After a season of monochrome, I’ve ventured onto vibrant colors and patterns as to joining the rest of you in celebrating summer. This is a bold move for me, and it surprised me how they instantly brighten my interior and complement all the pots of new plants I’ve recently started nurturing to decorate the rest of my apartment.
Marimekko is a brand I’ve been aware of for years now. I first discovered it on a trip to Copenhagen. Not exactly where the brand originated, because the company is actually started by a women- Armi Ratia in Finland.
In 1949, her husband Viljo Ratia founded a small textile company based in Helsinki called Printex. With a vision to create bold patterns and brilliant colors, Armi began gathering young artists to create prints that were one of a kind. Gradually in 1951, Armi Ratia struck out on her own and founded Marimekko. By the 1960s, her story and design had spread across the ocean to America. The then first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy worn one of her dresses on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1960.
Throughout the decades, Marimekko continues to recruit artists to produce new patterns. At first Armi Ratia did not consider implementing flowers by sticking to formal designs, however in 1964, Maija Isola incorporated flowers in a piece called the “Rebel Flower” (Unikko) that went on to become one of their most well-known patterns.
What I love about Marimekko is the mix of vintage flavor with its modern twist that feels contemporary altogether. What I love more actually is how each of their pieces vary in style and narrative without uniformity. All the patterns of the brand are produced as a large composition, depending how and where the manufacturer cuts the textile each item presents a different pattern and color. Because the lines, circles and even the colors in the overall compositions are slightly off center, they appear as if hand-drawn. This feature is something I haven’t encountered with any other brands.
I was recently in one of their stores in New York, immediately I was drawn to this small plate of yellow and white. It first gave me the impression of a Rothko painting I had seen at MoMA. with its floating geometry that is somehow moody. This sensation almost never happens, as in where a piece of homeware would trigger such a reaction in me. Of course I got the plate and also the Sääpäiväkirja bowl. There is a tea pot from the same collection that gives a better picture of the design’s origin. Rather than an abstract painting, it is actually inspired by the autumnal nature of Finland.
It is said that all these are made with white stoneware and have a long lifespan. They are as practical as they are beautiful- dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe.
Besides the abstract brush works, Marimekko also produces more figuratively narrative designs such as the cushion cover shown here. I have this one as well, to go with the colored one I already have of the same scene. (For names of the shown designs, hover your mouse over image.)
There are many ways to brighten up your summer, Marimekko is my all time favorite. Having these interior accessories fills my apartment with warmth and adds a touch of mystic Finnish folklore. Further more, all these have some kind of a motif linking every piece together allowing you to mix and match.
The store currently has a 40% sale on selected Marimekko items. If you don’t live in any of the locations of their stores, you can order online. When the design you want seems out of stock, call their store assistants to track it down for you.