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Aalto Vases

Alvar Aalto is often regarded as Finland's most famous architect. He not only used his talents to create beautiful buildings, but also to design its interior features. His most famous vase was called the Savoy after the restaurant of the same name it was designed for, but today it's simply referred to as the Aalto vase. In fact, Aalto himself never referred to it as a vase, because he wanted to design a functional art piece with a wide range of possible uses.

The inspiration of its unique form has been the subject of much speculation. Some say the shape reflects the fluid lines of Finland's lake-rich landscape, but others point out that the title of the the original sketches, The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches, suggests clothing could have been the muse. Just as Aalto wanted the end user to determine the glass object's purpose, perhaps he also intended for us to imagine the inspiration. Either way, those original sketches impressed at the Karhula Iittala glassworks competition and the design had its public unveiling at the Paris World Fair in 1937. International recognition and success followed, and to this day the shape remains somewhat of a symbol for Finland and Finnish design.

Though the award-winning design's raw beauty seems like an organic occurrence, it requires 7 iittala craftsmen, 12 work stages and 30 hours to create just one of these extraordinary works of art.
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