Finnish glass design charms Tokyo


The Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo is currently showcasing some of the crown jewels of Finnish glass art. Finnair Cargo is responsible of the safe transportation of these valuable works.

In late November Tokyo’s Suntory Museum of Art opened an exhibition entitled Glass Design from Finland, the Land of Forests and Lakes. The event presents a cross-cut of Finland’s best-known glass art from past decades.

According to associate chief Ruriko Tsuchida, the Finnish design language appeals to Japanese sensibilities.

"I think that Finnish design is delicate but has a strong core. It is something that goes together very well with the Japanese sense of aesthetics. My desire to find out whether Finnish design has something in common with the Japanese definition of beauty led me to plan this exhibition," she says.

Tsuchida has concluded that there are similarities between the Japanese and Finnish attitudes: both enjoy putting everyday items on display in addition to incorporating them into their lives.

Legendary artists take centre stage

Among the featured items are the celebrated glass works of Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck, Timo Sarpaneva, Oiva Toikka and Tapio Wirkkala.

"It has been at least 30 years since Japan last hosted an exhibition looking at the history of Finnish glass in a systematic manner," says Tsuchida.

Suntory has previously borrowed individual pieces from abroad. This is the first time, however, that it has organised an entire exhibition in partnership with a foreign museum – The Finnish Glass Museum.

"When I brought up the possibility of an exhibition to the Finnish Glass Museum, they readily complied with my request, and offered to select the pieces as well," Tsuchida says.

In addition to works owned by the glass museum, some items are on loan from private collections.

Art transportation by Finnair

Finnair Cargo handled the transportation of these glass works from Helsinki to Tokyo. The packing, ground transportation and supervision of the deliveries was handled by a freight forwarding business specialising in art shipments.

The glass pieces travelled in a wooden box whose interior had been carefully padded.
"The transportation went very smoothly," Tsuchida says.

Finnair Cargo’s sales manager Matti Paaso says that the airline handles similar, large-scale art deliveries about once a year. Individual artworks travel by Finnair almost monthly.

"We exercise care in handling all of our cargo, but we have to be particularly conscientious with precious deliveries such as this. It’s important to plan the transport carefully and ensure that the necessary information goes to everyone involved, from origin to destination," he says.

The delivery of special items helps strengthen Finnair Cargo’s reputation as a reliable supplier of transportation services. The company also handles other cargo requiring special care.

"We carry a lot of controlled temperature transportation, electronics and delicate machinery created by engineering works. These kinds of machines have been calibrated so carefully that they can’t handle any kinds of knocks, bumps or piling," Paaso adds.

The Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo presents Glass Design from Finland, the Land of Forests and Lakes until January 20, 2013.

See for additional information.

Text by Matti Remes
Photos by Timo Syrjänen
(Thumbnail photo: Kaj Franck "Woodcock KF 224" 1953, Nuutajärvi Glassworks, The Finnish Glass Museum
Large photo: Aimo Okkolin "Lumpeenkukka (Water Lily)" 1960, Riihimäki Glass Company, The Finnish Glass Museum)

Published November 30, 2012

Category: Collaboration