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Kaj Franck

Finnish, 1911-1989
Finnish, 1911-1989

Kaj Gabriel Franck was a leading figure in 20th-century Finnish design, specializing in ceramics and glass. As the creative director of Arabia Ceramics, now part of Iittala, he, along with fellow Finns Timo Sarpaneva and Tapio Wirkkala, helped popularize the bright, warm and curvy aesthetic of Scandinavian modernism. Design Forum Finland’s Kaj Franck Design Prize, established in 1992 and awarded each year around his birthday, is among the country’s most prestigious honors for designers.

Franck was born in 1911 in the city of Vyborg, which now belongs to Russia, but was then part of the Grand Duchy of Finland. He studied furniture design at the Central School of Industrial Design in Helsinki, and after graduating in 1932, worked as a catalogue illustrator for the Riihimäki glassworks, exploring interior and textile design on the side. Having served in the Finnish armed forces during World War II, he joined Arabia in 1945 as their head of design. He remained with the company for many years, steering its line of tableware in a dynamic new direction. Franck professed an aversion to superfluous ornament. His ceramic designs were nevertheless complex and eye-catching, animated with playful, geometric forms. One of his most famous creations for Arabia was the Origami dish from the early 1960s, a glossyall-white serving piece resembling a subtly folded piece of paper with four shallow sections for holding food.

Although his Arabia ceramics became household staples for consumers in Scandinavia and beyond, Franck is better known among collectors for his glass designs, particularly those he created for Iittala starting in the late 1940s. In a 1947 Iittala-sponsored glass competition, Franck shared the top prize with Tapio Wirkkala. In 1950, he designed the company’s iconic Kartio series of pressed-glass pitchers and glasses, which came in different colors that consumers could “mix and match” rather than having to buy a homogeneous set. In 1977, Franck redesigned the series, renamed Teemaa.

Franck’s designs for Iittala embodied the Finnish concept of pelkistetty, which literally means “reduced” and in the design world refers to the pared-down, minimal qualities of modernism. This principle, evidenced in objects like this elegant, unfussy set of four jewel-toned drinking glasses from the 1960s, informed Franck’s view of the manufacturing process as well. Critical of mass-production and consumerism, he was one of the country’s first professionals in his field to advocate recycling. He became known as the “conscience of Finnish design,” a role he embraced as a professor and later artistic director at University of Art and Design in Helsinki. In honor of Franck’s 100th birthday, in 2011, Iittala reissued Kartio glasses, Teema tableware and Purnukka jars, among other of his designs that retain their contemporary feel decades after their creation.

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Creator:Kaj Franck
Kaj Franck, Large Blue Glass Art-Object, Model KF 261, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, c.1965
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck - Large blue glass art-object, model KF 261 - Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, circa 1965 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911 – Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnis...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Cut Glass, Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass

Kaj Franck Arabia Metal Bowls Set, 1950s
By Kaj Franck, Arabia of Finland
Located in Modena, IT
Bowls set designed by Kaj Franck for Arabia and made by Finel of Finland, metal painted, circa 1950s Signed under the base. Available 3 large: Diameter 21 cm, height 14 cm Availab...
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Metal

Set of Six Scandinavian Modern Liquor Glasses by Kaj Franck for Nuutarjavi
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Vienna, AT
Charming set of iconic Scandinavian Modern liquor glasses in different colors with matching teak tray. All glasses are in perfect condition. They are designed by the finish Designer ...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Teak

Kaj Franck, Green Glass Art-Object, Model N 407, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland 1967
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck - Green glass Art-object, model N 407 - Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland, 1967 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911 – Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish d...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass, Cut Glass

Kaj Franck, Cased Glass Art-Object, Model KF260, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland 1963
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, cased glass art-object, Model KF260, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland 1963 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911-Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish design...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass, Blown Glass, Glass

Lovely Art glass/Wine glass Pookali by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi, Finland, 1960s
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Stockholm, SE
A perfect colorful pocal shaped goblet art glass designed by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi, Finland. These glasses were produced from 1968-1971 and have a great combination of green, blu...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass, Blown Glass

Kaj Franck, Green Glass Art-Object, Model KF108, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland 1954
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, green glass art-object, Model KF108, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland 1954 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911 – Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish designe...
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass, Cut Glass

Juice Set by Kaj Franck for Nuutajarvi, Finland Designed, 1954
By Kaj Franck
Located in Surrey, GB
Juice set by Kaj Franck for Nuutajarvi, Finland designed 1954 Dimension: H 24.5cm x W 37cm x D: 26.5cm.
Category

20th Century Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Kaj Franck, Ice Cube Cooler & Ice Tong in Bamboo & Rattan & Glass, Finland, 1954
By Kaj Franck
Located in DE
Ice cube cooler or bucket, designed by Kaj Franck. Manufactured in bamboo, rattan & glass, the ice tong in brass & rattan. Executed in Finland, 1954. Excellent condition.
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Bamboo, Rattan

Six Kaj Franck Kartio Mid-Century Drinking Glasses by Nuutajarvi Nottsjo Finland
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Vienna, AT
A set of six fine Kartio drinking glasses in six different colors from the 1950s. Designed by Kaj Franck, executed by Nuutajarvi Nottsjo Finland. In excellent condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Set of Six Kaj Franck Arabia Kilta Black Ring Egg Cups, Finland, 1950s
By Arabia of Finland, Kaj Franck
Located in Vienna, AT
A set of six beautiful black Kilta ring egg cups, designed by Kaj Franck in 1953, manufactured by Arabia Finland. Made of stoneware, with a glossy black glaze. In very good condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Ceramic, Pottery, Stoneware

Kaj Franck, Glass Art-Object "Willowleaf", Model KF 210, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, 1954
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, Glass Art-Object "Willowleaf", Model KF 210, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, 1954 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911 – Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish desi...
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass, Cut Glass

Kaj Franck Glass Art-Object / Goblet, Model KF 539, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, ca. 1975
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck glass art-object / goblet, model KF 539, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, ca. 1975 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911-Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential finish designer...
Category

1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass, Blown Glass

Four Kaj Franck Kartio Midcentury Drinking Glasses by Nuutajarvi Nottsjo Finland
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Vienna, AT
A set of four fine Kartio drinking glasses in rare red glass from the 1950s. Designed by Kaj Franck, executed by Nuutajarvi Nottsjo Finland. In excellent condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Pookali Goblet Vase by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi Notsjö, Finland, 1960s
By Kaj Franck
Located in New York, NY
Pookali goblet by influential Designer Kaj Franck, this goblet is in a rare combination of deep red and silver and bears its original tag.
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass

Kaj Franck, Glass Art-Object, Model KF 210, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland, ca. 1960
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, glass art-object, Model KF 210, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland ca. 1960 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911 – Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish desig...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Cut Glass, Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass

Kaj Franck Glass Art-Object / Goblet, Model KF 539, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, ca. 1975
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck glass art-object / Goblet, Model KF 539, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, ca. 1975 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911-Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finish designer...
Category

1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass, Blown Glass

Purtilo Glass Pitcher Carafe by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi Notsjö, Finland, 1950s
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Vienna, AT
A beautiful Purtilo glass pitcher, model 1609, in greenish amber color from the 1950s. Designed by Kaj Franck, executed by Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland. In very good condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass

Kaj Franck, Matched Set Green Art-Objects, Model KF 260, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, 1960
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, Matched set green Art-Objects, Model KF 260, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, 1960 Artist Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911-Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish design...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass

Arabia Finel Bowl Set by Kaj Franck, Finland, 1960
By Arabia, Kaj Franck
Located in Roosendaal, Noord Brabant
Enameled metal bowls designed by Kaj Franck for Arabia Finel, Finland, 1960. This is for a nice set of seven bowls that could be used as peanut set. One large bowl and six small ones...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Metal

Art Glass Bowl Vase Pookali by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi, Finland, 1960s
By Kaj Franck, Nuutajärvi Notsjõ
Located in Stockholm, SE
A lovely colorful pocal shaped goblet art bowl or vase designed by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi, Finland. This was produced from 1968-1971 and have a great combination of green, blue, r...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Blown Glass, Art Glass

Kaj Franck, Glass Art-Object "Prisma", Model KF 215, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, 1963
By Kaj Franck, Nuutajärvi Notsjõ
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, glass art-object "Prisma", model KF 215, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, 1963 Artist: Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911-Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish designer and...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Cut Glass, Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass

Glass Vase by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi Notsjö, Finland
By Kaj Franck, Nuutajärvi Notsjõ
Located in Stockholm, SE
Small “KF 106" USVA (mist) glass vase by Kaj Franck for Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland. Lobed vase in foamy glass cased in clear. Engraved “K.Franck Nuutajärvi Nottsjö - 57".
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass

A Signed Kaj Franck Prisma Block Glass Vase, Nuutajärvi Notsjö, Finland, 1960s
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Vienna, AT
An extraordinary handblown and large art glass vase from the 1960s, designed by Kaj Franck, executed by Nuutajärvi Notsjö / Finland. The vase has facetted and polished sides. The bea...
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass, Cut Glass

Kaj Franck Bowls Produced by Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland
By Kaj Franck
Located in Malmo, SE
Rare set of 9 glass bowls designed by Kaj Franck. Produced by Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland.
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Finland Blue Tall Drink Tumbler Glasses Set of Four by Kaj Franck Iittala 1960s
By Kaj Franck, Iittala
Located in National City, CA
For you: Modern Set of four tall narrow tumbler glasses in blue made in Finland by Iittala. Designer Kaj Franck Scandinavian Art Glass One glass retains maker label. Preowned and ...
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Kaj Franck Glasses Model 1725 by Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland
By Kaj Franck
Located in Malmo, SE
Rare set of 12 glasses model 1725 in original box designed by Kaj Franck. Produced by Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland.
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Set of three Orange-Red Enameled Bowls by Kaj Franck for Finel, Finland, 1960s
By Kaj Franck, Finel
Located in Steenwijk, NL
A very nice set of three red-orange enameled bowls made by Kaj Franck for Finel, made in Finland in the 1960s. These bowls are in a very good condition with some signs of age and use...
Category

1660s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Antique Kaj Franck

Materials

Enamel

Vase in Glass, Kaj Franck, Nuutajärvi Notsjö, Bordeaux Red / Brown Color
By Kaj Franck, Nuutajärvi Notsjõ
Located in Stockholm, SE
A lovely vase designed by Kaj Franck at Nuutajärvi Notsjö in Finland in a Bordeaux red / slightly brown color.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

1950s Kaj Franck Soap Bubble Glass Orb Nuutajarvi Notsjo Finland
By Kaj Franck
Located in Hyattsville, MD
A beautiful sculptural and fluid piece. The "Soap Bubble" vase in olive glass. Extensive signature, K. Franck, Nuutajarvi Notsjo Measures: 7 inch high.
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Art Glass

Origami Form Ceramic Tray by Kaj Franck for Arabia
By Arabia, Kaj Franck
Located in San Diego, CA
Geometric divided ceramic tray with glossy by Kaj Franck for Arabia. Early production, Finland, 1960.
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Ceramic

Kaj Franck Origami Tray for Arabia
By Arabia of Finland, Kaj Franck
Located in New York, NY
Geometric ceramic tray designed by Kaj Franck for Arabia. No damage, clean and original.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Ceramic

Mid Century Kaj Franck Cobalt Blue Glass Vase for Nuutajarvi Notsjo, Finland
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in Bedford Hills, NY
Stunning cobalt blue glass vase by Kaj Franck for Nuutajarvi, Finland.
Category

1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Blown Glass

Finnish Modern Bowl
By Kaj Franck
Located in Minneapolis, MN
Finnish modern metal enameled bowl by Arabia. Features a decidedly Scandinavian stripe.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Kaj Franck

Materials

Enamel

Pair of Enamel Pendants by Kay Franck & Esteri Tomula for Wartsila
By Kaj Franck, Esteri Tomula
Located in Doornspijk, NL
Set of two Scandinavian pendants designed by Kaj Franck and Esteri Tomula. The enamelled pendants are white with a brown decoration of people, leaves, flowers and vases.
Category

1970s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Enamel, Steel

Kaj Franck, Finnish Designer Three Red Bowls in Enameled Metal, Finel, Finland
By Kaj Franck
Located in Copenhagen, Denmark
Kaj Franck, Finnish designer. Three red bowls in enameled metal, Finel, Finland, 1950s. Diameter: 10-24 cm. In very good condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Scandinavian Modern Kaj Franck

Great Wall Sculpture Group of Origami Ceramic Trays by Kaj Franck for Arabia
By Kaj Franck
Located in Atlanta, GA
Group of Nine "Origami" Ceramic Trays, designed by Kaj Franck for Arabia, Finland, circa 1960's. The price noted below is for the set of nine trays. We are not selling them separately.
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Ceramic

Kaj Franck, Glass Art-Object "Lancet", Model KF 218, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, ca. 1965
By Kaj Franck, Nuutajärvi Notsjõ
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Kaj Franck, glass art-object "Lancet", model KF 218, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, circa 1965 Artist: Kaj Franck (Vyborg, Finland 1911-Santorini, Greece 1989) was an influential Finnish design...
Category

1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass, Art Glass, Blown Glass, Cut Glass

"Sargasso" Plate in Glass by Kaj Franck, 1960s
By Nuutajärvi Notsjõ, Kaj Franck
Located in New York, NY
Large "Sargasso" plate in glass. Designed and made by Kaj Franck for Nuutajarvi, Finland, 1960s.          
Category

1960s Finnish Modern Vintage Kaj Franck

Materials

Glass

Kaj Franck furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Furniture by Kaj Franck are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of glass and are designed with extraordinary care. In our Kaj Franck collection, there are many options to choose from, although black editions of this piece are particularly popular. There are 42 vintage versions of these items in stock, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Kaj Franck were created in Finland during the 20th century in Scandinavian Modern style. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture from Nuutajärvi Notsj, Oiva Toikka and Arabia of Finland. The prices for Kaj Franck furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $65 and tops out at $4,458, while pieces like these can sell for $831 on average.