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Tapio Wirkkala, Crystal Art-Object, model 3242, Iittala, Finland circa 1948

$376.49

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Tapio Wirkkala - Crystal Art-object, Model 3242 - Iittala Finland, circa 1948 Artist Tapio Wirkkala (1915 Hanko, Finland - 1985 Helsinki, Finland) A giant of Finnish design, Wirkkala was an artist of great diversity for whom no material was alien and who left no area of design unexplored. A glass design competition held by the Iittala glassworks in 1946 was the event that set his career in motion; the first prize went jointly to Wirkkala and Kaj Franck. With an oeuvre that ranges from exceptionally beautiful pieces of glass art to industrial design in the form of beer bottles and banknotes, Wirkkala also designed jewellery, sculptures, and furniture. The recipient of many awards, honorary titles, and a doctorate, Wirkkala won three Grand Prix medals at the Milan Triennale in 1954 and an additional Grand Prix medal and gold medal at the Milan Triennale in 1960. Description Mold blown, crystal Art-object with sodium bubbles, model 3242. Designed by Tapio Wirkkala in 1948 and produced by the craftsmen at the Iittala glassworks in Finland. The glassmass was blown in a special mold after which it was formed in the final shape while still hot. The bubbles in the glass were created by adding sodium into the glassmass. These particals would chemically react and form bubbles. These rare art-objects were only produced for two years (1948-1949) and this is a fully marked example in good condition. Marked Tapio Wirkkala - Iittala in diamondpen underneath the base. Condition Good overall condition, minor wear consistent of age and use. No chips or cracks. Literature Marianne Aav, TAPIO WIRKKALA eye, hand and thought: p. 295 Dimensions Height 14.1 cm Diam. 8.57 cm Shipping Complimentary Worldwide Shipping.

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About the Artist

Tapio Wirkkala

Along with architect Alvar Aalto, the designer Tapio Wirkkala was Finland’s leading contributor to the Scandinavian interpretation of modernism in the mid-20th century. Prolific and innovative, Wirkkala excelled in a wide range of fields, including glass, furniture, porcelain, jewelry and tableware. The hallmark of his talent was an ability to impart a craft aesthetic based on natural forms — leaves, ice, bubbles, birds — to industrially produced designs.

A native of Helsinki, Wirkkala studied at the national School of Applied Arts and took up a career in graphic design. After serving in the Finnish army during World War II, he joined the glassmaking firm Iittala, an association that would continue to the end of his life. Wirkkala learned every aspect of glassmaking in keeping with his belief that an artist-designer should be involved in all stages of production. His best-known works for Iittala are vases and drinking vessels that resemble either carved ice or icicles. In 1956, Wirkkala began a long relationship with the porcelain maker Rosenthal, for whom he designed elegant table pieces, such as the Finlandia coffee service and the biomorphic Pollo vases. 

House Beautiful magazine declared Wirkkala’s Leaf platter the “most beautiful object” of 1951. (The acclaim led to his brief employment stint with industrial designer Raymond Loewy in New York.) That platter was one of the first designs Wirkkala made using laminated sheets of plywood sanded to a smooth surface that resembles an abstract leaf. It would go on to become a motif in many Wirkkala furniture pieces — most notably in inlaid coffee tables for Asko — and in a sense these are the works most emblematic of his personal aesthetic.

Wirkkala was a traditionalist in many ways, but he had a modernist’s practical approach, incorporating his leaf-like spirals into simple, functional objects. That is the core attraction of Wirkkala’s designs: They stand out with a striking, sculptural energy yet blend in as part of a warm and comfortable decor.

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