When the ice starts to melt after a long winter, it draws its ebb and flow across the snow-covered land. Inspired by the melting ice of the far north in Lapland, Ultima Thule is Tapio Wirkkala’s most famous work. It is the epitome of Nordic craftsmanship — the result of thousands of hours spent perfecting the glassblowing technique required to produce its signature undulations. It carries within it both the light and the shadows of untamed wilderness.
Wirkkala’s technique at the glass factory was characterised by a strong sense of craftsmanship that kept with the approach of the great masters of his time: he worked closely with glassblowers to discover the best technical methods for making his objects. This teamwork gave rise to new surface patterns, which are exemplified in Ultima Thule, a series of glassware from 1968 with a distinctly Arctic feel. Finnish nature—one of Wirkkala’s most important sources of inspiration—makes its presence felt in Ultima Thule.
Ultima Thule was named after the ancient myth of an ice-covered island located far north beyond the borders of the known world.
Ultima Thule anniversary
In 2023, we celebrate the 55th anniversary of Tapio Wirkkala’s iconic Ultima Thule. The anniversary marks over half-century of untouched Nordic wilderness captured in the form of glassware. Created in a humble, nearly inaccessible cottage far north in Lapland, Ultima Thule is the embodiment of the poetry that hides in dark polar nights.
To celebrate the anniversary of Ultima Thule collection, the beloved design will bring joy for the first time as a vase. The vase is available in two sizes and colours and like the other pieces of the collection, the glass vases are mouthblown at the Iittala Glass Factory in Finland.
A design icon shaped at sub-zero