Finland is a northern European country with a rich natural environment, including vast forests and many lakes. Finland takes pride in the functionality and refined beauty of its long-loved furniture, interior design items, tableware, and other products. In recent years, their popularity has been rising in Japan.
Having become independent from Russia in 1917, Finland experienced a rising tide of national identity. Modernism was promoted in many areas, as part of the effort to build the new country and restore its people’s selfhood. Glass was no exception to that trend. In the 1930s, many international exhibitions, including the Milan Triennaleand world’s fairs, and domestic competitions to prepare for those events, were held; in that decade, more modern design was increasingly sought after. In was in that period that Finland saw, in art glass, the emergence of products to which designers contributed a high level of artistic orientation and a distinctively Finnish quality.
After World War II, the art glass that young designers competed to create helped the country’s recovery. In the 1950s, Finland’s glass art made further advances, winning internationalrenown, and becoming a prominent presence in the global design world.
This exhibition focuses on works of superb artistic quality that the designers themselves termed “art glass” and that were born through the collaboration of craftsmen and designers. It spotlights 140 superb works in tracing the pedigree of Finland’s glass art, from the rise of Finnish art glass in the 1930s through its golden age, which began in the 1950s, and on to the present, represented by work by eight designers.
How did these creators address their material, glass, explore it, and broaden its creative potential? This exhibition is an opportunity to experience the fascination of these works, with their unchanging gleam, and glimpse the beliefs about glass and the challenges they faced, in each period, and the messages and ideas they incorporated in their work.