Chess grand master Bobby Fischer specifically requested the Time Life Lobby Chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames while he competed in the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik In 1972. He said he could concentrate well in the chair. When his opponent Boris Spaasky saw it, he refused to play until he got one too. Vitra has produced a short video on this historical event.
Time Life Lobby Chair, by Charles and Ray Eames
Tapio Wirkkala is best known for designing the original Finlandia Vodka bottle, inspired by the elements in his native Finland. This series of five bottles in Murano glass, employs the “Incalmo” technique where two different types of glass, worked separately, are fused together.
Bolle Bottles, 1968, by Tapio Wirkkala, for Venini
Part of the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, the Sarpaneva cast iron pot was inspired by Timo Sarpaneva’s memories of his shamanistic grandfather who was a also a blacksmith.
Designed in 1960, this pot is so famous that it was featured in a collection of postage stamps celebrating the Finish Design Elite. Apart from its aesthetic merits, it’s also highly practical and designed for everyday use and enjoyment. You can use it in the oven, on the stove and as a beautiful presentation pot. Cast iron is one of the best materials for cooking because it stores heat and cooks evenly and gently. With its clever removable wooden handle, you can easily lift the lid off the pot and carry it from the stove to your table.
Born in 1926 in Helsinki, Timo Sarpaneva was one of the great personalities responsible for the world reputation of Finnish design since the 1950s. Sarpaneva was Doctor HC of the Royal College of Art in London and the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and Academician HC of the University of Mexico.
Iittala Sarpaneva Cast Iron Pot, by Timo Sarpaneva
Like other pieces of furniture which are now regarded as modern classics, Oxchair was ahead of its time when it was launched in 1960. Making use of superior craftsmanship skills Hans J. Wegner had created a sophisticated and demanding construction. Among the jobs it does, and one that lies close to Wegner’s heart, is to make it possible to sit comfortably in many different ways so that one can change position continously. Only then can one sit really comfortably. It is Wegner’s own favourite chair at home.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Oxchair, an exclusive limited edition of Oxchair is offered in select premium quality vegetable tanned leather. The leather is called Alpha and comes in three colors black, natural and burgundy red. The seats are numbered and marked with a special anniversary tag. In addition, anyone who buys an anniversary Oxchair will receive an exclusive anniversary book. This anniversary book is in the same limited edition as chair and can not be obtained otherwise. The purchaser of commemorative chair is invited to visit the Erik Jorgensen factory in Svendborg, Denmark.
50th Anniversary Edition by Special Request: Erik Jørgensen Oxchair by Hans J. Wegner
Oxchair, by Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) 50th Anniversary Edition, by Erik Jørgensen
If there is one set of cookware which fits all the requirements of a well-appointed kitchen, then the Tools collection from Iittala is the one to have. Designer Björn Dahlström worked in collaboration with world-class chefs and materials specialists to create attractive yet highly functional cookware whose features and construction lend themselves to a variety of cooking techniques. The in-depth research and attention to ergonomics has given us a set of cookware that is now seen in three star restaurants as well as the modern home.
Tools are built to scale, they are well suited for large dinner parties as well as for everyday use. The line consists of saucepans, sauteuses, and casseroles in various sizes, as well as rectangular oven roasting pans in two sizes. The saucepans and casseroles feature tight-fitting lids and have measuring marks etched on their interiors. The lid is designed with a little notch to allow steam to escape while cooking—a real advantage over the more common pots with lids that tend to rattle and boil over.
The Tools collection is made of fine stainless steel which is remarkably easy to clean. Iittala has decided to go with quality all the way, their philosophy “Against Throwawayism” is evident as the Tools collection will last a lifetime and you will be able to pass it on to your grandchildren.
(photos above) Alvar Aalto portrait and original design collages for the Savoy vase in cardboard and paper
For 70 years now the Iittala factory in Finland has diligently produced Alvar Aalto’s sinuous Savoy vase. Originally part of a housewares collection that Aalto submitted to the Karhula-Iittala design competition in 1936, the vase was first presented at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris, where the theme was “Art and Technology in Modern Life.” At the time of its conception, the vase’s graceful enigmatic form challenged the glassblowers who pioneered the making of it. Inspired by nature, Alvar Aalto simplified design elements and used a craftsman’s knowledge of the material to create design that allows for various combination’s of use. The mysterious form made a strong statement against industrial production that failed to meet human needs. Today it has become an icon of a design movement.
One of the few furniture design icons from Norway, the Scandia Series chairs were designed in 1957 by Hans Brattrud. Popularity peaked in the 1960s and the chairs fell out of production in the 1970s when the original factory burned down. Enter Fjordfiesta, a Norwegian company that has since revived the range. The Company worked closely with Brattrud to bring these appealing chairs back into production, keeping careful attention to the original detailing and design.
Scandia Series Chair, by Hans Brattrud for Fjordfiesta
The Vitra Design Museum collections evolved from modest beginnings in the 1980s to become one of the world’s most important collections of modern furniture. It was founded on two furniture collections – one compiled by Rolf Fehlbaum and the other by Alexander von Vegesack.
Surveying the collections as a whole, the following areas emerge as focal points: the period from the 1850s to the turn of the century shows a focus on bentwood furniture, the designs of Viennese architects and pieces by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright. The first three decades of the twentieth century are most prominently represented by the work of Gerrit Rietveld, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus, as well as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret. Along with the sizeable holdings from American sources, particularly Charles & Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia, the period up to the Second World War is also defined by the French ‘constructeur’ Jean Prouvé, whose work is superbly documented with his most significant furniture designs, as well as many of his facade elements. From Scandinavia, there are designs by such figures as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Poul Kjaerholm and Verner Panton and, from Italy, pieces by Gio Ponti, Carlo Mollino, Achille Castiglioni, Studio Memphis and Alchimia. Furnishings from the Arts and Crafts movement along with Art Deco and Art Nouveau are represented, albeit with relatively few examples. Taking the position that subsequent developments in modern furniture can only be fully understood as the ideological and stylistic heirs of these late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movements, the earlier periods would presumably be the mostly likely candidates for expansion within the collections.
Design Museum Collections, Vitra Design Museum, Read more: Vitra Magazine
The Mid-Century Modernist has unearthed a close relative of the Executive Chair, the ES 102 Intermediate Swivel Arm Chair is made of a bright polished Eames aluminum Eames Universal base, frame and arms; black painted tube. Black leather upholstery on the seat, back and arm rests. Introduced in 1968, discontinued in 1973 due to high production costs.