• On Finland’s Magical Glass Trail

    The Aalto vase - Iconic piece of Finnish design young as ever

    Old glassblower joke at the glassworks in Iittala: “It takes 6.3 men to make an Aalto vase. One is always on a break”. The photo shows the evolution of the timeless Aalto vase. (Photo: Pål Allan/Fiskars Group)

  • Glass design has a future in Finland

    The Aalto University in Helsinki, one of the leading European centres of Art and Design, teaches glass design. Student Mandy Yau, aka Man Yau, contributed her glass artifacts STACKS to a conference about the future of glass design. She also exhibits in Milan. (Photo: Aalto University)

  • Muurla - glass lovers' paradise

    At the Muurla shop, situated close to road to Turku, the love of the Moomins shines on the diners. However, you find not only Moomin lamps there but also a wealth of other wonderful glass and ceramics from Muurla’s production.

  • At Fiskars - Finland’s nature contributes to glass making

    Wood, water and quartz are the basic elements to manufacture glass. Finland has all those in abundance and the Fiskars shop in Fiskars village demonstrates it. Over 100 artisans and artists work in the river village where they also exhibit their works.

  • Iittala - work in progress

    Making glassware is a time consuming, complex process. At Iittala, Finland’s famous glass design company’s main plant, you can watch the work in progress from a balcony. You may find that the great designer Kaj Franck was right when he said, “A serial production design should be one of which people don’t grow tired.” (Photo: Timo Junttila/Fiskars Group)

  • Design Museum - a must for design lovers

    Kaj Franck’s universal glass design forms on display at the Design Museum in Helsinki. To this day Finland produces highly imaginative and original glass designers. In the summer 2013 the Museum features Franck, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Saparneva and other talented Finnish glass artists. (Photo: Rauno Träskelin/Finnish Design Museum)

  • Oiva Toikka's inspirational cube of 2013

    Oiva Toikka, Finland’s top glass artist famous for his glass birds, has celebrated the magic of glass art at Nuutajärvi every year since 1977. His annual Cube each come in a new form – if you collect enough of different ones, you can create your own sculpture.

    (Photo: Timo Junttila/Fiskars Group)

  • Nuutajärvi café - to nourish both body and soul

    The renowned glass artist, Anu Penttinen, runs the enchanted designer café in the village of Nuutajärvi in summertime. Other places for glass lovers like Riihimäki, Iittala, Fiskars and Muurla offer cozy cafes and restaurants too. (Photo: courtesy of Anu Penttinen)

  • Nuutajärvi factory outlet - a treat for the eyes and a joy for bargain hunters

    The former warehouse, one of the listed 19th century buildings in the village of Nuutajärvi, is now home to the factory outlet of Iittala and other companies of the Fiskars Group. You find these paradises for glass design hunters also in Helsinki, Riihimäki, Iittala, Fiskars and Muurla. (Photo: Marika Kinnunen / courtesy of NuGo)

  • Finnish glass design and glass art - witty and inventive

    The little glass art museum in Nuutajärvi designed by the eminent Kaj Franck, the teacher of generations of Finnish designers, is a must see for every glass lover. Also, go and visit the awe-inspiring glass museums in Riihimäki and Iittala.

  • Tapio Wirkkala - the grand-master of design

    Tapio Wirkkala’s prolific and poetic glass design are on display at the Design Museum in Helsinki and the glass museums of Riihimäki and Iittala. Wirkkala has said: ”All materials have their own unwritten laws” (Photo: Osmo Thiel / Fiskars Group)

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On Finland’s Magical Glass Trail

Glass design has a long history in Finnish culture – take a trip on the glass trail and immerse yourself in innovative art, and a little retail therapy.

The glass trail winds from Helsinki to the north via Riihimäki and Iittala to Nuutajärvi or through Fiskars to Muurla.  It’s a year-round experience not to be missed – you can visit glassworks and studios, museums and exhibitions, watch glassblowers and artists at work, pick up souvenirs from the outlets and galleries and get to know Finland’s rich history of world-famous glass designs and their groundbreaking, individualistic creators.

Helsinki: design is a lifestyle

For many a Finn, life without design glass seems almost unimaginable. For a non-Finn to understand this, it’s best to start with a visit to Anu Penttinen’s Gallery Nounou situated in Helsinki’s design district Punavuori. Like many Finnish designers, she works for Iittala, Finland’s leading glass design company whose glassware is present in virtually every Finnish household. A visit to its flagship store on the Esplanade (Pohjoisesplanadi 25) is a must, as well as an excursion to the Design Museum.

Another key trip is a visit to Helsinki’s other design district, Arabianranta. Here sits the elegantly designed Arabia Center, which houses Iittala’s headquarters and its outlet, the Arabia Museum, and a host of other designer shops.

Riihimäki: Finnish glass in all its glory 

For more profound and captivating insights into the 300-year-old history of Finnish glass production and glass art, visit the Glass Museum Riihimäki. The museum also organizes various exhibitions of Finnish and foreign glass artists, as well as concerts, flea and glass markets. And don’t miss the nearby glassblowing district “Hyttikortteli” with its historic houses. Go and take look at hot shop and gallery Lasismi in the old glass factory and witness  the delicate art of glassblowing first-hand.

Iittala: the heart of glass manufacture

The village of Iittala gave the glassware producer Iittala their name. On the glass hill, at the Iittala Glass Centre, tour Iittala’s main plant, watch the making of its signature glassware, stroll through the delightful museum that displays legendary classics or shop at the outlet.

Nuutajärvi: 221 years of glass as lifestyle

The glass village of Nuutajärvi with its picturesque buildings is home to Finland’s oldest glassworks and largest community of independent glass designers, glassblowers and a glass school. Check out their hotshops, studios and galleries like Gallery NuGO. Maybe try your hand at glassblowing yourself.

A must is also a visit to the factory’s marvelous  museum by Kaj Franck. And you can even spend the night in the village.

Fiskars: center for art and design

In the romantic village of Fiskars you find plenty of design glass, for instance, in Gallery Sirius and in the Co-operative Onoma or the Glass studio Blu Bianco where Tarmo Maaronen, who worked with the two Finnish glass masters Kaj Franck and Oiva Toikka, presents his creations, organizes courses for glassblowing and lets you watch him work.

Muurla: Stylish outlet, stylish glass

Outwardly unassuming, the stylishly furnished outlet of the glass works Muurla is a gem little known to most tourists.  You will find reasonably priced eateries along with a wealth of glassware and interior decoration by such renowned designers as Ristomatti Ratia and Jukka Rintala.

 

Full of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the Midnight Sun and winter darkness, urban and rural, East and West.

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