Tapio Wirkkala: Design Inspired By Nature

“Take a piece of ice in your hand and find our culture in it; find it in a stone smoothed by the rapids, or in sand that waves have shaped…”

-Tapio Wirkkala

The iconic Finnish designer couldn’t have described his design esthetic any better. From the ice block like vases to the leaf inspired platters, his designs scream nature. We wanted to take a closer look at his designs, and show you some examples of his works. 


1. An Ultra Rare Leaf Inspired Platter




Item 31 in our August Auction was designed in 1951. The Wooden Leaf Formed Platter was awarded with a gold medal at the fair in Milan as “The most beautiful object in the world “. Manufactured by Soinne et Kni, this is truly a really amazing piece of art and a really hard one to find! Hammer price on Lot 31, 5500 euro. 

The Leaf Formed Platter is an ultra rare piece of design by Tapio Wirkkala since it is seen rarely on the market. The price ranges from 4000 – 10 000 euros, depending on condition and whether it is auctioned or sold on the private market. 

2. The Classic `Chanterelle´ Glass Vase


The classic `Chanterelle´ vase was designed in 1947. It was manufactured by the Finnish company Iittala. This beautiful piece of art gets it’s inspiration from the chanterelle mushroom, which grows in Finland’s forests. The strikingly elegant piece of Wirkkala art glass is mold blown with delicate line cuts on the surface. 

Iittala is actually still selling the Chanterelle and one can buy a new piece for a bit over 1000 euros. Should you want an original piece from the 1950’s or if you want one that has been signed, you should head to the auctions or antique markets and stores!

This particular piece (Item 15 in August Auction) is signed TW in the bottom. The vase is 12 cm high. (120mm) Hammer price 340 euros. 


 3. `Gerania´ (model 3431) Glass Vase Inspired By Melting Ice


This glass vase by Tapio Wirkkala was designed in the 1970’s and like the `Chanterelle´ this was also manufactured by the Finnish company Iittala (you can see their company logo sticker on the picture below just in the upper corner of the glass vase)

Ice is one of the reoccurring themes in Wirkkala’s designs, so it is no surprise that melting ice was the source of inspiration for this glass vase. This piece is also a mold blown vase. 

The Gerania 3431 vases usually sell at auctions between 50-100 euros and in antique stores or markets the prices range from 90-150 euros. 

This particular piece (Item 77 in our August Auction) is also signed and it measures at 23,5 cm in height (235mm) Hammer price 95 euros.




4. The `Silver Moon´ Sterling Silver Necklace


Well – I think the name speaks for itself, right? This whimsical necklace was designed in the 1970’s, which one might detect from the shapes and style of this piece. Wirkkala designed this fun piece of jewelry for the Finnish jewelry company Westerback

The `Silver Moon´ necklaces usually sell between 500- 2500 euros, depending on the size, condition and seller. 

This piece was sold in our August Auction as Item 441. It is dated 1971 and measures at 6,5cm in height  (650mm) Hammer price 600 euros.



So as you can see from the examples above, Tapio Wirkkala was truly inspired by nature and by it’s beautiful forms. This post is merely a scratch on his Nature Inspired Designs, so if are you left feeling hungry for more you should go and check our auction catalogues for more pictures of Wirkkala’s designs (and hammer prices).

If you wish to bid on any of the Items in this post or/and check out the rest of Wirkkala Items in our upcoming auction, please click here! For more information on the designer himself, please go to his official website!




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