On my Nordic design journey, I’m often left speechless by a beautifully styled room or overwhelmed by the craftsmanship found in a piece of furniture, but when I travelled to Helsinki last year, I was left spellbound by the power of glass.
Long before that trip, long before this blog, I had begun collecting pieces by Iittala. So, when I travelled to the Finnish capital for the first time with my family, our first stop while touring the Design District had to be their prestigious flagship store.
Showcasing the whole Iittala product range, alongside rarer speciality pieces and artworks, the glass on display dazzled and danced before my eyes. Given pride of place and set against a mirrored wall in this large light filled space was the iconic collection of Birds by Oiva Toikka. It was then that I fell completely under their spell.
Celebrating a lifetime of design and creativity
So, this bank holiday weekend, while a return trip to Helsinki may not be an option, I will however be heading to Chester to visit an exhibition celebrating the life and work of this incredible man.
Located in the heart of the historic city, Pyramid Designer Glassware and Gifts, has been a destination for UK based Nordic design lovers for over 20 years, including Toikka himself. Running until Saturday 12th September, their latest event, the ‘Oiva Toikka Archive Collection’ showcases over 50 of his best-known birds, including 30 of the designer’s rarest and most collectable pieces.
Passion, craftsmanship and individuality
Oiva Toikka began his Birds collection for Iittala in 1972, and over the 40 years that followed, up until his death last year, created more than four hundred designs.
Drawing from nature and his lifelong passion for art glass, each bird is unique and signed with his name. Working side by side with the master glassblowers, every one has been carefully created using traditional methods that are centuries old, with temperature and timing skilfully fused together to produce their imaginative shapes, striking colours and intricate patterns.
With many of us now spending more time than ever at home, and carefully considering the pieces we add to our interiors, individually handmade items such as these will never fail to be a worthy investment and bring some much-needed cheer to our lives whatever is going on in the world around us.
To find out more about the Oiva Toikka Archive Collection, visit the Pyramid Designer Glassware and Gifts website or to see more Oiva Toikka designs, visit the Iittala website.
All images courtesy of Iittala.
Like this post? Then read more about more design discoveries in Helsinki.