Aino and Alvar Aalto entered a number of designs for glass to competitions. In 1932 they had submitted designs for moulded glass beakers, plates and saucers for a competition promoted by the Karhula and Ittala glassworks. In the autumn of 1936 the same firm invited a select group of designers to compete for the glass designs to be shown in the Finnish Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Paris, 1937. Alvar Aalto had just won the competition to design the pavilion. His competition drawings for glass, given the bizarre pseudonym of ‘the Eskimo woman’s leather breeches’, were astonishingly inventive, using an almost completely abstract line and making use of collage. Although various sources have been offered for these vases (including the sculptures of his friend Haus (Jean) Arp, Timo Keinänen believes that a more obvious source lay close to hand in the freeform plates and shallow vases produced by Orrefors in 1935. From these designs emerged the so-called Savoy glass vases; 10 of these vases were exhibited at the 1937 Paris Exhibition.
Alvar Aalto (1898 1976)
Manufactured by Karhula Lasitehtaalla, Karhula
Mould-blown bottle glass
h. 14.5cm, w. 21cm
Museum no. C. 226–1987
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