Marimekko fabrics

Finnish design company Marimekko has colored our everyday life for 60 years. The company is known, above all, as a timeless print maker. Armi Ratia founded the textile and clothing design company Marimekko in 1951. The desire of the company was to create something new, sustainable and beautiful for Finnish everyday life.

Ratia wanted to bring completely new ideas to the fabric industry. She chose promising young production artists that designed by a completely new kind of bold graphic patterns, which created the foundation for what Marimekko remains to this day. Characteristic to the prints were glowing, bold colors and new color combinations.


Maija Isola's Lokki/Seagull (1961)


Marimekko's crisp graphics series, the vibrant colors and presentation attracted interest from abroad. The author and design expert of the 1960s, Rebecca Tarschysen, once said that "beautiful everyday goods" were mild and traditional. Marimekko was not mild and not eligible for a salon and just because of it; it was so interesting.

 

 


Maija Isola's Rautasänky (1961)


Many of the Marimekko’s designs have achieved classic status in both Finnish homes as well as the interiors of homes abroad. Bold with great emotional patterns have passed the test of time. Many classic prints are born at the hands of Maija Isola. Isola was trained as a painter and that Silkkikuikka, Joonas and Rautasänky prints were born during the night at the pressing table, painting and listening to the music, "dancing with the brush" as described by Isola. Her painter’s touch comes through in the final screened prints.


Maija Isola's Unikko/Poppy (1964)


Isola's Lokki/Seagull (1961) and Unikko/Poppy (1964) brought the Finnish designer great recognition. Lokki, based on color paper cut into slightly undulating tracks that create the optical illusion of more space. Isola found inspiration from the cabin windows of corrugated composite curtains. Before the Unikko pattern, Marimekko collections had been plenty of plant themed designs, but not an actual floral motif. This background of a lack of floral fabrics is due to Armi Ratia's absolute prohibition that fabrics in no way should contain roses or other flowers. Isola planned a protest against the ban with a whole series of floral designs, including the basic Unikko graphic that became the icon of icons in the future. The Unikko prints re-launch also helped to accelerate the rise of Marimekko near the beginning of the new millennium.


Maija Louekari's Hetkiä/Moments (2003)


Today, Marimekko's strong print tradition continues with a new generation of young, talented designers. Rising stars include, among others, Maija Louekari, Teresa Moorhouse and Erja Hirvi. Trained as an Interior architect, Maija Louekari began her collaboration with Marimekko in 2000, which marked a new generation of young designers. Behind each Louekari design is an interesting story. Hetkia/Moments (2003) describes the view from the Esplanade Park in Helsinki. 


Maija Louekari's Siirtolapuutarha (2010)


Louekari’s other well-known patterns describe the Finnish landscape such as the patterns of Ho-Hoi! and Kaiku (2004) as well as the latest Siirtolapuutarha, Räsymatto/shag carpet and Puutarhurin parhaat/gardener’s best (2010). Teresa Moorhouse's work shows the impact of two cultures. Sininen Gepardi/Blue Cheetah fabric (2008), which Moorhouse drew graphic pictures of a childhood favorite; a beautiful cheetah settled in to rest on a tree branch.


Teresa Moorhouse's Sininen gepardi/Blue cheetah (2008)


Erja Hirvi describes for the most part, simple and natural themes, as in her most famous design, Lumimarja/Snow Berry (2004). Lumimarja is also one of the best-selling Marimekko fabrics, both in Finland and abroad.


Erja Hirvi's Lumimarja/Snow berry (2004)


Strong prints and distinctive styles are still Ratia’s vision. Timeless and durable fabrics intended to go through life with. Marimekko prints are uniquely Finnish but have an international appeal spanning continents, cultures and generations.

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