Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tapio Wirkkala: Finnish Excellence

Tapio Wirkkala isn’t a name that everyone knows, but if you have ever bought a bottle of Finlandia vodka and held the ice-inspired form in your hands, you have experienced the design of Tapio Wirkkala.
Tapio Wirkkala

Tapio was born in Hanko in 1915 and died in 1985 -- in his 70 years, he became a leading (possibly the leading) figure of modern Finnish industrial art. Wirkkala’s wide ranging portfolio stretches from more traditional mediums like sculpture and glasswork to commercial graphics, city planning, furniture, postage stamps, and even banknotes designed for the Finnish treasury!

The "melting ice" effect of Wirkkala's Ultima Thule glass work became the basis for this commercial art that was used for over 60 years by the makers of Finlandia.

 The beginning of his career was interrupted by the second world war, after which he worked in an advertising office. He entered many design competitions, and promptly won the Iittala glass design competition in 1946, launching his work into the public space. Wirkkala excelled when exploring the creative space that surrounded specific crafts: glassblowing, woodwork, engraving, and metalwork.

Postage stamps celebrating the Helsinki Olympics


His work in glass, for example, pushed the boundaries of what was possible -- his designs required not just an understanding of form, but demanded glassblowers develop new methods to achieve the look required. Wirkkala was happiest living and working in the remote woodlands of central Finland, or in the far north Lapplands. At one point in his career, production samples had to be brought to him by helicopter, so remote was his studio!



He took inspiration from nature, and natural forms he found in Finland’s wilderness: “Take a piece of ice in your hand and find our culture in it; find it in a stone smoothed by the rapids, or in sand that waves have shaped." His rejection of the machine-made perfection achievable in post-war manufacturing shifted the entire design world towards more organic forms.

Plywood sculpture by Tapio Wirkkala


Tapio Wirkkala influenced modern Scandinavian design by ensuring that the object doesn’t forget to imitate the natural world it comes from. Check out some of Wirkkala’s enduring designs at fjorn.com, or in person at our showroom in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Ultima Thule glassware as designed for Iittala

Friday, September 14, 2018

New Fall Arrivals from Iittala!

Iittala has released their new fall designs, and they are fresh off the boat here at Fjorn! Iittala brings organic shapes and natural inspirations with this autumn collection.

Iittala Essence glassware: the very best wine service with the fewest pieces.

Up first are two new additions to the Essence line of glassware -- the Iittala Essence decanter in pale pink and moss green. The Iittala Essence decanter is part of a uncomplicated and contemporary glassware collection designed by Alfredo Häberli for Iittala. The idea behind the Essence line was to create a set that would allow for drinking a full range of fine wines with as few glasses as possible. Highly functional, each Iittala Essence glass has the same size base and stem, creating a beautifully harmonized aesthetic. The new arrivals bring a splash of color to the entire set.

Ultima Thule collection.

 Also expanding a beautiful set, the Ultima Thule range as designed by Tapio Wirkkala (watch for a designer profile on the blog next week!) receives new pieces, including a gorgeous plate that artfully showcases the elegant “melting ice” technique that the entire collection celebrates. There are other new forms, including a set of Cordial Glasses that are just perfect for postprandial digestifs after a satisfying autumn meal, and a new glass color: Rain.


 The popular Finnish Moomin characters are featured on a series of bright coffee mugs, perfect as a stocking stuffer or to brighten up coffee breaks during the shorter days ahead.

Iittala Valkea Tealight Candleholder

 Brightening up the shortening evenings is made easier with candles! Iittala Valkea Tealight Candleholders come in six refined colors, perfect to add a sophisticated, warm accent of light to any room (or all of your rooms!)

The lovely organic forms of the Nappula Candleholder series.

 The Nappula candleholder series was born when designer Matti Klenell visited the Nuutajärvi glass museum and fell in love with an unusually shaped table. Sturdy and sympathetic, Nappula represents a strong Nordic design language -- soft forms conform to the gentle flame of the candle, while the solid base and delicate stem create contrast between firm and subtle. Icons in the making, this expanded series deserves a place in your home!

 And, of course, because we here at Fjorn have a soft spot for these birds, there are new additions to the Iittala Birds by Toikka line: the Reed Warbler and the Snow Finch.

Snow Finch, Iittala Birds by Toikka

 Come by our shop in the historic Pine Inn, located in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, or visit us online at fjorn.com to see everything new for autumn!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hans Wegner: The Master of the Chair

Hans Wegner, Danish Architect and Furniture Designer

What defines Danish modernism? Hans Wegner once told reporters that Danish modernism was “a continuous process of purification, and for me, of simplification, to cut down to the simplest possible elements.

The Wishbone chair has defined a school of furniture design, and has been in production for more almost seventy years.

Hans Wegner was a child of a shoe maker, born at the end of the Great War. He apprenticed first as a cabinet maker -- his feel for the wood and his joining techniques impressed, and his own designs soon saw light. After three years of working with wood, he headed to Copenhagen and studied to be an architect, eventually joining another Danish design deity: Arne Jacobsen. Together, with Erik Møller, they begin designing the Aarhus City Hall -- both inside and out. Working with Jacobsen, Hans Wegner began to simplify the chair to its most basic and functional pieces, never losing sight of balance and grace in the design.


Over the next 60 years (!!) Hans Wegner designed over a thousand pieces of furniture, and of those, more than 500 chairs. "A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles.” he once said. Some of the most iconic chairs of the twentieth century, including the Wishbone Chair, the Wing Chair, and the Shell Chair are Wegner designs. The Wishbone chair has been in continuous production since it was introduced in 1949, and some of his former designs have been put into production after his death, such as the Oculus Chair.

The classic Wing Chair

His clean lines and attention to both function and beauty have left a catalogue off work that defines Danish modernism -- but according to Hans, that work is never done. "The chair does not exist. The good chair is a task one is never completely done with."

Come and see Hans Wegner’s good chairs in our beautiful showroom in sunny Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, or online at fjorn.com! And now, take advantage of a discount on two special Hans Wegner designs as produced by Carl Hansen and Søns of Denmark: the Oculus Chair and the Wing Chair. Purchase before September 15 to receive the matching foot rest free!


Friday, August 31, 2018

Blanket for Baby: Klippan Organic Textiles

Klippan has been spinning high-quality yarn from natural fibers in it’s mill in southern Sweden for over 200 years. Klippan sources only the most environmentally-sustainable wool, cotton, and linen, and then completes the entire fibre-to-textile production process in-house, so integrity of the process and quality of the textile can be maintained to the highest standards.



The Klippan Eco line of children’s textiles are made from organically grown cotton and flax fibers -- no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are used in the production -- and organic sheep’s wool, grown sustainably without hormones, antibiotics, or artificial feedstuffs. Klippan employees love their work, and want to make sure it is done right!



 Klippan has a fantastic range of blankets, decorations, mobiles and accessories for children and babies. Their adorable felted animals and mobiles are perfect gifts for a friend expecting. Their line of child and baby sized blankets are produced using virgin, natural fibers. The come in wool or combed cotton (so soft!), in so many beautiful designs.



 In celebration of their new fall collection, enjoy 20% off these great baby gifts, for your special little one, or as gifts for others this coming year. Don’t miss out -- online at fjorn.com, or come in the feel the softness (so SOFT!) in person at our beautiful space in the historic pine inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bengt & Lotta: College sweethearts, with heads for design

Bengt & Lotta has gained a reputation world-wide for their whimsical, folk-art inspired designs. What started off as a cast-iron candle holder in the shape of a cow, became a collection that included dozens of fun iron-work pieces, before expanding to fabrics, paper products, and woven blankets. But who is behind these designs that incorporate traditional Scandinavian iconography in a modern context? It’s a love story at heart.


Bengt Lindberg and Lotta Glave were a couple already at university. As they were finishing their degrees, they both stepped out into the “real world” and got jobs -- Bengt at an ad agency and Lotta at one of Sweden’s big newspapers. Both jobs turned out to be pretty boring, and neither of them could stop the flow of creative ideas they had. Bengt started playing around with cast-iron and eventually came up with his first piece -- a cow candle holder. The cow was quickly joined by a sheep, a horse, and a moose. These four designs were almost immediately a hit, and Bengt worked hard to get them to the right retailers.



Lotta joined Bengt when he asked her to draw an angel that now adorns candleholders, christmas tree decorations, jewelry, and and fabrics. The deal was sealed: now Lotta designs most of the pattern that turn into iron work, fabrics, woven items and decorations. Both grew up in households that appreciated the quirkiness of art, as well as valued the creative process.




Today the couple’s creations are appreciated all over Scandinavia and the world. Their shop in Stockholm overflows with creativity, and if you are lucky you can catch them other their at the same time! Check out their works at fjorn.com, or come into our store in sunny Carmel-by-the-Sea! We currently have a discount on their new fall line -- enjoy 20% off all Bengt & Lotta creative designs for a limited time only!


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

New Fall Arrivals from Klippan (and a sweet, sweet discount!)

It’s fall! Ok, well it isn’t quite yet, but we’re ready for some cool nights and crisp mornings here at Fjørn -- and we have the perfect way to anticipate the coming autumn months. Just arrived from Klippan is their fall collection -- complete with new products and designs, as well as traditional favorites. Everything in the new collection is available for a 20% discount for a limited-time to celebrate!

We offer the new fall collection from Klippan Yllefabrik, a Swedish family business founded in 1879. Top Scandinavian designers collaborate with Klippan to create fresh designs with the highest quality standards. Klippan manufactures these designs in their state-of-the-art textile and woolen manufacturing facility in southern Sweden.

The result is a vibrant collection of sophisticated textiles and accessories for you and your home. The collection is made from all natural fibers and ecologically-sustainable materials. Klippan meets the highest levels of European standards for design and manufacturing, and strives for long-lasting quality and value

This fall there are gorgeous new designs to keep you warm, including wool blankets and brushed cotton throws.

Klippan also makes light work of kitchen cleaning with a range of ecologically friendly and beautiful kitchen textiles -- including kitchen towels, scrubs, and napkins.

There are also new designs for your table -- runners, napkins and placemats for every taste, ready to make every fall celebration special.
Finally, Klippan’s children and baby collection has just the right adorable design to wrap your special little one in love -- of course, made with pure natural fibres!

Stop by
fjorn.com today to see all of the new fall line, and enjoy a limited-time 20% discount! Or, come by our beautiful space in the historic Pine Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and inspect the incredible quality and craftsmanship of Klippan textiles in person.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Ekelund Weavers: A family affair

Textiles are not something that we consider on a daily basis -- but we should! Clothes last for at least a few seasons, sheets and towels in our closets last for years, blankets for decades; things that last years deserve some care in choosing. The best modern textiles blend artisanal craft methods with industrial processes than improve environmental sustainability and quality. While there are many examples of companies that do not hit that high bar, Ekelund Weavers from Sweden are a leader in the field.
Modern loom, traditional design, trusted values.


Ekelund has a tradition as a weaving family that dates back to 1540 -- over 450 years! While still in feudal times, there might have been some smuggling and black market trading organized by the Ekelund clan, but their company has developed as the most ecologically sustainable weavers in the world. As a modern Swedish mill, they employ the most environmentally-friendly practices and source the best natural fibers, grown in an eco-friendly manner by farmers that are paid a fair and just wage for their work.

Sustainable, environmentally friendly fibers are good for us, and for the next generations!



Ekelund also has a team of designers that continue to innovate and improve the artisanal weaving tradition they have inherited. From new weaving techniques that result in softer, more beautiful fabrics to modern designs that combine the best of Scandinavian design elements, the artistic talents of Ekelund weavers never lay quiet.

The real pleasure of purchasing textiles from Ekelund is in using the beautiful fabrics -- the kitchen towels and dish cloths make cleaning up pleasurable, their tablecloths dress up any meal, and soft, warm throws and pillows make every living room cozy. Check out our full selection at fjorn.com today!