Who'd have imagined that a few pencil lines drawn on parchment paper back in 1936 would one day become one of the world's most iconic pieces of glass art? On that day, one of Finland's most prominent architects Alvar Aalto single-handedly changed the course of Scandinavian design forever.
When Alvar Aalto (his surname also meaning 'wave' in Finnish) was asked to design and furnish the Savoy Hotel in Helsinki in 1936, his free-flowing scribble was put into production at Iittala, and the now-iconic Aalto vase was born! The shape was asymmetrical and wavy, and called for a mouth-blown process to achieve the desired result. The vase was exhibited at the World Fair in Paris in 1937, and ever since then, has become recognised internationally as an exceptional example of modern design.
Today, some 80 years later, the same mouth-blown process is used to manufacture the vase... every Aalto vase takes 7 craftsmen 30 hours to blow, polish and finish! Iittala produce the Aalto vase in many sizes and colours, and each year, the famed Finnish foundry revise their colour selection and present a new "colour of the year". These can either be a brand new shade, or a hue reprised from Iittala's vast archives.
If you'd like to bring some of Alvar Aalto's stunning modernist pieces into your home, you can shop the Iittala collection here.
* Photos reproduced from the iittala website with thanks.