Iivari Viilomaa collects colored glassware by Nuutajärvi

Iivari Viilomaa, a carpenter with design company Nikari, is a flea market fan. He has acquired an enviably extensive collection of Finnish glassware.

Carpenter Iivari Viilomaa
Iivari Viilomaa, an avid collector of Finnish glassware, works as a carpenter at Nikari.

IIVARI VIILOMAA: “I began collecting Finnish design gradually, by touring flea markets. However, I was carried away by my hobby and am now an avid tourer of flea markets and recycling centers. At a certain point, our home began to be overwhelmed with my finds, so I decided to focus on colored, practical glassware by Nuutajärvi.

My mother works at the Finnish Glass Museum at Riihimäki, so glass design is close to my heart. My favourite designers are Saara Hopea and Kaj Franck, and my favorite objects are the juice basket sets — comprising colorful glasses and a pitcher — made at the Nuutajärvi glass factory. I’ve yet to find one basket designed by Franck, but I have all the others.

Nuutajärvi 5023 tumblers by Kaj Franck
The 5023 tumblers by Kaj Franck came in an array of vibrant colors. They were made at Nuutajärvi from the early 1950s until 1968.
Nuutajärvi schnapps glasses by Kaj Franck
Kaj Franck's schnapps glasses were accompanied by small saucers.

Perseverance, regular rounds of flea markets, and thorough knowledge of collectors’ items are the key to making good finds. As you learn more about glass design, for example, you can even identify an object’s origin from its production technique or color.

“Perseverance, regular rounds of flea markets, and thorough knowledge of collectors’ items are the key to making good finds.”

I am particularly thrilled when I find original Nuutajärvi packaging. You don’t see it often at flea markets, but I’ve managed to collect more than thirty examples. I love the care with which the packaging was designed and made.

Nuutajärvi 1125 liqueur glasses by Saara Hopea
Saara Hopea designed the delicate 1125 liqueur glasses in the beginning of the 1950s.
Nuutajärvi Party pitcher set by Kaj Franck
Nuutajärvi's Party set comprised a pitcher and ten colorful glasses. The delightful package was adorned with penguins.

One of my favorites is the Kaj Franck Party pitcher set; its rare packaging is illustrated with penguins. Designed in the post-war period, the set is very compact in kitchen cupboards: the ten glasses fit ingeniously inside the pitcher. For me, this is design at its very best.”

What is Franckly?

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See also:

More designs by Kaj Franck >
More designs by Saara Hopea >

Text and photos: Suvi Kesäläinen

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