Riihimäki Glass was a Finnish glass factory. The factory, established in 1810 for the production of domestic glassware, began production of window glass in 1919. It purchased various small factories, including the factory in which the Finnish Glass Museum is located today. After buying the Kaukalahti glassworks in 1927, Riihimaki became the largest glass factory in Finland.
Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen (1873-1950), a Finnish-born architect and city planner, significantly shaped 20th-century architecture with his distinctive blend of national Romanticism and modernism. Known for his holistic approach to design, Saarinen made major contributions to both European and American architecture, including the iconic Helsinki Central Railway Station and the masterful campus plan for the University of Michigan. Saarinen’s multidisciplinary approach extended beyond architecture to the realms of furniture and textile design, demonstrating his commitment to integrated design principles. His influence on architectural theory and education, particularly during his tenure as president of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, cemented his legacy in the global architectural landscape.
He made deeply cut crystal objects that were often coloured. He used a lot of nature subjects. The most famous is “Lumpeenkukka”. This glass object, designed by Okkolin in 1960, was Riihimäki Lasi’s best-selling single object. Okkolini’s glassware was presented to several foreign heads of state. He continued working for Riihimäki Glass until 1976 when glassblowing by hand was stopped. After that, he worked as a freelance designer. He was granted a state artist’s pension in 1980.
Bertel Gardberg was a Finnish jeweller and metal worker. Between 1938-1941 he studied at Taideteollin Korkeaukoulu, Helsinki. He began his working life in Copenhagen. Gardberg moved to Helsinki where he maintained a studio between 1949-1966. He was responsible for stainless steel and silver designs produced by the Georg Jensen Solvsmedie; Galeries Lafayette department store, Paris and Kilkenny Design workshops, Dublin. Although he was known for his metal wares, he also worked in wood and stone.
Finnish Design has contributed significantly to the country’s economy and international identity. This beautifully conceived study examines the influence of Finnish modernism and its essential characteristics. The book extensively demonstrates how architecture works in the tension between art and business. Numerous photographs, posters, and illustrations depict every conceivable element of Finnish design’s rich diversity.
Borje Rajalin is a Finnish Jewellery Designer.
Rajalin worked at Bertel Gardberg’s silversmith from 1952 – 1956. His design work included technical equipment, plastic fittings, cutlery, stainless steel table and cookware and with Anti Nurmesniemi in 1972 a train for the Helsinki Railway. They collaborated with station designers to make the metro stations modern and chic. Rajalin produced silver designs for Bertel Gardberg and jewellery for Kalevala Koru. He taught at Taideeteollinen Oppilaitos and was the director of Taidetelinen Ammattikoulu in Helsinki.
Marimekko, one of the most well-known Finnish textile companies, was founded by Armi and Viljö Ratia in Helsinki in 1951 as the trendy and innovative arm of their parent business, Printex, which they also formed two years earlier. At Printex, Armi Ratia created bold, experimental printed cotton textiles. Still, after this failed to catch the popular imagination, she founded Marimekko.
The Friends of Finnish Handicraft aims to document and promote typically Finnish textiles. The association was founded in 1879 by Fanny Churberg and inspired by the Swedish Friends of Handicraft association, founded five years earlier. The association has always worked closely with artists and architects and, from an early date, cooperated with, e.g. Jac Ahrenberg. The association collected and published a pattern book of traditional textile patterns in its early days.