Collaborations are a dime a dozen, these days; they’re hatched so quickly that it seems like such a simple, easy undertaking. But it’s always more than just a marriage of names and exchange of ideas. Case in point: Iittala’s new collection, created in collaboration with venerable designer Issey Miyake. Four years in the making, the Finnish brand’s biggest collaboration – a 30-piece collection of ceramics, glassware and home textiles – debuted at the Stockholm Furniture Fair on February 9th.
The creative process was a romantic East-meets-West story. Design teams from both Iittala and Miyake Design Studio travelled between Tokyo and Helsinki, and embraced the ethos and expertise of each entity. “The concept was to look at every day items in a different way. For example, by using a pentagon shape, the mundane plate is given a more special quality,” says Jeremiah Tesolin, creative director of Iittala. “The idea is to elevate daily life with beautifully made pieces that allow us to cherish the present.”
Featuring Iittala’s expertise in ceramics and glass, the collaboration includes asymmetric plates, platters and cups as well as single-stem mouth-blown glass vases. And it wouldn’t be an Issey Miyake venture without his signature pleats – the detail and technology features heavily on the napkins, placemats, cushion covers and the origami-like table flowers.
Nature and culture also play a big part in the partnership. For example, colours are inspired by Japanese sakura and Scandinavian forests hence the subtle pinks and dark greens; the table napkin’s form is also a direct reference to Mount Fuji. Each piece in the collection has a special sculptural quality, whether hard or soft. “Issey Miyake says that he doesn’t finish the design; it concludes when the piece is actually worn,” shares Sawako Ogitani of Miyake Design Studio. The same could be said about this collection, which champions timeless design and is intended to help everyone create a soulful showcase at home.