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iittala Alvar Aalto Vases

An icon of Finnish design, the iittala Aalto Vase is one of the most famous glass pieces in history. Alvar Aalto created the design in 1936 and entered it in the Karhula-Iittala Glass Design Competition, in which it won first place. It was unveiled the following year at the World's Fair in Paris, where its simple and organic shape was received as revolutionary compared to the ornate styles of the time. Today, the design remains modern and timeless. Each iittala Alvar Aalto Vase is still crafted by its original mouth-blown process by Finland’s most skilled glassblowers at iittala. While the fluid form feels like a natural occurrence, it takes 7 craftsmen, 12 work stages and 30 hours to create just one of these extraordinary vases. Each vase is machine etched with “ALVAR AALTO IITTALA” on the base.
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The curvy vase fittingly bears its creator’s name, as the surname “Aalto” is Finnish for “wave”. Many see the design as being inspiredd by waves in the water, especially those in the Finnish landscape's many lakes. However, Aalto has said the inspiration came from “The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches," which he named his original sketches for his design object that could be used as "trays, fruit bowls or contains for cactus gardens." Though it is called a vase today, Aalto intended for the end user to decide it's purpose; ultimately, it is a piece of art. The vase is also known as the Savoy vase, as a 160 mm version was one of the fixtures created by Alvar and his wife Aino Aalto for the luxury restaurant Savoy in Helsinki. Today, it has earned permanent spots in a number of museums and continues to win awards.

The original height of the Aalto vase was 140 millimetres and was first produced in clear, brown, azure blue, sea green and smoke. More than 20 colors have been released since, and iittala continues to introduce new hue's to the timeless classic. The vase is available in standard sizes of 95 mm, 120 mm, and 160 mm. A taller and more narrow version called Finlandia is also available. Any of these versions of the Aalto vase make for wonderful gifts, particularly for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions.

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