Having spent her working career amidst Finnish design Päivi Jantunen writes about Iittala’s phases within the everyday lives of Finnish people during the past 100 years. Iittala has been both taking national design abroad and bringing international design into Finnish homes.
Soon after came Iittala’s breakthrough “ice glass” designs. Tapio Wirkkala’s Ultima Thule series and Timo Sarpaneva’s Festivo candleholders were instant global sensations in the 1960s. In 1972, Iittala’s now legendary Birds by Oiva Toikka series first took flight with the designer’s creation of his small glass “Flycatchers.” Toikka was remarkable for his ability to translate individual art created by craftsmen into international bestsellers. In the 1980s, Heikki Orvola introduced the Kivi tealight holder which is still in production and continues to be a highly collected Iittala series.
Iittala has been able to continue its successful global expansion in large part to the incredible stable of leading designers it has worked with from all parts of the world. Iittala kicked off this century by collaborating with renowned international designers Marc Newson, Carina Seth-Andersson, Konstantin Grcic and Harri Koskinen to create the striking Relations collection. Iittala continued to expand its international partnerships with its colourful Origo and Taika series as well as the beloved Essence wine glass series. The latest addition to push the boundaries of the Iittala glass blowers was the Ruutu vases designed by brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. In 2017, Iittala took yet another new step into the international market by introducing Teema Tiimi, a series designed to meet the living and cuisine needs of many Asian cultures.