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Hanko, Finland 1915 – Helsinki, Finland 1985



commenced 1881

manufacturer (organisation)

Group of three Kantarelli vases 1948-1951 Place made: Iittala, Finland
Materials & Technique: glass, vases, glass: blown and wheel-cut

Dimensions: 24.0 h x 15.5 w x 16.0 d cm 15.5 h x 11.0 w x 12.0 d cm 9.0 h x 8.0 w x 9.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2013
Accession No: NGA 2013.722.A-C

Tapio Wirkkala was a designer and maker of objects, furniture, lighting, graphics and exhibitions. His work evoked the natural environment of Finland, abstracting the forms and textures of its forests, lakes and winter ice. The Kantarelli (Chanterelle) vase was Wirkkala’s first work designed for Iittala, conceived in a series of sizes which, when grouped, suggest chanterelle mushrooms growing from the forest floor. Encapsulating the idea of organic modernism, Wirkkala developed a product that could be produced on an industrial scale, yet retained a sense of the designer’s and makers’ hands.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2016
Author: Dr Robert Bell AM - Senior Curator Decorative Arts and Design