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Icon: Iittala Tools Cookware by Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

Iittala Tools Cookware Björn Dahlström

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.

Björn Dahlström, Iittala Tools Cookware, by Dahlström Design AB

Icon: Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

Savoy Aalto Vases by Alvar Aalto for Iittala

(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.

Alvar Aalto Vases, by Alvar Aalto, for Iittala

Icon: Scandia Series Chairs by Fjordfiesta Norway

Scandia Series Chair Fjordfiesta

Scandia Series Chair Fjordfiesta

Scandia Series Chair Fjordfiesta

Scandia Series Chair Fjordfiesta

Scandia Series Chair Fjordfiesta

Scandia Series Chair Fjordfiesta

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

Buy it here: Scandia Senior, Scandia Junior, Scandia Nett Swivel

Origins of the Vitra Design Museum Collections

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

Eames ES 102 Intermediate Swivel Arm Chair

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.

ES 102 Intermediate Swivel Arm Chair, 1968, by Charles and Ray Eames
via: The Mid-Century Modernist

Icon: Strick House by Oscar Niemeyer

Legendary Brazilian modernist Oscar Niemeyer, architect of the capital city Brasília, has built only one residential structure in the United States, where he was long banned because of his leftist political associations. Despite his global fame, the Santa Monica house he designed in 1963 was hardly known even to Southern California’s Nikon-strapped aficionados of midcentury modernism.

Now owned by Michael and Gabrielle Boyd, the Strick House (built for film director Joseph Strick and his wife) is T-shaped in plan. The one-story dwelling is capped by a flat roof and is sheathed in glass, brick, and stucco. One of the most prominent features is the row of tall, narrow exposed rafters that cover the entire roof in a serrated pattern and project beyond the overhangs of the front and rear of the home.

Strick House, Santa Monica, California, USA, by Oscar Niemeyer
via: Architectural Digest

Mid-Century Print Campaign for Knoll

Knoll Ads from the early-50′s and mid-60′s, part of a Flickr set.

Saarinen Chair, Don Albinson Stacking Chair, Charles Pollack Executive Chair, for Knoll
via: Monoscope

Krueck & Sexton Restores Mies 860-880 Lake Shore Drive

Architects Krueck & Sexton recently completed restoring one of legendary Modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most celebrated commissions: 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago.

860-880, which was built between 1949 and 1951, consists of two 26-story, exposed steel and glass apartment towers set at right angles on an irregular travertine plaza. Based on ideas and theories Mies had been perfecting since his earliest days as an independent architect in 1920s Berlin, the buildings redefined highrise living for the post-war generation.
Many architects and critics believe 860-880 is the closest Mies ever came to achieving his goal of less is more “skin and bones” architecture. According to the American Institute of Architects’ Guide to Chicago, “No other building(s) by Mies had as immediate or strong an impact on his American contemporaries, and the influence of these structures was to pervade much of modern architecture.”

860-880 is the third and largest Mies commission Krueck & Sexton, a firm more noted for its original work, has completed in recent years. The other two, all are in Chicago: Crown Hall on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

860-880 Lake Shore Drive, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
Restoration by Krueck & Sexton Architects

Kodak Bantam Special by Walter Dorwin Teague

Product design agency Teague, has an interesting post on the Kodak Bantam Special. Considered an icon in the classic design style of the 1930’s, the camera was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague in 1936. The Bantam Special is one of the finest examples of art-deco styling applied to any camera design. The Bantam Special had a 1937 list price of $110.00, targeting the affluent and fashionable set.

Kodak Bantam Special, by Walter Dorwin Teague for Kodak

Exhibition: Konstantin Grcic: Decisive Design

This significant exhibition is the first in America to explore the work produced by German designer Konstantin Grcic, one of the most important industrial designers working today. Grcic is known for his logical designs, driven by an honesty of materials and an appropriateness of production methods, yet injected with an inventiveness and originality that set his work apart.

Konstantin Grcic: Decisive Design, November 20 – January 24,
at Gallery 184, The Art Institute, Chicago, USA

Editor's Picks

Bell Side Table
Hand-blown in the traditional manner using a wooden mould, the transparent tinted glass base asserts a sculptural presence in space, contrasting intriguingly with the solid brass frame on top while also forming with it a harmonious unit recalling the elegant curving silhouette of a bell. [more...]

Suggested Reading

The Story of Eames Furniture
Brimming with images and insightful text, this unique book is the benchmark reference on what is arguably the most influential and important furniture brand of our time. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum
First-ever book to explore the process behind one of the greatest modern buildings in America. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11
A unique tribute to the defining scientific mission of our time, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Cars Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything

Cars
Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything. This lavish and beautifully designed book is the gift book for all car enthusiasts and design aficionados. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Design Icons

Karuselli Lounge Chair
“Without question my favourite piece of interior design, and undoubtedly the most comfortable chair I’ve ever sat in. I like to retire to one with a cigar and a stiff drink as frequently as possible." - Sir Terence Conran. [more...]

Resources

More Books

Case Study Houses
“It’s a huge coffee-table book, which analyses each of the houses in chronological order, with plans, sketches and glorious photographs.” [more...]
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The Eames Lounge Chair
The book examines the evolution of a design icon and places it in its cultural, historical and social context. [more...]
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The U.N. Building
Symbol of world humanitarianism, a beacon of unity after the Second World War. More than 50 years on, the 39-story building is regarded as one of the pinnacles of mid-century modernism. [more...]
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Loblolly House
Including a DVD of the film "A House in the Trees", a real-time documentary of the design, fabrication, and assembly of this amazing house. [more...]
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Desire
The Shape of Things to Come. An up-to-date comprehensive survey on furniture and object design today, showcasing the crème de la crème of designers. [more...]
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Marcel Wanders
Behind the Ceiling is the first monograph on one of the most influential, prolific and celebrated international designers today. [more...]
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How to Wrap Five Eggs
A mid-60s classic of Japanese design. Stunningly laid-out paean to traditional Japanese packaging is rife with sumptuous black and white photos of all manner of boxes, wrappers and containers that appear at once homely and sophisticated, ingeniously utilitarian yet fine and rare. [more...]
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