World-renowned Finnish design brand littala has invited architect Florencia Colombia and industrial designer Ville Kokkonen to develop an exhibition which is currently on display at the Design Museum Helsinki. The Design Museum’s comprehensive collection of Iittala – over ten thousand objects – and its extensive archive of documents and images are the curators’ main resources, supplemented by objects on loan from private and public collections. The Iittala – Kaleidoscope: From Nature to Culture brings together the history of the company in one place in an unforeseen way and intensely reflects the developments of Finnish society.
The show enters the history of the littala which does not seem to follow a linear path, but rather a complex network deeply rooted in the cultural, political and social evolution of Finnish culture. The company quickly immersed itself in the heart of the industrial and creative development of Finland, while participating significantly in the demarcation of the design field of the Nordic region. Iittala’s story reflects the changes in the world around him, the flow of aesthetic and ideological movements and the resulting changes in lifestyles.
At the same time, it reveals a continuity of deeply rooted values linked to craftsmanship, creativity and social awareness, as well as the preservation of traditions linked to Finland’s inherent dialogue with nature. “It is impossible to grasp the essence of Finnish design without understanding the dialogue between its nature and its culture. In the Nordic region, an ideological concept of beauty linked aesthetics with societal change. Beauty took on a revolutionary character in this sense. ” The curators of Kaleidoscope are unanimous, the Finnish ecosystem has assumed an essential role in the creative language of many designers which is reflected in littala glass.
The development of 20th century Finnish culture introduced new variables in the field of glass, extending beyond the table to interiors and lighting. “The development of contemporary consumer culture has introduced new modes of socialization and rituals, influencing formal and functional experimentation, the role of color as well as the extension of Iittala’s material spectrum. Glass nevertheless remained at the heart of the essence of the brand. A book and a series of events on responsible consumption A book will be published in connection with the exhibition and the program will offer a series of events on the theme of responsible consumption organized by journalist and writer Koko Hubara.
A book, which accompanies the exhibition, is written by the curators and edited by Phaidon. In the book, Colombo and Kokkonen reflect on the company’s cultural role in the past, future and present, and it offers a diverse image of the brand and its heritage.
The Iittala Kaleidoscope: From Nature to Culture exhibition will be on display at the Design Museum Helsinki from March 26 to September 19, 2021. Changes to opening times may occur due to the COVID-19 situation.