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Vase Savoy - Iittala

glass vase (1937)

The Aalto Vase dates back to 1936 and was first presented at the Paris World Fair the following year. Its fluid, organic form is still mouth blown today at the Iittala factory. It takes a team of seven skilled craftsmen working as one to create one Aalto vase, an icon of modern design.

The Aalto Vase is one of the best-known Finnish design object. It is also one of the most famous and revered glassware in the world. Aalto's classic has earned a place in permanent collections of museums around the world including New York's MoMa.

The vase's form is experimental and daring yet it has universal appeal. Aalto never explained where exactly he got the inspiration for the flowing shape, but there are many theories.

It gives everyone the chance to make their own interpretation. Wherever the spark came from, one thing is certain: Aalto interpreted his inspiration in a way that elevated the design into a true timeless masterpiece.

The vase was also designed as an entry in a design competition for the Ahlström owned Karhula-Iittala glassworks factory in 1936. The design was inspired by the dress of a Sami woman. Called Eskimåkvinnans skinnbyxa (the Eskimo woman's leather breech),] the design consisted of a series of crayon drawings on cardboard and scratch paper.

Alvar Aalto created initial prototypes by blowing glass in the middle of a composition of wooden sticks stuck into the ground, letting the molten glass swell on only some sides and creating a wavy outline.

The initial manufacture of the vase was not without problems and the original idea of using molds made of thin steel sheets forced together to form closed sinuous shapes had to be abandoned. The vase was originally manufactured by the glassworks factory using a wood mold which was slowly burned away.