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Ultima Thule bowl, designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala

Ultima Thule bowl, designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala

Ultima Thule bowl, designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala

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Inspired by the melting ice in Lapland, the Ultima Thule series is design legend Tapio Wirkkala’s most famous work. Wirkkala originally created the surface of Ultima Thule in the 1960s after carving into a graphic mold. Ultima Thule is an exclusive design which reflects the thousands of hours spent perfecting the glass-blowing technique required to produce the effect.

Tapio Veli Ilmari Wirkkala (2 June 1915, Hanko – 19 May 1985) was a Finnish designer and sculptor, a major figure of post-war design. His work ranges from plastic ketchup bottles and metalware to glass, ceramics and plywood in a range of styles. He designed the Finnish markka banknotes introduced in 1955. His range was immense, designing glassware, stoneware, jewelry, and furniture for mass production, as well as individual sculptures in several media. Among his most famous works have been the design for the Finlandia vodka bottle (1970-2000) and for Iittala’s Ultima Thule set of kitchen glasses. Both glassware items feature a dripping icicle look, and in the case of Iittala’s popular glassware it is said to have taken thousands of hours to develop a glassblowing technique that would produce the effect. Wirkkala did much of his initial design work using a traditional Finnish carving knife, the puukko. Wirkkala designed his own version of the knife. The Tapio Wirkkala Puukko was built by Hackman Cutlery and marketed by Brookstone in the US in the early-1970s.

Iittala, founded as a glassworks in 1881, is a Finnish design brand specialising in design objects, tableware and cookware. Iittala’s official i-logo was designed by Timo Sarpaneva in 1956. Iittala has strong design roots in glasswares and art glass which can be seen in, for example, the early designs of Aino Aalto glasses designed by Aino Aalto in 1932; Alvar Aalto’s Savoy Vase (Aalto Vase) from 1936; Oiva Toikka’s Birds by Toikka glass birds collection that has been made since 1962, his glassware set Kastehelmi from 1964 and Tapio Wirkkala’s glasses Ultima Thule from 1968. Iittala is the world’s most famous glass company in the whole world. Over time, Iittala has expanded from glass to other materials, such as ceramics and metal while keeping with their key philosophy of progressive elegant and timeless design, such as Kaj Franck’s Teema ceramic tableware from 1952 and Timo Sarpaneva’s cast iron pot Sarpaneva from 1960. Iittala focuses on timeless design which can be seen not only in older creations but in the modern classics such as cookware Tools designed by Björn Dahlström in 1998 and Heikki Orvola’s Kivi candleholders from 1988.

Source: wikipedia.org

In stock

000

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Additional information

Designer/Artist

Maker

Design Period

1968

Country of Origin

Identifying Marks

Labeled by Maker

Condition

Flawless. This vintage item is in its original state. It has no defects and no restorations

Material(s)

Color(s)

Weight

290 g

Dimensions

11,5 cm diameter, H = 5 cm

Duties Notice

If your delivery address is not in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, please be advised that import duty is not included in the prices you see online

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About Mid-Century

The father figure of Finnish applied art created some of the nation’s most recognisable designs, from household utensils to objets d’art.

Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) rose to world fame in the early 1950s following the breakthrough of Finnish industrial design at the triennial fairs of 1951 and 1954 in Milan. Wirkkala was an exceptionally versatile artist who was not held back in any design project by challenges of scale, materials or conventions.

He is best known as a glass designer although his artistry ranged from postage stamps to a fell-sized landscape memorial, and from a tumbler to a futuristic cityscape.

Wirkkala was an artist in whose work the sources of inspiration evolved into powerful shapes like natural phenomena. The object achieves perfection when the mind and the matter, the idea and its realisation, the form and the function merge. Shape was just not an aesthetic goal or intellectual perception for Wirkkala. It was born of a sensitive dialogue between thought, hand, eye and material.

Wirkkala’s themes often derived from nature: from leaves, from the swirls of seashells, from the shapes of birds or fish, or more distant observations such as ice formations or the movements of water. Usually his primal emotion is so deeply ingrained in the object created that its origin can no longer be identified or analysed. He also sought inspiration from his travels abroad and from early Renaissance art.

Wirkkala combined art and craft in serial manufacture, when artistic form met anonymous industrial production methods. He bonded Finnish rural simplicity to universal elegance, sensitivity and discernment. He wedded light-hearted experimentation to a sense of high seriousness. His objects feature both a sculptural theme and a scientifically researched functionalism.

Wirkkala’s artworks and objets d’art are exhibited in the most important museum collections the world over, while his anonymous household utensils have been well-worn in the hands of the Finnish people for decades. His name is so widely linked to luxury objects that few know, for example, that such everyday items as Finnish banknotes and ketchup and liquor bottles are Wirkkala’s creations.

Tapio Wirkkala spent long periods abroad, most notably in Italy, Germany and Latin America. His modesty, diligence and professional skill removed barriers of language and culture whether he was working with glass blowers in Venice or traditional silversmiths in Mexico.

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