March 23, 2020

Finnish design gets comfy on Fortune’s top 100 list

The Womb Chair was designed by Eero Saarinen at Florence Knoll's request to make a chair "like a basket full of pillows".
Knoll

The Fortune magazine has placed six Finnish design icons on its list covering the greatest designs of modern times.

The list gives credit to the Finnish design classics Nokia 3210 (19th), Alvar and Aino Aalto’s Savoy Vase (20th), Alvar’s Stool 60 (39th), Fiskars’s orange scissors (66th), Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair (82nd) and Kaj Franck’s Teema tableware (93rd). According to Fortune, the list is a celebration of aesthetics and practicality.

Fiskars has sold over one billion orange-handled scissors to date, thanks to their ergonomic design that came to fruition in 1967.

Tom Hakala/Fiskars

“Our purpose is to make the everyday extraordinary,” commented Maija Taimi, chief communications officer at Fiskars Group. “We are very honoured to be included in the list and feel that it shows our ability to make daily life better through well designed products and services.”

The ranking is a reformulation of a similar list compiled in 1959 by Jay Doblin, then director of the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which featured two entries from Aalto and Saarinen including Stool 60 and the Womb Chair.

“This is a great achievement not only for us, but for Finnish design in general,” continued Taimi. “Exceptional functionality and beautiful design with a strong focus on high quality is appreciated and loved all around the world.”

Finnish essence

Included are also household products from the 20th and 21st centuries such as the iPhone, the Sony Walkman and Post-it notes, as well as empowering social designs such as Wikipedia, Penguin’s Modern Classics book series and LifeStraw.

“Fortune’s survey is unique as it covers such a wide spectrum of design objects and solutions,” states Artek‘s managing director, Marianne Goebl. “Being again included in this selection after 60 years speaks to the continuing relevance of Aalto’s Stool 60 and is a fantastic recognition for Artek.”

“How can a wooden stool designed in 1933 possibly still compete with the latest technological innovations?” Goeble continued.

“Well, it can, because it still is one of the most functional and beautiful items to improve everyday life in a self-evident, yet pleasant way. For us, this is the essence of Finnish design.”

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