In Finland, “pelkistetty” refers to that which is reduced or simplified. Finnish design has its roots in folk tradition and craft, and balances this heritage today with a clean and modern aesthetic.
Iittala and Kaj Franck
Teema in white. Simple. Elegant.
Kartio pitcher and glasses in grey.
Iittala worked with Kaj Franck, an exceptional and influential designer. Franck designed two of the brand’s most successful series: Teema tableware between 1948-1952 and Kartio glassware between 1946-1958. Each series is the perfect example of its kind, remarkable on the one hand yet typical on the other. With Teema and Kartio, pieces add meaning and value, knowingly or unwittingly, to everyday moments. Epitomising Finnish design prowess, both Teema and Kartio offer users a wide range of combinations, colours and shapes, and remain as relevant today as when they were first introduced. Teema was initially known as “Kilta”. Based on circle, square and rectangle shapes, its unconventional and modular approach allowed users to choose their own individual combinations. The range was relaunched as “Teema” in 1981 and remains a modern and functional dinnerware solution. (Source:
Teema and Kartio.
Kaj Franck (1911-1989) was one of Finland’s best-loved designers and a man who created a wide range of utilitarian objects. As a designer and craftsman, he was influenced by such genres as the Bauhaus and traditional Japanese design. Described as the “conscience of Finnish design”, Franck’s pared down aesthetic reduced his objects to their basic form. In Franck’s worldview, the essential qualities of a design were optimal; anything more was excess. According to Franck, “objects should always be appropriate, durable and functional.” (Source:
Teema and Kartio (with Franck’s Scandia cutlery).
Kaj Franck believed that colour is the only decoration needed.
The Burden of Choice
Human beings (in the main) can make conscious choices as part of everyday life. Yet for consumers, making choices related to design is becoming increasingly onerous: in the often madcap world of design there is simply too much choice. In our haste and frustration, there is a tendency to choose expedience and convenience, to nullify the burden of choice. Poor design choices typically result in a lacklustre environment, devoid of character, charm and charisma. Without personality, a space quickly loses it appeal: lacking emotion, it offers little sense of cosiness or sanctuary. Stopping to think about simple things (tableware and glassware) that can enhance the relationship we have with our space is a positive step towards improving our surroundings.
Kartio 21cl glasses.
Teema and Kartio (with Essence white wine glasses by Alfredo Häberli).
Teema in white on the Kerros shelf (by Matti Klenell).
Teema and Kartio (with Citterio 98 cutlery by Antonio Citterio).
The Teema tableware series and Kartio glass series are among Kaj Franck’s most celebrated objects. Handsome, modern, simple and timeless, they are for those who have a penchant for good design, for the responsible user as opposed to the rash consumer.
All images © Fiskars Finland.