Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985), one of the biggest names in 20th century Scandinavian design, is inherently connected with the progressive development that Northern Europe brought to the applied arts from the early 1950s.

The artist was a symbolic figure of Finnish design and he was famous for pieces such as the design of the Finlandia vodka bottle, which was used from 1970 to 2000. However, his core work was the design of practical items which were not only made from glass, but also from silver and porcelain.


Success at the Milan Triennial Exhibition of Decorative Arts

Even though Wirkkala began his artistic career in the period after the Second World War, his real success began with his innovative concepts at the Finnish national exhibition at the 1951 Milan Triennial Exhibition. His work is impressive in its simplicity. His installation of Finnish glass, ceramics and decorative textiles, which included references to the northern landscape and Finnish nature, became an inspirational and significant model of Scandinavian design. Wirkkala’s work was awarded with a series of awards.


Glass, silver and Rosenthal

The exhibition shows the three main components of Wirkkala’s workfrom 1946 to 1970: glass, silver and porcelain.

Glass, the artist’s most important material, is mainly represented by his numerous designs of table glass and decorative glass made by the famous Finnish glassworks company Iittala.

Silverwork is a typical aspect of Scandinavian design, and the exhibition contains a broad selection of Wirkkala’s silverwork. Porcelain table sets and sculptures from Wirkkala's cooperation with the German porcelain factory Rosenthal are another significant part of the exhibition.

The exhibition was originally created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the artist's birth in 1915. It was first introduced in the year 2015 in the Finnish Glass Museum (‘Suomen Lasimuseo’), which was renovated by Wirkkala’s design.


For further information, please visit: https://en.upm.cz/.