Tapio Wirkkala & Ultima Thule By Iittala

Tapio Wirkkala & Ultima Thule By Iittala

By Steve Davey

Tapio Wirkkala & Ultima Thule By Iittala

Celebrating Tapio Wirkkala & Ultima Thule

Sculptor and designer Tapio Wiirkala

Tapio Wirrkala Portrait

Born in Hanko, Finland. Tapio 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. During his career, Wirkkala has participated in many interntional exhibitions, as well as being the artistic director of the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki for many years. He has won a large number of awards, including three gold medals at the Triennale in Milan in 1951, followed by another three in 1954. Tapio is Finland’s most internationally known artist & designer & part of Finns everyday lives & some of his most renowned designs were his work for Iittala.  Ultima Thule being one of those extraordinary designs.

To celebrate 100 years of this wonderful mans work, Iittala launched a few new pieces to this iconic range.  Inspired by melting ice from Lapland, Tapio spent 1000’s of hours perfecting these glass blowing techniques required for this unusual design. This unique process means the melting glass gradually forms in the mould & burns the surface, creating this stunning  textural design.

Ultima Thule glassware by Tapio Wiirkala for Iittala

Some of the Ultima Thule Collection by Iittala

The term, “Ultima Thule” was used in medieval times, meaning, ‘beyond this world’ and this term was often used to describe Scandinavia. Tapio’s Thule design is evocative of these nordic landscapes & these new additions by Iittala capture the same feel & qualities as the original pieces which were so aptly named.

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Stunning glassware by Iittala, designed by Tapio originally in the 1960’s, inspired by the melting ice of Lapland.

First launched in 1968 this original range was adopted by Finn Air for their first class passengers. I can just imagine how glamorous it must have been, lounging on a leather chair flying in the clouds being served chilled champagne in one of these stunning glasses. Thule glassware, textural, sculptural, reflective and timeless, to me it has a retro feel as well, making it sophisticated and funky in it’s unique styling.


Ultima Thule glassware by Tapio Wiirkala for Iittala, Thule serving Platter

Ultima Thule Glass Serving Platter by Iittala

This ice sculpture range also has a large serving bowl with small bowls, the serving platter above which is one of my personal favourites, it really is stunning, as well as 2 pitchers & side plates and an array of drinking glasses to suit your favoured tipple. This textural and timeless collection has something for everyone, whether you choose just one or two favourite pieces or decide to make a wish list to start collecting the whole range, you will fall in love with the feel and the look of this gorgeous glassware and it will become a loved  piece to use again and again in your home. Ultima Thule has stood the test of time and can be shared and passed down through the generations of your family to enjoy and share moments together. Experience a hint of heritage.

Check out the refreshing Gin Basil Smash on our Lifestyle section, the pick me up and party cocktail inspired by one of the Thule glasses.