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.
Travel to the far north
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 2018, we celebrate the half-century anniversary of Tapio Wirkkala’s iconic Ultima Thule. The jubilee marks 50 years 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.
A design icon shaped at sub-zero
Ultima Thule Rain
Ultima Thule is clad in blue for its half-century anniversary. The new shade of blue evokes the scenery of Northern Finland — frozen streams, snow-covered landscapes and dark nights. It takes you back to the roots of Ultima Thule. Back to the very north — the edge of the world.
Give a legend a place at your table
Speak in flowers
Combine your favourite flowers with floral foundlings to create your perfect bouquet. Match delicate florets with thorny stems and fresh blossoms with beautifully wilted leaves. Forget the rules and follow your instincts.
Glass, poetry in the hands of a master
Wirkkala's designs spanned from glass design and sculpture to the design of banknotes and graphics. He is considered one of the leading figures of modern Finnish industrial art.
Tracing the spirit of Ultima Thule
So small was the budget for the Finnish Pavilion at the 1951 Milan Triennale that hiring local technicians to build it was out of the question. Tapio Wirkkala had no choice but to construct it himself together with his skilful carpenter.