A discovery from the Aalto Archives

Alvar Aalto’s asymmetrical vase has become an icon of Nordic design and one of the world’s most famous glass objects. Driven by his interest in glass, Aalto was always looking for original ways to handle the material and made various versions of the fluid, organic forms. Iittala has discovered a sketch from the Aalto Archives and brought back an elegant variation of the classic form.

A refreshing twist

Throughout the 1930s, Aalto designed a vast collection of vases and bowls in various shapes for submission in the Paris and New York world fairs. One of the most distinct pieces that the designer created during that time was a vase simply known as ‘3032’. This shape brings a refreshing twist with its soft, organic shape. 
After discovering the ‘3032’ design in the Aalto archives, Iittala set about producing the new design with much of the same care and innovative techniques it uses with the original Aalto vase. Each unique vase is mouthblown at the Iittala Glass Factory in Finland. It’s here that every vase is modelled by hand and mouth according to Aalto’s drawings. The artists and producers work with the vases so closely that each of the glassworks carries their personal touches, making every piece truly unique.

'Don't forget to play.' Alvar Aalto

A true original

Deeply inspired by the nature in Aalto's native Finland, the flowing form seen in the Aalto vase appeared from his surroundings. The asymmetrical design of the Aalto (‘wave’ in English) vase was first seen at the 1937 Paris World Fair, making it an instant international success. The simple yet organic shape of this vase was a revolutionary statement at the time and it continues to be one of the most iconic glass objects of all time.

Born in Kuortane in 1898, Alvar Aalto made his name as a master of modern architecture through his unique style and exceptional talent. He worked closely with his wife Aino Aalto. Aalto designed concert halls, libraries, hospitals, museums and private homes, among others, all around the world. His works were exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art already in the 1930s. Aalto also designed several objects which were originally intended to become parts of buildings and decorations.