Alvar Aalto (Finnish, 18981976)
Glass; 11 3/8 x 12 x 11 in. (28.9 x 30.5 x 27.9 cm)
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1985 (1985.223)
© iittala, Inc.
Alvar Aalto designed the Finnish Pavilion for the 1937 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Considered his first mature achievement in architecture, it was also a breakthrough for him in the field of industrial design. Aalto won the 1936 competition sponsored by Karhula-Iittala to design innovative tableware and art glass to be shown at the fair. His free-form objects, comprising a collection of about ten pieces ranging from a shallow dish to a tall vase, were exhibited and instantly popular. The Savoy Restaurant in Helsinki commissioned a number of the most popular forms and this vase, previously known as "The Paris Object" or simply the "Aalto," became known as the Savoy vase. It is still in production today and is considered a classic example of the Scandinavian avant-garde.