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On a spherical birch desk within the London outpost of Nordic gallery Modernity sits Ingeborg Lundin’s Äpplet: a large glass apple in Granny Smith inexperienced. It appears to be like so recent you wish to decide it up and crunch. Designed for Swedish glassworks Orrefors in 1957, Äpplet has a spot in design historical past – the V&A museum has one in its assortment. A transparent-glass model is on Modernity’s web site for £3,508, however it’s the recent color that contributes to this one’s price ticket of £11,500.
Following the second world struggle, glass factories in Nordic international locations have been the scene of radical reinvention, turning out each ornamental artwork items and designs for on a regular basis use that embodied the spirit of the age. Combining perform and magnificence with a wave of optimistic vitality, designs typically drew inspiration from nature, and later from pop artwork and tradition. It’s this mix that’s drawing the attention of up to date consumers, says Sebastien Holt, UK director of Modernity: “They arrive in in search of furnishings or textiles, after which they’ll simply see one thing they love.”
Finland’s most prolific collector of glass and ceramics, businessman and philanthropist Kyösti Kakkonen, has amassed 10,000 items over 35 years. Amongst his most prized possessions is Pilkkiavanto (that means ice-fishing gap) by celebrated designer Tapio Wirkkala. Simply 10 have been made, and its texture “resembles actual ice as if indifferent from an iced-over lake”. His spouse additionally collects, and at their two homes their respective collections vie for house. Serving to with the overspill, Kakkonen just lately long-term loaned 1,300 items to the EMMA Museum in Helsinki as a present to the nation. Highlights embody Gunnel Nyman’s fairly and delicate Rose Petal (1948, pictured above) and Timo Sarpaneva’s Orchid, which helped him win a Grand Prix on the 1954 Milan Triennale.
Publicity at worldwide design festivals was a specific a part of Finland’s effort to reshape its nationwide id following Soviet occupation and two world wars.
However greater than a PR train, there was additionally an financial have to refill the coffers. Glass factories revved up manufacturing – these of notice for right now’s collectors embody Reijmyre, Orrefors and Kosta in Sweden; Nuutajärvi, Riihimäki and Iittala in Finland; and Holmegaard in Denmark. The introduction of on-site artwork departments allowed particular person designers to flourish and make a reputation for themselves. “It’s right here that the actual abilities have been nurtured,” says Kurt Kovacs Braidley, supervisor at antiques retailer Aelfred.
An unlimited warehouse in Hackney Wick, Aelfred is the newest undertaking from Scandinavian interiors skilled Nina Hertig, and specialises in midcentury Nordic furnishings, ceramics and glass. Items replicate the rising demand in the course of the Fifties and ’60s for elegant on a regular basis glassware. At this time, unsigned design classics resembling Per Lütken’s Provence bowls (Holmegaard, 1955) might be discovered from as little as £150, and units of stackable harlequin tumblers made well-liked by Kaj Franck and Saara Hopea (Nuutajärvi, Fifties) from £10 every.
Evaluate these tumblers to Kaj Franck’s signed and dated Kremlin Bells decanter and pitcher (Nuutajärvi, 1962) in smoky glass, which just lately offered on 1stdibs for $2,200. The value distinction stems not simply from amount and situation, but additionally provenance and color – smoky glass is especially collectable. “Vital designers’ items are signed, dated and catalogued,” emphasises Lucinda Wright of vintage glass specialist Alderney & Wright, which sells by way of on-line market vinterior.co. The positioning is a wealthy seam for Nordic glass, with unsigned glasses from £30 and a signed Tapio Wirkkala plate for £8,560.
FT Weekend Competition
FT Weekend Competition returns on Saturday September 2 at Kenwood Home Gardens, London. Guide your tickets to take pleasure in a day of debates, tastings, Q&As and extra . . . Audio system embody Henry Holland, Rosh Mahtani, Patrick Grant, Luke Edward Corridor and plenty of others, plus all of your favorite FT writers and editors. Register now at ft.com/pageant.
These in search of a hanging accent piece ought to control the rolling exhibitions at Galerie56 in New York’s Tribeca district. Launched by architect Lee F Mindel, who has lengthy sourced Nordic glassware for his consumer’s properties, its latest present included works by Timo Sarpaneva and Alvar Aalto (costs from $9,000).
However the sizzling tip from Aelfred’s Kovacs Braidley, himself a collector with over 1,000 items of Nordic glass, are designs by Helena Tynell, “who must be often known as the most effective glass designers of the twentieth century”. Works resembling Tynell’s Solar Bottle (Riihimäki, 1963) zing with vitality. Pop artwork followers can construct a rainbow assortment at artandutility.co.uk, the place a Tynell is priced at £530 (and there’s a beautiful breadth of designers past).
Nanny Nonetheless and Tamara Aladin full a trio of feminine designers who made Riihimäki a powerhouse within the ’60s, “completely capturing the zeitgeist with their shapes, colors and textures”. It’s a too lengthy ignored area of interest that’s ripe for funding.