Top 5 Finnish design classics

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Can you name the designers of these timeless objects of desire?

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

The lap that everyone wants to curl up in: the coveted Ball Chair is a cult icon of Pop aesthetics. As hip today as it was back in the swinging 60s – when its suspended version graced multiple covers of Playboy magazine – it now also comes with glorious inbuilt stereo sound. Designer Eero Aarnio is still at the peak of his creative powers on the eve of his 80th birthday – and still crazy about plastic.

POPPY LOVE

Bold but never brash, Maija Isola’s eye-catching prints are recognized icons of the Marimekko textile label. Many of the 500 or more prints she created for Marimekko – including the much-plagiarized Unikko (Poppy) – are found in countless Finnish homes, in an imaginative array of items from socks to serving trays.

CUP OF COMFORT

No other cup sits in the hand quite as snugly as the Teema mug designed by Kaj Franck in 1952. A Scandinavian household staple, it melds form and function with rare finesse. To commemorate Helsinki’s year as World Design Capital 2012, Iittala has released a limited edition featuring patterns inspired by another all-time classic, Tove Jansson’s Moomin books.

BLADES OF GLORY

Many homes around the world couldn’t function without this marvel of ergonomics. Perfectly sculpted to fit the hand, Fiskars orange-handled scissors remain unchallenged in functionality despite legions of imitators. More than a billion pairs have been sold since 1967 – now also in a perky new range of colours – but who can remember the name of the designer? Take a posthumous bow, Olof Bäckström.

COOL AS ICE

Creating the illusion of a light bulb frozen in an ice-cube, the Block Lamp was declared a must-have masterpiece immediately after its launch in 1996.  Award-winning designer Harri Koskinen renews the functionalist legacy of the famed architect Alvar Aalto, whose absence from our Top 5 list is no accident. The grand-daddy of Finnish design is in a master league of his own.
More information on the Block Lamp here.

Text by Silja Kudel

A version of this article was previously published in Finnair´s Blue Wings magazine (Summer 2012).

Published May 30, 2012

Category: Local features

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