Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moving On

As you've probably noticed, I've been quite bad on updating the blog. It is due to the fact that I contribute to other forums as well as to my own new more dynamic site at the moment. Rest assure that this blog will be up as long as Google is but you can find the same (and more) material over at Hope to see you there!


Jonas F

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welcome to Thinglink from Ulla-Maaria Engeström on Vimeo.

I'm slow on updating the blog right now because most of my time goes into uploading photos and discussing design on Thinglink. Why don't you join as well.

Thinglink is a way to share design collections and photos while making new friends and meeting the designers first hand.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great losses in interior design and architecture history

The Alvar Aalto
library in Viipuri, Russia.

The library was originally drawn in the late 20's but was completed in 1935. When built, it was on the Finnish side of the border but after WWII it remained on the Russian side. Damaged during the war it was left to further deteriorate, and among other things the innovative wood ceiling was destroyed. It has been repaired to some extent from -03 to -08 and is currently on several lists of endangered and culturally important buildings.

The Hindenburg interior

The fate of the blimp Hindenburg is known to most people, but have you seen the passenger accomodations that were lost in the disastrous fire? The interior was decorated by the architect, Fritz August Breuhaus.

Pure functionalism was in the rage in the early 30's and bent steel furniture came to symbolize a more simple and cleaner living.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Awesome image of the day # 6

A caricature of some of the most famous furniture designers in the 50's in Finland. From left to right - Olavi Hänninen, Antti Nurmesniemi, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Hiort af Ornäs and Olof Ottelin. It was drawn by Olof Ottelin in 1959.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Design Of The Century wishes everyone a merry christmas. I will return to you in January 2009.

The mademoiselle chair by Ilmari Tapiovaara.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Five IKEA items that will be sold at auctions in 2030

I has been said that IKEA furniture will never see the inside of an auction house much less sell for any significant sums. I don't believe that. The strength of IKEA is that they are willing to take risks with short series using new techniques and there will always be gems. Here is my list.

The Jonsberg floor vases by Hella Jongerius

They are well made, simple and designed by a steadily rising star in the design field. The production series are relatively small and over time a big part of them will be discarded making the existing ones more valuable. There is even four of them creating a need to get them all.

The Vilbert chair by Verner Panton

Created in 1993 it sold poorly and soon the chairs were soon taken off the shelves. This is in fact the second piece of IKEA furniture sold at an auction, the first being an mid 1950's cupboard. Verner Panton is yet again gaining momentum and over time these will become even more rare because of the short production span.

The PS Ellan by Chris Martin

The chair is made out of plastic mixed with sawdust making it durable. It is a perfect mix of a new technique, simple design and an added feature (the rocking function). It is easy to furnish with and suits any occasion. At the auction there will be a bunch of them like in the picture and the buyers will be thrilled.

The PS IKEA Gullholmen by Maria Vinka

A rocking chair with a twist. These will all in a number of years have been tossed out, rained on or rocked to death by overenergetic kids. The rattan series is innovative and fun and will certainly become classic IKE. That goes for much of the PS series.

The PS Vågö / Vago by Thomas Sandell

Some would say that it is a copy of Ahti Kotikoskis chair for Asko but you can make up your up own mind. It is perfect for outdoor use and it is already sought after. It came in a variety of colours as well. Sandell has made some other nice pieces.

IKEA has overall during the last few years created new ways of thinking of design and sustainability after being criticized for it for so long. Let us hope they will keep on bringing in new designers with fresh ideas.

A few more: the hanging chair PS Svinga, the low rocking chair PS Vagga, the carpets Alvine Triangel and Stockholm, the Bench PS Ekhov, the table PS, the bench PS Bånk and the clock PS.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Known and unknown Finnish design in Hollywood movies

The Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the last crusade

The grail used in the movie was created by Saul Nordqvist (1911- 2003) and Holger Granbäck (1927-1985) who made ceramic objects together for 38 years at the Savitorppa studio in Nurmijärvi. The production in the studio was relatively small scale and the first years were rocky. The simple gold plated Grail was selected for the movie and it is widely available as a reproduction these days.

The Leia necklace from Star Wars

Björn Weckström designed the iconic piece of jewelery that princess Leia wore in Star Wars IV, a New Hope. It is still available in stores, though in a smaller size by Lapponia. It is said that the jewelery was specially ordered by George Lucas for the films and that Björn Weckström was initially not aware of what kind of film they were for. However, because of lack of time, Lucas had to choose a pre-existing piece. The original necklace is called 'The Planetary Valleys' and only a few were made.

The Ball chair in Tommy

Ann-Margret trashes the Eero Aarnio classic in the film based on the rock opera by The Who from 1975. By the end it is so covered in beans that it was probably not solvable after the camera stopped rolling.

The Nokia 8110 in The Matrix

The Nokia slide cover phone 8110 perfectly fit the high tech gritty neopunk atmosphere in the late 90's film and I can imagine it boosted sales. It came over time to be called the 'banana phone' attributed to its somewhat bent shape. Wish I'd saved mine.

Various Marimekko fabrics in Sex And The City

Carrie's apartment has been furnished with Marimekko over the years in the series and so too in the movie. A perhaps obvious observation on my part - I'll try to find some more unknown designs in the following posts.

A bottle of Finlandia vodka in Deep Blue Sea

Ok, I'll admit I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here but it's still good. The bottle was designed by Tapio Wirkkala in the early 70's and it was redesigned by Harri Koskinen a couple of years ago. The director Renny Harlin isn't too subtle in putting in nods to the Finnish culture.

A Pony chair in Ace up my sleeve
Karen Black rides a Eero Aarnio Pony chair (1973) in the film drama comedy film Ace up my sleeve. There are some other design objects in the scene as well but none of them Finnish.

I distinctly remember some lamps by Paavo Tynell in an old Hitchcock flick and the Yrjö Kukkapuro Karuselli chair in a science fiction movie. I'll find them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Scanned design

I have been scanning old brochures, books and booklets during the year and they can all be seen on my web page. There's so much valuable info in them you wouldn't believe. Hours and hours of fun. Digg or Stumble if you like it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Awesome image of the day # 5

Life magazine has launched a service on Google Images where you can search and look at thousands and thousands of classic images. The search function is here. Here's one I find interesting.

Charles Eames and his solar toy. Original is here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The top 5 most overrated design objects

This is my list of objects so overexposed that they no longer have any of their initial innovation or charm left. Don't take it the wrong way - it's all down to personal taste.

1. The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe

Designed 1930 and copied to such extent I'm not even sure this is an image of an original.

2. The Savoy vase by Alvar Aalto

The vase can be found in virtually every Finnish home. I use my small white one as a tooth brush cup. They have made newer versions of it trying to squeeze all there is out of the design, even making napkin holders out of the shape.

3. The coffee table by Isamu Noguchi

A beautiful sculpture as well as a table but it is just way too much associated with the 50's-60's look. To make matters worse, many also buy copies in the process of building their lounge pad.

4. The Ball chair by Eero Aarnio

I like Aarnio's design but he has copied himself many times over. The pop look of the chair has outgrown itself and now I see it mainly as a novelty piece. It has been extensively copied as well.

5. The Fun shell lamps by Verner Panton

Yep, copied is endless versions. I don't know what it is but it just feels like there is too much lamp with all the shells - like you tried too hard to be innovative. Designed in 1964 it was a child of its time.

You might not agree with me - comment if you disagree.
Awesome image of the day # 4

Aeroplane veneer tables/sculptures by Tapio Wirkkala.There is actually a newly launched reissue of the 1958 table. Price: 9500 € - ouch.
Arabia 135

We visited the exhibition Arabia 135 at the design museum in Helsinki last weekend and we recommend you do the same. There were many pieces that normally don't see the light of day and all periods of the factory were represented. It's only open until January 25th next year so you better hurry up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Awesome image of the day # 3

The Finnish design exhibition tour across Europe in 1961 .

Friday, November 07, 2008

Awesome image of the day # 2

From left to right Georg Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom. From Playboy magazine 1961. Original is here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Awesome image of the day # 1

Ilmari Tapiovaara presents some of his chairs all in the same image. I know there is another similar earlier one. As soon as I find it I'll post it.