Hands-on with nordic senses
Founded in 1881 as a revered glassworks, Iittala stands as a beacon of progressive Nordic living. Through the decades, Iittala has presented the world with iconic design objects, tableware, and cookware, harmoniously blending functionality with aesthetics.
With this rich legacy in mind, our class embarked on a unique challenge. The initial brief was to explore and capture the very essence of Nordic living through Iittala's portfolio. In this quest, I chose to spotlight a typically overlooked element: the auditory. We frequently find comfort in familiar visuals, yet it's the subtle, everyday sounds of our household interactions that craft our sense of home.
By recording the nuanced sounds emerging from everyday moments – like brewing coffee or setting a table – I uncovered the unique 'soundscapes' of Iittala's products. This led me to ponder: what if these sounds were the very essence of the homey feeling, and what would happen if they were amplified or transformed? What makes the 'Sound of Iittala'?
Inspired by my findings, I envisioned a concept that metamorphosed everyday Iittala products into musical instruments. Taking Teema tableware as an example, I experimented with the varied tones and tunes it could produce. The result? A ceramic guitar that turned mundane moments into playful and celebratory experiences, intertwining the spirit of Nordic living with the joy of music.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this project was the opportunity to produce a highly detailed and functioning concept piece using various handcraft techniques and workshop equipment. This hands-on experience reinforced the importance of craftsmanship in product design. The neck was sculpted from blaze birch. Holes and slots were cut on ceramic tray with water jet and two facing trays were glazed together to form a body.
This project provided a unique opportunity to think outside the box and explore how brand recognition could extend beyond conventional channels. By pushing the boundaries of Iittala's product portfolio, I learned the importance of aligning brand aesthetics with innovation. This not only enhances the brand's identity but also opens up new avenues for growth and engagement with consumers.
Having played guitar for nearly 20 years and finally building my own from scratch brought me closer to my dear hobby. The client was surprised and excited about the outcome and I was proud for having it exhibited in Helsinki Design Week 2020.