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Kaj Franck, Glass Art-Object, Model KF 210, Nuutajärvi-Notsjö, Finland, ca. 1960

$1,084.6520% Off


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 designer and leading figure in Finnish art-world between 1940-1980. Born in 1911 on the Finnish Russian border of Finnish-German-Swedish decent in a family of artists and architects (his grandfather was director of the famous Arabia Ceramics factory). He attended the furniture department of Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu (todays Aalto University school of Arts, design and Architecture) in Helsinki. After his studies he worked as a freelance designer until he joined Arabia as a designer in 1945. In 1950 he became Arabia’s Artistic Director. He designed glass-objects for Iittala between 1946 and 1950 and between 1950 and 1976 for Nuutajärvi-Notsjö glassworks. From 1945 onwards he also worked as an educator at Taideteollinen korkeakoulu and he became Artistic Director from the institute in 1960. His modernist designs in everyday tableware glass are considered to be a revolution and classic Finnish design objects (most notably his Kilta tableware and Kartio glassware). He is often referred to as “the conscience of Finnish design”, moderation, ecology and equality were Franck’s principles. He strove to minimise the number of everyday objects we need in our lives, drawing attention to the sustainability and life cycle of products. Kay Franck’s designs are in collections of numerous museums all over the world, among others: Design Museum Helsinki, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and The British Museum, London. He was a recipient of many prizes. Most notably the Lunning prize in 1955, a “Grand prix” and several “Gold medals” at the Triennale di Milano. Today his name is used for the prestigious “The Kaj Franck Design Prize” annually awarded by the Finnish Design Forum. Item description A free blown, flared, cut and polished light brown and clear cased glass art-object "Payunlehti" or "Willowleaf", model KF 210. Designed by Kaj Franck in 1954 and executed by the Nuutajärvi-Notsjö glassworks circa 1960. These art-objects were made in three different size-ranges and several colours between 1954 and 1963. This being a largest size example in a unusual light brown colour. The same colour used in the Nuutajärvi-Notsjö glassworks for one of the "Prisma" variants. This Wilowleaf is etched-signed underneath the base. The etching has faded though and only K. F. remains readable. Either it was signed this way or the rest of the designers name has faded. The piece is in good condition, scratches underneath the base but no cracks or chips. Dimensions H. 4.9 cm W. 24.9 cm D. 9.8 cm Weight 843 grams Literature Marianne Aav (ed.) Kaj Franck: Universal Forms, p. 322 Shipping Worldwide complimentary shipping.


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About the Designer

Kaj Franck

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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