Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is recognised today as one of the great masters of modern architecture and Scandinavian design. Aalto created his own unique style of architecture and design inspired by man and nature. He believed that good design should be a part of everyday life - therefore he created sensible products that enhance everyday living. Alvar Aalto would never say how his glass objects should be used, he wanted the user to decide.
Alvar Aalto's first sketches for the vases were playfully called "Eskimo woman's leather trousers". Nature played a great role in Alvar Aalto's life and creativity. The undulating forms of the objects in the Aalto collection are like the Finnish landscape with its thousands of lakes - beautiful, alive and untamed. Glassblowers at the Iittala factory still meticulously handcraft the legendary vases that are variations on one theme, fluid organic shapes that let the end user decide the use. Interpretations of the shape in new colours and materials add to the growing Alvar Aalto Collection and remain true to his original design idea.
It takes seven glassblowers to make an Aalto vase. Each of them has years of intense training in the many areas of glass craftsmanship. They preform the glass and then put it into a preheated mould. It is blown against the mould walls creating the shape of the vase. When this is done temperatures reach up to 1,100°C. Making an Aalto vase requires twelve work stages, sixteen hours and a great deal of craftsmanship and passion. Each vase is truly unique. A master blower can recognise his own handy-work as well as the fingerprint of his most experienced colleagues.