As the collaborator—and wife—of the late Timo Sarpaneva, Marjatta Sarpaneva had a front-row seat to the history of Finnish design—particularly in glass—for decades. And she has recorded it all. We met her at the family’s private gallery to hear stories about Timo Sarpaneva and the beauty of glass.
On the cult of the designer
“When educating new and young designers, overemphasising the importance of the designer is the worst mistake one can make. Putting designers on a pedestal has been one of the fundamental flaws in how we have told the story of design in Finland. It makes me furious. The designer is just a part of the team. He can’t exist if he doesn’t have a team behind him at the factory, all working towards a common goal. Take, for example, a composer. If he writes a score, it’s a piece, but if nobody plays it, it’s just a mute sheet. Designing is based on the same principle. Without a team, it’s all a mere sketch. Timo was a brilliant artist, but he would have never allowed anyone to belittle his team or erase them from the narrative.”