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A sculptor, designer and graphic designer, Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) was one of the 20th century’s greatest designers. In the great diversity of his work, glass has always stood out as a key material: Wirkkala tackled it in many different ways and with the most diverse techniques, creating precious one-off pieces, but also applying himself, through a precise ideological choice, to the dimension of “everyday glass”.
The volume Tapio Wirkkala, edited by Marco Romanelli, is dedicated to Wirkkala’s glass production and its meaning for the Finnish master in relation to his personal philosophy of life. Collaborating with the Finnish glassworks Iittala for more than forty years, Wirkkala designed both everyday glass sets and artistic glass – both of which are still largely produced today. In Italy, Wirkkala worked with Venini, from the 1960s to the 1980s, creating absolute masterpieces using traditional techniques and typical colours from Murano.
Italy and Finland, Venice and Lapland are the geographical poles, distant but in dialogue, that mark Wirkkala’s work and biography, as can be seen from the photographs, often previously unpublished, that complete the volume, and from contributions by Silvana Annicchiarico, Lisa Ponti, Marco Romanelli, Chiara Squarcina and Maaria Wirkkala. Taken together, the in-depth texts shed light on the design thinking and the personal life of the great designer, from working with the blowers to the search for silence in nature. The volume is completed by a rich photographic catalogue of works divided into three categories: vases and art objects, bottles and glasses, industrial glass.
The book is published to mark the Tapio Wirkkala exhibition at the Murano Glass Museum from 7 May to 29 September 2019, curated by Harri Koskinen and Marco Romanelli with Gabriella Belli and Chiara Squarcina, thanks to the partnership with EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art and the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation.