[Rosenthal Studio-Linie Pollo vases via 1st Dibs]
As you may recall from our current issue, there's a small collection of vessels by the Finnish designer and sculptor in the bathroom. “My sister called me up and told me that they had a bunch of Wirkkala Rosenthal Studio-linie porcelain vases at Winners. This coincided with the Tapio Wirkkala exhibition at the DX which I had loved, so I acquired a vase and started collecting his pieces on eBay” says Debbie.
[Wirkkala, via Iittala]
Wirkkala was born in 1915. He trained as a sculptor at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, and objects designed by him often are very sculptural. His design career began in the late 1940s, when he won a design competition held by the Finnish firm Iittala. Thus began a lifelong association with the company.
[Leaf plate via Etsy seller foxbride]
As you can see, Wirkkala's design sensibily was extremely diverse. He worked with many mediums — wood, bronze, glass and clay , he even designed plastic ketchup bottles. ”All materials have their own unwritten laws… You should never be violent with a material you’re working on, and the designer should aim at being in harmony with his material.”
[Chantarelle Vase via Iittala]
[White porcelain Rosenthal Studio-Linie Vase via Etsy seller Nordic Form]
One thing that is consistant across all of his work is his respect for natural forms. His objects pay homage to leaves, mushrooms and birds. One of his most iconic collections, Ultima Thule, is embellished with what looks like dripping glass and was inspired by melting icebergs in Finland.
The best thing about Wirkkala's work is that many of his pieces are still in production today. While many of his art objects are much sought after by collectors (and, alas, priced accordingly), many of his dinnerware designs were so popular that they frequently pop up on eBay and Etsy making it easy for anybody to start a Wirkkala collection.
[Hopla tumblers via Etsy seller Troedelzimmer]