our Moomin collection, and last but not least the Art Glass collection!
Alvar Aalto (1898-1976)is today Finland's most famous architect and designer, and was kind of a pioneer for this new era that was coming. He was very productive in many fields, as he usually in addition to being the architect also often designed the interior of the building and thus also designed furniture, lamps, vases etc... He and his wife were co-owners to an interior decor shop named Artek in Helsinki, that still sells these items of his as well as of other designers including Aino Aalto's, his wife's designs. Theperhaps most widely known utility glass of Alvar Aalto is the Savoy vase with its many variants. He has told that he got inspiration to the wavy form of the Savoy vase from observing the leather of an Eskimo woman's leather pants. He designed one of the variants for Restaurant Savoy. It was, and is still, a fine dining restaurant in the very center of Helsinki, Finland. The restaurant opened 1937 and Alvar Aalto and his wife planned all of the interior to that restaurant, including tables and chairs, lamps vases.. The restaurant is by the way still today furnished in the same way as originally!
Kaarina Aho (1925-1990)worked as a designer at Arabia 1946-62, she won silver medal for her ceramic design at the Milan Triennial both 1954 and 1957.
Kaj Franck (1911-1989) loved the beauty of simple and proportional forms, and he liked colors. Kaj Franck designed stunning Art Glass items as well as numerous classy beautiful and functional utility glass and table ware items. He was a trendsetter for the new type of classy beautiful table ware with simple harmonic forms. In the Milan Triennial he von 1951 a gold medal for his ceramic table goods (“Kilta”), and 1957 a Grand Prix for his colorful enamel metal bowls. Kilta was produced in several colors and was later relaunched as Teema, which is an almost identical variant of the Kilta series.
Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988) is one of the most successful and well known ceramic artists in Finland. He worked at Arabia Art department 1937-88 and some of the wall plates that he designed at Arabia Ceramics factory got really famous. Birger Kaipiainen's utility ceramics series like Paratiisi (Paradise), Apila (Clover) and Sunnuntai (Sunday) have been and are still very popular. Theses series has even been relaunched.
Heljä Liukko-Sundström (1938-->) is well known for her decorations on ceramics. Especially the beautiful wall plates and the bunny mugs are popular. She has written illustrated story books for children, and has been awarded also for this work.
Gunnel Nyman (1909-1948) Was a very gifted designer and among the trendsetters that for the new wave of. Unfortunately she died at only 39 years of age of cancer. She was post awarded at the World Fair in Paris
Ulla Procope (1921-1968) designed for Arabia 1948-66. Among other things she designed the forms for Arabia Flora ceramics series (decoration by Esteri Tomula) and both the forms and the decorations for the classic Valencia table ware series which was so popular that it was in production from the beginning of 1960 until 2002. Valencia was the last table ware in Arabia's production that was hand colored.
Nanny Still (1926-2009), graduated 1949 from the Art and Design School in Helsinki. After that she designed for Riihimäen lasi (glass factory in Riihimäki in Finland), and continued with this into the -70:s, although she married an American in 1958 and moved to Brussels in 1959, and there also designed for others (Rosenthal for instance). Nanny Still designed both art glass objects and utility objects. During her career she has designed almost anything from jewelry to frying pans.
Timo Sarpaneva (1926-2006) designed for Iittala glass factory in 1950:s to the1990:s. He won awards for his design at multiple Milan Triennials. In 1957 the award was for his multicolored i-plates and i-bowls.
Oiva Toikka (1931-1919) designed a hole range of utility glass and also some ceramics, as well as Art glass items, Birds and Cubes. Kastehelmi (Dewdrop series), Pioni (Peony flower series) and Flora are some of the more well known utility glass series by Toikka.
Esteri Tomula (1920-1998) worked 1947-84 as an artist at the hand decoration department of Arabia. She planned the decorations for among others the Flora table ware series, which is very sought for these days.
Raija Uosikkinen (1923-2004) also worked at the hand decoration department at Arabia 1947-86. And many of the Arabia tableware that we remember from our childhood and from grandma's home is decorated by Raija Uosikkinen. The Pomona decorations with no less than 9 different berry or fruit patterns was introduced in 1965 and got very popular also abroad and these items feel fresh and lively also today and are sought for. The pattern was in the beginning mainly used on jars and bowls for jams and marmalades but later these patterns decorated up to 16 different items. Many of these were formed by Kai Franck, but the strawberry plates are formed by award winning Finnish designer Kaarina Aho.
Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) designed in many materials, a lot in glass. Among his production you will here find vases and other utility glass ware, often with inspiration from observing frozen waters in nature. And in our Art Glass section you will find more creations of this iconic Finnish designer.