In September 2009 Iittala is launching its new concept called Art Works. With Art Works Iittala wants to give designers and artists an arena where they can explore the borders of art and design and create a collection of unique works of art, limited editions, and other special items. The first designer invited to use this opportunity is the Finnish Harri Koskinen. Koskinen has now worked together with Iittala glass blowers to put together a unique collection of glass items.
The Uusi Alue / New Area follows very much the spirit of the previous ones. The simple looking design is a particular challenging one for the glassblower, as the heavy glass must be shaped by hand without the help of any moulds. First the glassblower gathers the glass on to his blowing pipe gradually, shaping and molding it between every blow. When it reaches the right size, he finishes the surface with wet newspaper, again completely by hand. Only the local newspaper, Hämeen Sanomat, can do the job, because it has proved the best for the purpose.
When the piece is ready, it is carefully cut from the pipe using special scissors and transferred to an annealing kiln. Only when it has completely cooled can it be polished. The last stage of the process is to etch the inscription and number on the base.
Every Uusi Alue is different and unique:
Variations on a theme
The majestic Pokaali/ Goblet in the collection demonstrates what two glassblowers working together can achieve. Comprising three sections of different colours, Goblets are a celebration of the joy of coloured glass, and are equally at home as competition cups or decorations as drinking glasses. Koskinen explains: “It was surprisingly difficult to choose the right combinations of colours for this piece, how they work together is critical. Glass colours are never static and change with the light and the angle you look at them. In fact, I would have liked to make prototypes of all the various colour combinations I had in mind!”
Together with many other pieces in Koskinen’s Art Works collection, the Goblets explore the border between the everyday and the decorative, the ordinary and the festive. And does the way we categorize something define how we should react to it anyway?
This new variation on the ‘incalmo’ technique developed jointly by Harri Koskinen and the glassblowers at Nuutajärvi does not try to mimic the Italian method, which requires its own special type of glass, however.
Harri Koskinen received recently, on the 28th of April, the Swedish Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize of 2009. With the amount of SEK 1,000,000 it is the largest design prize in the world. The reasoning of the prize committee is worth quoting: “Harri Koskinen is one of the foremost designers now occupied with the task of continuing the Nordic design tradition. His extensive, wide-ranging body of work has a unique, austere design that is consistently expressed with clear Nordic roots in its demands for good function and simplicity of form, as well as in the choice of materials. These elements combine to create lasting value. At the same time as he enjoys successful partnerships with design-intensive companies around the world, he is also participating in the renewal of his homeland’s design industry.”
Alusta / Base