Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes this vase created by Tapio Wirkkala, one of Finland’s best-known designers. He trained as a sculptor in Helsinki and he approached the decorative arts as a sculptor, but he also appreciated fine handcraft. He worked with a variety of materials, including plywood, porcelain, silver, plastics, and glass, and he often developed new techniques in order to realize his ideas. The shapes and textures of his work from the 1950s were derived from his observations of forms, elements, and patterns in nature.
In 1946, Wirkkala was hired as artistic director for the Iittala glassworks. His award-winning designs for Iittala were made in colorless glass, the forms inspired by swift flowing water and massive chunks of ice. He also designed for other glass companies, such as the Venini glassworks on Murano, near Venice.
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