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The world of Finnish design has introduced a plethora of home objects, textiles, furniture and other structures that have shaped design not only Finland, but all around the globe. Designed by renowned Finland-based designers and produced by famous Finnish design houses, numerous pieces have stood the test of time and have remained design icons to this day. These timeless pieces are beloved around the world, become family collectibles, have found residency in global museums, and serve as a symbol of authentic Finnish design. See the list below for the top 10 Finnish design icons and the story behind the famed creations.

1. Alvar Aalto’s Savoy Vase
The Savoy Vase, also known as the Aalto Vase, is one of the most famous glass pieces in history. Famous Finnish designer and architect Alvar Aalto first created the design in 1936 and entered it in the Karhula-Iittala Glass Design Competition, in which it won first place. The Aalto Vase was then unveiled the following year at the World's Fair in Paris. Each iittala Alvar Aalto Vase is still crafted by its original mouth-blown process by Finland’s most skilled glassblowers at iittala’s glass factory.

2. Marimekko’s Unikko Pattern
Finnish design house Marimekko first introduced the iconic Unikko (Poppy) pattern in 1964. Consisting of lively and semi-abstract poppy flowers, designer Maija Isola created this print out of defiance toward Marimekko founder Armi Ratia, who believed the true essence of a flower couldn’t be captured in print. Today, Unikko now stands as a pillar of Marimekko’s brand identity and has become a powerful emblem of joy and creativity around the world.

3. Artek’s Stool 60
Co-founder of Finland-based brand Artek, Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 has been in continuous production since 1933. Characterized by its patented L-shaped legs, Stool 60 is the most copied stool style today. Artek’s Aalto Stool 60 is still manufactured at Artek’s own factory from native birch trees that are grown, felled, and seasoned in central Finland.

4. Eero Saarinen's Tulip Chair
The Tulip Chair was designed by Finnish designer Eero Saarinen in 1955 for the Knoll company of New York City. Just as the name suggests, the Tulip Chair mirrors its floral inspiration from nature. Considered a classic in the world of furniture and architecture, its futuristic-esq form and curving lines remain as contemporary as ever.

5. Fiskar’s Scissors
Originating from Finland in 1967, the iconic orange-handled scissors have been praised for their quality and innovation in the world of cutting tools. The ergonomic design, durable blades and long-lasting use have revolutionized the industry and become a cultural icon in Finland.

6. Tapio Wirkkala’s Ultima Thume Glassware
Finnish designer and sculptor Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) created the revolutionary Ultima Thule glassware line for iittala in 1968. In classic literature, the phrase "Ultima Thule" is commonly used to describe the furthest possible place in the world. Likewise, the Ultima Thule glassware references the faraway icy reaches of Lapland, Finland. The textured surface reflects undulations in the water that ebb and flow across the melting, snow-covered land, still crafted at iittala’s glass factory today.

7. Nokia’s Classic 3310 Phone
Finland-based brand Nokia released the Nokia 3310 in September of 2000. The GSM mobile phone was one of the most successful phones, with 126 million units sold worldwide. This led Nokia to once being the world's leading mobile phone maker for over fourteen years. Although Nokia’s mobile phone business was sold to Microsoft in 2014, their main headquarters still remain in Espoo, Finland as a top telecommunications company.

8. Arabia’s Moomin Mugs
Produced by the Finnish ceramics company Arabia since the 1950s, these playful mugs hold cultural significance as beloved collector’s items worldwide. The mugs depict characters and scenes from author Tove Jansson’s original series of short stories, comics and novels. Beyond drinkware, they have become cherished artifacts and evoke childhood nostalgia for fans of the Moomin universe.

9. Klaus Haapaniemi’s Prints
Klaus Haapaniemi’s textile prints are characterized by their unique blend of folklore, fantasy, and contemporary design. Mostly inspired by Finnish and Russian folk traditions, Haapaniemi’s enchanting patterns bring about a sense of wonder and storytelling. His most beloved and well-known print is produced atop iittala dinnerware, called Taika (Magic), which depicts a whimsical woodland scene.

10. Lapuan Kankurit’s Linen Textiles
Lapuan Kankurit, a Finnish textile company founded in 1917, has been applauded for their exceptional linen textiles. Embodying Nordic design principles, all of their linen textiles are sustainably made through eco-friendly production methods. Patterns inspired by the northern landscape pair with natural textures to create products that represent the art of weaving.

Photo: iittala
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