Will Iittala’s future dishes include crushed Teema plates, fish skin or dried flowers?

Aalto University students explored the potential of glass, ceramics, and new colours and materials for Iittala as a design company. The chosen projects will be developed further in cooperation with Iittala.

The exhibition Tomorrow’s Archives opens in September at the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre. It will present the outcomes of material experiments by students from Aalto University in collaboration with Iittala.

”The projects were experimental in nature, producing surprising results that we wouldn’t have explored or considered on our own. Collaborating with students from different cultures and backgrounds provided us with a variation of new ideas and points of view,” says Jeremiah Tesolin, Iittala’s Creative Director.

Test by Sushant Passi.

The collaboration also resulted in three glass projects that have been given the chance for further development in collaboration with the Iittala Glass Factory.

”The results of the courses exceeded our expectations. We’ll continue developing the selected projects in collaboration with the design students. Running three experimental material projects in one year has been a way of expanding our thinking about what Iittala could do. It also helps create change within the company culture,” Tesolin says.

Lack of experience as an asset

The students explored the characteristics and possibilities of materials without restrictions. The exhibition shows techniques of how to use familiar materials in a new way, prompting visitors to consider things such as what kind of world we might inhabit in the future.

Test by Linda Mandell.

A total of 43 design students from Aalto University took part in the project. The collaboration, which comprised of three separate courses, produced multiple different projects. Nearly all of them are showcased in the exhibition.

”During the project we encouraged students to play around with materials without worrying about making mistakes. The majority of the participants, for example, had never worked with glass before. The results were astonishing. Sometimes the lack of experience is clearly an asset,” says Aalto University lecturer Anna van der Lei.

Other important themes of the collaboration were sustainability and the circular economy.

The students explored opportunities to discover new production methods and materials, as well as leverage waste material in order to create a new material

Test by Filips Peteris Stanislavskis.

The students worked with materials such as waste glass from the Iittala glass factory, crushed Teema plates, resin, fish skin, dried flowers, and recycled cotton fibre.

One of the works in the exhibition, The Composites, is a composite material made partly of waste glass from the Iittala Glass Factory. This material will be used to produce special displays for Iittala stores.

The Tomorrow’s Archives exhibition is open at the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre from 6 September to 10 November 2019. Entry is free.

This post was supported by Iittala & Arabia Design Centre. Like everything at Helsinki Design Weekly, our partner content is carefully curated to make sure it’s relevant to our readers.