Iittala, the renowned Finnish design brand with a remarkable heritage in artisanal glass making and known for its distinctive creations, announces the appointment of a new Creative Director, Janni Vepsäläinen, who is set to usher in a bold new era of the Iittala brand, reinforcing the brand’s commitment to artistic innovation, design excellence, and the artisanal heritage that defines Iittala. Janni Vepsäläinen brings with her a wealth of experience having previously worked with prestigious brands in the luxury fashion world.

Iittala has long had an influential presence in the world of design with its roots in glass making since 1881, and the brand having its international breakthrough in the 1930s and 1940s, during the early years of modernism and functionalism. Now, under the new creative vision of the brand’s newly appointed Creative Director Janni Vepsäläinen, Iittala is ready to redefine its approach to the world of design.

“Iittala has such a unique story. I see Iittala as a creative universe, creating and contributing to culture and inviting its audience to experience and engage in its world in every touchpoint, whether it be through exciting collaborations with artists and brands that represent a spectrum of culture, with events and exhibitions we invite people in, our retail and brand content in various channels and of course through our designs in the everyday life of our community. We want to offer different and unexpected experiences from what our audience has previously seen from Iittala. We are reinforcing Iittala’s founding identity of being a forward-thinking, bold and experimental design brand,” describes Janni Vepsäläinen.

“The heart of Iittala is glass, made by passionate craftspeople since 1881. Our commitment to craftsmanship, innovation, and artistic collaboration will define the next chapter for Iittala, and we’re excited to invite our community to join us in our creative universe.”

Commitment to craftsmanship
Iittala represents the convergence of art, design, and craftsmanship. Iittala’s philosophy is to explore and experiment with new ideas, fostering a sense of playfulness, character and imagination in design.

While boldly looking ahead, Iittala reinforces its commitment to craftsmanship and cherishes its heritage as a pioneer in glass, bringing the Iittala Glass Factory and its craftspeople to the front and centre of the brand and its creative core.

As a pioneering step in Iittala’s journey to invite artists to play with Iittala and channel their artistry through glass, Iittala announces a collaboration with Damsel Elysium, a London-based experimental sound and visual artist. In collaboration with Janni Vepsäläinen and Iittala’s master glass blowers in the Iittala Glass Factory in Finland, Damsel Elysium has created an impressive series of unique mouth blown and handcrafted glass instruments and objects. The art pieces are a representation of the artist’s avant-garde world inspired by Iittala’s creative vision and infused with the century-long tradition of artisanal glass making kept alive by the Iittala craftspeople.

“Iittala is redefining the way it works with artists, fostering close partnerships that celebrate the art of glassmaking and providing a platform for young artists to express their talent. The most unique designs are always born when traditional craft methods are used to create something completely original and new,” Vepsäläinen says.

The home as the playing field
“Iittala’s playing field is the home. Design is a way of telling stories about the ever-changing world, telling stories about togetherness. We want to speak to the curious, the cultured, the intelligent – with a sense of humour,” says Vepsäläinen.

The first collection designed under the new creative direction, called Iittala PLAY, will be in stores in March 2024. Iittala PLAY is reimagining the way we interact with design in our daily lives. Iittala’s commitment to creativity and to being in tune with the lifestyles of its audience is exemplified by the collection, resulting in a line of objects that are colourful and playful, versatile and carefully designed to engage with the needs of urban homes and become a meaningful part of the everyday life. The collection includes glass objects, ceramic tableware and textiles, and it expands Iittala’s portfolio to candles.

“The PLAY home accents and objects are multifunctional items made to be shared and loved,” Vepsäläinen says.

New visual identity and retail concept
To express the brand’s vision and values, the brand’s visual identity is undergoing a transformation extending to all aspects of the brand’s look and feel. As part of this Iittala also introduces a new logo that reflects the heritage, craft and the evolving spirit of Iittala. The inspiration for the new logo draws from two historical logo versions, paying homage to the brand’s rich heritage in artisanal glassmaking and its pioneering spirit.

The new era of Iittala also extends to encompass a renewed retail concept, ensuring that the retail experience resonates with the brands vision and commitment to excellence. The new concept will come alive starting from Iittala’s flagship store in Helsinki and after that roll out to existing and also new retail touchpoints.

As a brand with a legacy dating back to 1881, Iittala’s reputation for glass and glass colour expertise and pioneering Finnish design is globally recognized. This renewal underscores Iittala’s commitment to upholding and advancing the artistic innovation, design excellence, and the artisanal heritage that defines Iittala.

This moment signals a dynamic and exciting future for Iittala, building on its storied past with its roots firmly in Finland and in the Iittala Glass Factory established in 1881, while embracing the global context of the modern world and the limitless possibilities of the creative journey ahead.

“Experimental. Energetic. Curious. Bold. This is the Iittala universe we invite you to be a part of.” Vepsäläinen adds with a smile.

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Liam Möller liam@grandrelations.com | +46-70 250 22 69