Finnish design: Celebrating 100 years of independence

Fuchu Art Museum

poster for Finnish design: Celebrating 100 years of independence
[Image: Oiva Toikka "Bird (owl)" (1997) Collection of Finland Design Museum (C) Designmuseo Photo: Chikako Harada]

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There are many everyday items produced in Finland that are widely popular in Japan, such as Marimekko fabrics, tableware from Iittala and Arabia, and furniture by Alvar Aalto, to name but a few. They are pretty much a permanent fixture in the lives of Japanese people, though many here are not aware that these products are Finnish. So why do designs from Finland, which is so far away from Japan, capture the hearts of the Japanese? Well, at the heart of Finnish design is a philosophy that values “harmony between man and nature.” This does not simply refer to the use of natural materials, but to nature being at the center of design, as can be observed in Iittala’s Kastehelmi glassware, which is based on the image of water droplets. The Finnish view of nature - which respects the balance between people and nature - is rare in most Western countries, but resonates strongly with Japanese traditions. The sense that objects are designed to be used in the daily lives of all people is also key, with Kaj Franck’s dishes providing decorative fun for the dining table, and Marimekko’s dresses suiting everyone from baby girls to grandmas. It is through design that we can get a sense of Finnish lifestyles and how the Finnish value life.

In this exhibition commemorating Finland’s 100 years of independence, you can see all manners of Finnish design, ranging from crafts produced at the end of the 19th century, to items made by leading present day designers. There will also be a program of mini workshops that you are invited to participate in.

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Schedule

from September 09, 2017 to October 22, 2017

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