When thinking of the image I want for Hopea going forward, I like to think on Elis Kauppi’s collection for Finland’s Artek exhibition of 1958. In a groundbreaking move, pieces were displayed on simple linen and wood blocks instead of the traditional black velvet. The understated; the aesthetic assertion that natural equals refined is, to me, quintessentially Scandinavian.
This week, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Kaija Aarikka, one of Finland’s most celebrated jewelry designers. Her forward-thinking designs are some of my very favourite of all Nordic jewelry. I’ve been lucky to have several pieces pass through Hopea’s collection and I always wonder at the imagination and skill they display. Her work is joyful and exuberant; I can only imagine the person behind it was much the same.
Kaija studied textile design at the Institute of Industrial Art and first began to design jewelry in the late 1950s. Her work during this early period consisted of necklaces of silver tubes and small wooden cubes. In the early 1960s, she moved onto her iconic pieces constructed with birch balls and wire. In the mid-60s, she developed her silver design jewelry.
Her pieces are of pure imagination and abstraction with no room for naturalism. Inspired by the jingling rings of traditional Lapland, she created her jewelry to include moving parts which would sound to enhance the vividness of the pieces. To her, jewelry was meant to be worn and the pieces were executed accordingly in a dramatically large scale. She was also quite inspired by space travel in the late 1960s. These were pieces that helped define her long standing approach which employed reduced and even austere forms with large, smooth surfaces of silver. All pieces were handmade until the 1970s, when she began casting small pieces. Her achievements were remarkable and in her lifetime Kaija turned her one-woman shop into an considerable enterprise that is now carried on by her daughter Pauliina Aarikka.
1 / Necklace and bracelet from 1963. via Jewelry in Finland, Designmuseo, 2013
2 / Bracelets from the early 1970s via Jewelry in Finland, Designmuseo, 2013
3 / Bracelet from the early 1970s. (Hopea)
4 / Necklace from 1974. (Hopea)
5 / Modelled rings from the late 1960s.
6 / Necklace designed by Alpo Jääskeläinen for Aarikka’s studio in 1969. (Hopea)
1 / Bracelet designed by Per Davik for Alton Sweden. 1974.
2/ Bracelet by Nanna Ditzel for Georg Jensen, Denmark c. 1970.
3/ Tapio Wirkkala “Hopeakuu” (Silver Moon) necklace. Finland, 1972.
4/ Unn Tangerud for Uni David Andersen. Norway, c. 1965.
Lots of exciting new pieces to be added on the site this week!
The Danish jewelry firm Hans Hansen made some of my favourite pieces of Scandinavian design. During the early years of its jewelry production, the lead designer was Karl Gustav Hansen, grandson of founder Hans Hansen who established the workshop in 1906. The company truly started to produce original jewelry when Hans Hansen asked his son, who had already won several awards at this point, to design a collection. It was 1932 and the collection was titled “Future”.
Up until this point, the company had primarily focussed on flatware, and with “Future” the workshop garnered a reputation of forward-thinking, modern jewelry. The collection consisted of approximately 50 pieces including rings, brooches and earrings. Remarkably, K.G Hansen was just 18 at the time. His aesthetic is often described as “Functionalist”; marrying form and function to create pieces of jewelry which are sculptural, thoughtfully crafted, and somewhat gender neutral.
In 1953, Hansen hired a fresh out of school designer named Bent Gabrielsen. As K.G Hansen turned his attention towards running the business and focussing on holloware, Gabrielsen took the reigns as lead designer of jewelry for the firm until 1969. By the time he left, he was responsible for the firms entire production of jewelry. Gabrielsen opened his own workshop and also went on to design pieces for Georg Jensen. His beautifully constructed designs perfectly balance striking maxim and with elegant restraint. Gabrielsen worn the prestigious Lunning Prize in 1964.
The fantastic designs above are from the period when Bent Gabrielsen was lead designer and you can certainly see his hand in them. I especially love the very 1960s flower in the sculptural silver ring.
I am so pleased to have located one of Torun Bülow-Hübe’s fantastic pieces of jewelry to add to Hopea’s collection. Her ingenious designs are simple but expertly crafted. Though not overtly feminine, her pieces are of a style that women want to wear, even half a century later. When you try on a piece, you can feel how it perfectly accounts for the curves of the human body. Information about her remarkable life and career is available in many places online but you have to feel her work in person to fully appreciate the level of her accomplishment. The piece that is currently available on Hopea is a neck ring that is accompanied by two interchangeable pendants. The modular style of the piece gives it great versatility.
New additions to Hopea’s collection, how I love these elegantly minimal 14K gold rings from Finland. All from about 1960 – 1970, they really capture the modernist movement towards simple forms and an emphasis on honesty of materials. Local stones were also preferred by designers who elevated them, incorporating them into modern work with gold.
2 / Gold and agate ring from 1957.
5 / Nils Westerback ring. Finland, 1964.