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Arkipelago candlestik, designed by Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala
Arkipelago candlestik, designed by Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala
Arkipelago candlestik, designed by Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala
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The “Arkipelago” candlesticks, designed by Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala, were produced in different sizes and were created from the very beginning to be collected. Precisely to give them a high degree of preciousness, the glass is hand-molded.
Timo Tapani Sarpaneva (31 October 1926 – 6 October 2006) was an influential Finnish designer, sculptor, and educator best known in the art world for innovative work in glass, which often merged attributes of display art objects with utilitarian designations. While glass remained his most commonly addressed medium, he worked with metal, wood, textiles, and porcelain (china). Sarpaneva has entered homes around the world through his industrial design of upscale, artistically conceived items, including cast-iron cookware and porcelain dinnerware. His work was among the key components that helped to launch Finland’s reputation as a trailblazer of design. Sarpaneva’s first international recognition in glass work came with a Grand Prix from the Milan Triennale in 1954 that included Sarpaneva’s series Orkidea (“Orchid”), Kajakki (“Kayak”), and Lansetti (“Lancet”) adopted for production by Iittala.
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.
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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; Heikki Orvola’s Kivi candleholders from 1988; Alfredo Häberli’s ceramic Origo tableware designed in 1999 and the Essence glasses from 2001; Anu Penttinen’s Vitriini from 2010 and the tableware Sarjaton using ceramic, glass, wood and textile as materials, designed by Harri Koskinen, Aleksi Kuokka, Musuta and Samuji in 2012.
Iittala’s continued success is due to their close working relationship with great designers and ensuring that the end product is always in conformity with the designers’ wishes but also by keeping true to their core values, philosophy and by continuously producing high quality products that over time are refreshed with new colours and variations that, thanks to a design archiving system created by Erkki Vesanto in 1936 ensures that all designs are not too closely related to each other. With a few exceptions, until the 1920s Iittala’s glassblowers, product models and designs still came from Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Belgium. Iittala’s first in house designer was Alfred Gustafsson. Through an initiative by then deputy director Claës Norstedt in 1903 Alfred Gustafsson created his most famous works, the glass tumblers series Great Men. This series was a passive protest against Russian rule and depicted men that were instrumental to Finnish society and culture. The 1920s and ’30s was Iittala’s crystal age, in 1929 Iittala was recognized by the World Exposition in Barcelona for the crystals that were being produced at their glassworks. In 1932 Göran Hongell, was hired by Karhula-Iittala and became the first designer hired for a Finnish glassworks. Hongell initiated collaboration between designers and glassblowers by bringing drawings to the glass workshop to ask about technical aspects of blowing the object. Karhula-Iittala also collaborated with many other designers including Gunnel Nyman and Lisa Johansson-Pape. Aino and Alvar Aalto brought functionalism to Finland and Iittala in the 1930s. In 1932 Aino Aalto entered and earned second place in the Karhula-Iittala design competition with her Bölgeblick series. The glass was presented to international audiences in London in 1933 and at the Milano Triennial in 1936, where Aino Aalto won the gold medal. The design featured not just simplicity but a new functionalism, as they were stackable. Aino Aalto glasses are still being manufactured. In 1936 Alvar Aalto created the Aalto vase (Savoy) his most famous object, which was first displayed at the 1937 Paris World Exposition. The Aalto Vase is iconic, world-famous and more than 75 years after its creation it is still being produced at the Iittala glassworks. Antero Järvinen as director in 1946 had the foresight to set the stage for designers to become the driving force of Iittala and in a competition in Stockholm this played out with the entries not just being sandblasting and engraving but also designing an engraving to go on vases designed by Iittala’s Göran Hongell. Tapio Wirkkala won first place and the 2nd and 3rd-place winner was Kaj Franck. Järvinen was very pleased with the outcome of the competition and Wirkkala and Franck were given free rein to design art glass at the Iittala glassworks. Thanks to the efforts of Kaj Franck and Tapio Wirkkala the attitude to glass changed. Clarity and refraction of light began to be appreciated from a new perspective. Since the late 1940s, the designers Göran Hongell and Erkki Vesanto concentrated on serial production while Tapio Wirkkala and Kaj Franck focused on designing art glass. The results could be seen, with the Karhula-Iittala catalogue of 1949 being completely different than its predecessors and containing objects of beauty. Göran Hongell’s Aarne glass set, designed in 1948, was awarded a gold medal at the 1954 Milan Triennale – and is still in production. Järvinen’s push to make design more relevant was continued when Håkan Södermaström became the administrator in 1950 and further pushed the Iittala glassworks to apply design to the entire range of products. At the Fairs in Helsinki in 1950, Karhula-Iittala was awarded gold for their products and the public voted Tapio Wirkkala’s Kantarelli as the most beautiful object at the exhibition. The 1950s were a further highlight for Finnish design starting with the Milan Triennale from 1951 awarding Finland 25 prizes. 3 Grand Prix’s were awarded to Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva received a Silver Medal. In 1954 another Grand Prix was awarded to Wirkkala. This was followed by the Milan Triennale awarding Timo Sarpaneva a Grand Prix in 1957. In 1952 Kaj Franck, who was also the artistic director of Arabia, designed the Kilta series for Arabia. The design of this series, which was renamed into Teema in 1981 has all the core ideas and values of Iittala within it, incorporating high quality and multipurpose timeless design. Teema is still in production and new colours and sizes are regularly designed by Heikki Orvola and Oiva Toikka making sure that the new pieces keep the spirit of Franck’s design. Iittala set high standards for their products as Löflund recounts that Timo Sarpaneva’s Orkidea of which only a few could be made in an hour sometimes had only one pass inspection and at times none at all were passed. The design and high quality of Iittala’s products ensured Iittala receiving high praise throughout the world as their winning of the magazine House Beautiful’s Most Beautiful Object of 1954, for Orkidea shows. With the rise of art glass, designers’ names became the bases for sales and Timo Sarpaneva designed the red i-label for his i-collection which in 1956 became the symbol for the Iittala brand, albeit the Karhula name was still used for Iittala glassworks products in the early 1960s. Kaj Franck designed the original cone shaped glass set Kartio in 1956. Timo Sarpaneva’s cast iron pot Sarpaneva from 1960 proved that the essential quality of materials can be reduced to the most basic essence by a creative imaginative artist. Oiva Toikka created the dew drop glassware Kastehelmi in 1964, which along with Tapio Wirkkala’s glasses Ultima Thule from 1968 are still in production today. Oiva Toikka’s best known design creations Birds by Toikka have been made since 1971. In 1972 Heikki Orvola designed the Aurora set of glasses for Iittala. With Fujiwo Ishimoto he designed the Illusia tableware for Arabia. Valto Kokko created his first extensive glassware set, Avec in 1973. His best known set Otso is from 1978 and since 1981 Otso is part of the collection of Modern Art in New York. Heikki Orvola’s Kivi candleholders from 1988 are another design that show the timelessness of Iittala’s range. The cookware Tools was created by Björn Dahlström in 1998 in collaboration with world class chefs. In 1998 Stefan Lindfors designed the strikingly and unconventional open handled ceramic series Ego. Working closely with select international designers resulted in designs that stayed true to the core values of Iittala but also expanded the shape of glasswares as can be seen with Alfredo Häberli’s Essence glasses and carafe. The striped ceramic eggcup by Alfredo Häberli in 2001 proved so successful that the entire range of Origo became striped, which made it an ideal counterbalance to Iittala’s Teema designs. Anu Penttinen’s clear and strong coloured glass boxes Vitriini from 2010 marked another highlight and new direction for Iittala’s products. With a modern interpretation of Finnish traditions and 6 designers the tableware Sarjaton, meaning no series, as the colours and style are interchangeable, using ceramic, glass, wood and textile as materials, was successfully launched in 2012.
Selandia was designed by Per Lütken in the spring of 1957. The dish was fashioned by hand, and its shape is created when the glass blower carefully turns, raises and lowers the hot glass. The visual softness contained in the glass at 1400 degrees Celsius can be seen directly in the cooled, transparent version of the dish. The dish is decorated by engraving/glass cutting. Identified and dated on the bottom, “Holmegaard 19PL59” (Per Lütken signed almost always monogrammed with initials falling between the 4 digits of the year).
Exquisite Bubbles orchid vase (soliflore, or one flower vase) designed by Per Lütken and made at Holmegaard in 1951. Resembling a flower bulb, the base is executed in the controlled bubbles technique. This slim, minimalist and elegant vase quickly became an icon of Danish Mid-Century glass design. The model was later reproduced by other factories in Scandinavia, especially by the Swedes from Kosta and from Åseda.
Aqua bowl designed by Per Lütken for Holmegaard. This model is part of the Akva series, which was a huge success and remained in production for more than two decades between 1953 and 1974. Signed and identified on the bottom, “HOLMEGAARD PL”. Also on bottom has the production number, 15737. Has a small chip on the rim and some age-related marks. However, all in all it is in a good vintage condition. A rare piece made from hand-blown crystal (just a small part of this series was made from crystal and not from glass). The Akva series includes items sold under different trade marks and line names: Askebaeger, Dukling, Fiona, Hellas, Lysestage, Menuet, Rondo, Selandia, Thule, Umanak, Surf etc.