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This is Iittala

What started as a glass factory in Iittala, Finland, today celebrates generations of essential objects that are made to enrich people’s everyday lives. We believe objects should be distinctive, combinable and multi-functional, with lasting design that inspires individual use and expression.

As a company based in Finland, where quality, aesthetics and functionality are important values, Iittala believes in interior design that lasts a lifetime. The progressive philosophy of our design heroes, Kaj Franck and Alvar Aalto, still inspires us to keep Iittala forever relevant.

We don’t just create beautiful objects. We believe in timeless design that will never be thrown away.

Where it all started

The roots of Iittala date back to 1881 when a glass factory was established in a village of the same name in southern Finland.

In its early years Iittala produced blown, pressed, polished, painted and etched glass according to continental models.

In the beginning of the 20th century dinnerware was decorated with a variety of ornaments. Iittala was one of the first companies to make the transition from decorative dinner sets to functional, aesthetically pleasing objects infused with progressive Scandinavian design

The breakthrough came in the early years of modernism and functionalism during the 1930s and 40s. At that time it was pioneers like Alvar Aalto, Aino Aalto and Kaj Franck who led the development of the Iittala brand. Their belief was that objects should always be designed with thought and make them available for everyone. It was Aalto's and Franck's thinking that set the foundation for the Iittala design philosophy: to push the boundaries and to give people beauty and function.

This breakthrough in Finnish design, also changed glassware ranges led by Iittala in the 1950s and 1960s. A new kind of aesthetics and functionality affected Finnish glassware design while most other countries still used traditional, extensive glassware ranges. A simplified, modern design took over from cut crystal.

The legend of Iittala started to take shape

Our design philosophy

The core idea behind Iittala is to offer aesthetically and functionally durable products that bring enjoyment and pleasure to everyday life, whether it is about dining, creating a mood or storing small items at home.

All Iittala objects are thought through in form, function and quality. All aim to achieve long-lasting everyday use and inspiration. Iittala objects are designed to be combined, with different designs across series, as well as with existing home environments.

We believe people have the right to expect the design they buy to last a lifetime. We also see that the world is becoming more and more aware of the value of long-lasting design.

We believe quality never goes out of fashion. The effort put into quality design has paid off: the Iittala collection includes not only new design but also items that have been around for more than 80 years.

Craftsmanship and production

At Iittala, we believe that knowledge of materials, production methods and end-user insight result in lasting, timeless design objects. To design colours and form that are inspiring yet easy to combine is the core of Iittala's craftsmanship.

Highly-skilled, experienced professionals in every part of the design and production process are essential in making Iittala what it is. A vast amount of human skills, effort and thought is required to create an object of quality.

The road from an idea to a finished product is a close collaboration between designers and glassblowers.

Craftsmanship forms the basis of all Aalto vases, which are mouth blown every day at Iittala, Finland. For instance, it takes a team of seven skilled craftsmen, twelve work stages, 1100 °C and 30 hours to take an Aalto vase through all its steps in production.

Each team member goes through years of intense training in the many areas of glass craftsmanship in order to learn the skills to create the vase. And yes, every single Aalto vase is unique.

The craftsmen of the Iittala glass factory have dedicated themselves to keeping the Iittala tradition alive. When the timing is just right, the craftsmen take hold of a pipe, begin to twirl, lift and blow it.

It is here where the everyday magic of Iittala takes place.

Meet the

Iittala's design values are based on the progressive philosophy of our design pioneers. Visionary thinking by designers goes hand in hand with the knowledge and experience needed in the production of quality items.

This traditional but vivid cooperation continues to drive the Iittala product development today.

The Legends

The names of Alvar and Aino Aalto have been connected to Iittala since the beginning. Alvar Aalto wanted to ‘free’ glass from geometric form and create an impression of organic, living forms. Aino and Alvar Aalto believed objects should be essential, beautiful, useful and democratically available to all. In their own words: ”The end user decides the use of an object”.

The arrival of Tapio Wirkkala and Kaj Franck at Iittala revolutionized glass design, making it an important part of the golden era of Finnish design during the following decades.

Wirkkala is known as the versatile genius of design. His contribution to design includes everything from glass products to the design of banknotes and graphic art.

Franck had an extreme yet rational design philosophy based on three familiar basic shapes: a circle, a square, and a rectangle. He believed objects should be multifunctional and combinable and removed everything excessive from his designs, leaving only the essentials.

Timo Sarpaneva had an important role at Iittala. He was the one who designed the "i" logo, which still serves as the symbol of the company, master of many materials had "a rare ability to be mesmerized and to worship beauty".

The visionaries of today

We are proud of the fact that we continue to work with visionary and original designers while at the same time welcoming new designers from all over the world who share the same philosophy. Today’s and future designers create a continuity for our design heritage and build the future of Iittala.

When you look at designer Klaus Haapaniemi's illustrations you understand why he named his tableware Taika, which means magic in Finnish. Gradually, the fascinating design reveals its details and reminds you of childhood stories. His magical designs gradually reveal their details and layers of meaning to the viewer.

Harri Koskinen strives to find solutions that are innovative for both the consumer and producer. His furniture and versatile design objects have aroused great international interest. In 1999 he created Lantern, a sculptured candle holder that is designed with clear and clean lines which is typical for his designs. In 2013 this iconic classic was reborn also as an electric version.

Visit us

Our roots are in Finland. Come and visit our travel destinations and factories.

Learn more about the destinations and factory tours.

View the catalogue.

Enjoy flicking through our latest catalogue and be inspired by the collection.

View our latest catalogue.