Anneli hurries toward the Aalto Centre. She wants to be present when the collection of Aalto glassware of the retired former city architect Touko Saari is officially opened to the public. The city of Seinäjoki is now the owner of the collection after many controversial phases. Another donation drive from the general public was organised in order to obtain the collection. In the end, the city council voted on the fate of the collection. Votes for and against were evenly divided. The chair took the decision on the acquisition. The collection, which the city architect had collected for over 50 years, was now transferred to the city of Seinäjoki.
The year is 1998, and if Alvar Aalto were alive, he would now be 100 years old. Anneli muses that Matti-Alvari and his wife alsohave a special date coming up, their 10-year wedding anniversary. ‘I wonder how they’re going to celebrate?’ Anneli thinks. ‘Actually, I could buy something for them as a memento of the anniversary. I’ll have to think about what, though.’
Anneli meets a friend from work at the opening of the glassware collection. They chat about how great this decision is, that the collection will now stay together and stay in Seinäjoki. The world’s largest single collection of Aalto glassware is made up of over 200 glass items designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto. They primarily designed them in the 1930s. The collection includes the winning pieces of major glass design competitions, such as Aino Marsio-Aalto’s Bölgeblick series, which from then on was known as the Aino Aalto glass series.
The Riihimäki Flower exhibited at the Milan Trienniale and the Aalto Flower created for the New York World’s Fair were jointly designed by the architectural couple.
The opening is festive. The climax is when Saari gives the city of Seinäjoki a bronze statue made by the Academician and sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen. The bust given as a gift was made when Alvar Aalto was 50 years old. ‘Where will the city put this bust?’ Anneli wonders in her mind.
Anneli joins the crowds of people looking at the items. She admires how many amoeba-shaped wares there are in the collection, from shallow dishes to tall vases. She knows that at one time, these vases created by Alvar Aalto were made for the Karhula-Iittala glass competition, and they represented brave and experimental modern design. They were shown for the first time at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, in the Finnish pavilion designed by Aalto. Later the most popular model of these vases got the name Savoy. Almost 20 years later, the same vase began to be produced as a series and got the name ‘Aalto vase’ in the 1970s.
Gazing at the vases, Anneli has an idea: ‘I’ll go by the Lehtinen department store and buy an Aalto vase for the couple celebrating their ten-year anniversary. It suits them, since they value Finnish design and the imprint Alvar Aalto left on our country’s history.’
Text: Marjo Kamila and Kari Hernesniemi (Oddmob)
Images: Kari Hernesniemi (Oddmob)
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