The Glass Vase that Started It All

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With nearly 70 years passing since Alvar AaltoÂ?s glass vase took best glasswork design, his legacy lives on today as premier Scandinavian glassmaker, iittala, re-releases the vase in colors for a new generation to fall in love with.

With nearly 70 years passing since Alvar Aalto’s glass vase took best glasswork design, his legacy lives on today as premier Scandinavian glassmaker, iittala, re-releases the vase in colors for a new generation to fall in love with.

The competition was organized by Finland's prominent glassworks, Karhula-iittala, for the purpose of finding designs suitable for display at the World’s Fair in Paris the following year. Aalto had stated that the vase’s design was inspired by the dress of an Eskimo woman, which he called Eskim?erindens skinnbux. Loosely translated, it means “the Eskimo woman’s leather pants.”

But what started as a series of crayon drawings on scratch paper and cardboard would not only go on to win the competition and be prominently displayed at the 1937 World’s Fair, but they were later selected by the Savoy restaurant in Helsinki. The most popular of which would later come to be known as the Savoy vase.

The vase was heralded by Scandinavian modernists for its organic feel and undulating forms. Many attributed the vase’s shape to Finland’s natural features and bodies of water. It should also be noted that aalto is the Finnish word for “wave”. Regardless of its artistic interpretation, the Aalto vase has continued to fascinate artists and designers to this day.

Recent excitement has been stirred by iittala, Scandinavia’s quintessential glassmaker, re-releasing the decorative vase in two classic colors. The featured colors represent a historical look back at the vase’s past. Classic Brown was the favored shade of the Savoy restaurant, whereas 1937 Green captures the contemporary color style of the year of the vase’s release.

While iittala’s glassware is known well throughout all of Europe, many in the US are still unfamiliar with the company and their devotion to quality, style, and function. Aalto.com (http://aalto.com/aalto-glass-vases.html), a US-based retailer of Alvar Aalto designed furniture and glassware, features the full line of Aalto designer vases, including the Savoy and flower vases from iittala.

For something as unique and original as Aalto’s modern vase, it’s little wonder as to why it remains, to this day, a celebrated figure of modern design. And given its popularity, it’s safe to say that it will remain there for a long time to come.

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Ben Horn
Aalto.com
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