Phaidon’s Iittala book celebrates the legacy of the beloved Finnish design brand

Edited by Florencia Colombo and Ville Kokkonen, the Iittala book is the first one to provide a comprehensive picture of the 140-year history and advanced design philosophy of this iconic Finnish design company.

Iittala by Phaidon
The cover of the Iittala book is adorned with a close-up of the surface of glass vase 9697 designed by Gunnel Nyman in the 1930s.

IITTALA, ONE OF the greatest success stories in Finnish design, celebrates its 140th anniversary this year. In addition to the anniversary collection, the brand’s special year is also marked with the Iittala book published by Phaidon. The monograph tells the story of a small glass factory, established in 1881 in the village of Iittala, becoming one of the best-known design brands in the world.

The 400-page book has been edited by architect Florencia Colombo and industrial designer Ville Kokkonen, and its foreword has been written by design critic Deyan Sudjic, former director of the Design Museum in London.

The book does not tell the story of Iittala in chronological order, but instead, its 65 chapters discuss themes essential to the brand; from Finland’s northern nature and culture to magical realism, bubbles and beauty. The lavishly illustrated work showcases an array of Iittala objects from different decades and features over 500 color images.

Florencia Colombo and Ville Kokkonen
Florencia Colombo and Ville Kokkonen live in the Swiss Alps and have a joint enterprise Colombo / Kokkonen, which specializes in exhibition and publication design, among other things.
Iittala book  by Phaidon
The different variations of Alvar Aalto’s Aalto vases from the 1930s are part of the illustration of the Architectural Thinking chapter.

The extensive background work for the book includes numerous interviews with designers, artisans, glassblowers and chemists. The title is not only a tribute to Iittala’s products but also to their makers and their creativity, craftsmanship and unique ways of working.

The Iittala book discusses themes essential to the brand; from Finland’s northern nature and culture to magical realism, bubbles and beauty.

Iittala’s glasses, dishes and home decor products have been designed by several well-known Finnish and international designers, and the book contains a great number of their designs and sketches. The designers and design studios featured include Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck, Timo Sarpaneva, Tapio Wirkkala, Oiva Toikka, Alfredo Häberli, Marc Newson, Antonio Citterio, Konstantin Gric, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Jasper Morrison, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Cecilie Manz and Issey Miyake Studio.

Iittala book by Phaidon
Oiva Toikka’s Kastehelmi plate and Kaj Franck’s Kartio pitcher are among the objects representing magical realism in the monograph.
Iittala book by Phaidon
The Iittala book has a chapter dedicated to Timo Sarpaneva’s i-line.

Iittala – Kaleidoscope: From Nature to Culture

Iittala’s anniversary year will also be celebrated with Design Museum Helsinki’s exhibition Iittala – Kaleidoscope: From Nature to Culture, also curated by Colombo and Kokkonen. Like the Iittala book, the exhibition describes the design brand’s history with special themes and connects it to the multigenerational development of Finnish society. The primary sources for the exhibition include the Design Museum’s collection of over ten thousand items and extensive archives of documents and images, as well as items on loan from private and public collections.

26 March–19 September 2021
Design Museum, Korkeavuorenkatu 23, Helsinki

See also:

Phaidon's Iittala book >
All Iittala products at Finnish Design Shop >

Edited: Laura Hallikainen Photos: Phaidon and Iittala

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