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Vase Designed by Tapio Wirkkala, Finland, 1957

About the Item

Vase designed by Tapio Wirkkala, Sweden, 1957. Sterling silver. Dimensions: H: 24 cm/ 9 3/8" W: 9 cm/ 3 1/2" D: 4 cm/ 1 1/2" Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) can be described as one of the icons of Finnish design and a symbol of the international success of post-war Finnish design. Tapio Wirkkala studied sculpture at the Helsinki Central School of Industrial Design from 1933 until 1936, but he was also a self-studied artist in many areas, including glass design. His success as a glass artist began in 1946 when he designed one of his most famous works, the Kantarelli vase, for Iittala. Wirkkala gained worldwide success in 1951 at the Milan Triennial, where he received three Grand Prix awards: for the exhibition architecture, glass design and wooden sculptures. Tapio Wirkkala felt a deep relationship with nature and his absolute favourite spot was located in Finland's deepest forests. From the beautiful landscape, Tapio Wirkkala could find inspiration for his works, often characterised by organic shapes. Leaves, birds, ice and water are recurring themes in his design. Tapio Wirkkala was also a furniture designer and a sculptor. He started his career as a sculptor in the 1930s but abandoned the traditional sculpture in the post-war years – in the early 1950s, alongside with other works, he started to develop an entirely new relationship with sculpture and a new technique to be used. The result was a series of unique plywood sculptures which combined form and movement in the vibrant, densely lineated surface of plywood. Wirkkala’s sculptures represented exceptional abstractism and gave Finnish sculpture art a new direction at a time when the official line preferred monuments and heroic sculptures. In the years 1951-1954, Wirkkala worked as the artistic director of Helsinki Central School of Industrial Design. In 1955 he received a Pro Finlandia medal and in 1972 the Academy of Finland's honorary title of academician.
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