Göran Hongell

Göran Hongell (1902-1973) was born in Helsinki, Finland. He studied at the department of ornamental painting of the Central School of Arts and Crafts in Helsinki in 1919-1922 and worked as an ornamental painter from 1923 until 1927. Hongell founded a company together with Gunnar Forsström in 1928. Their joint works included ornamental paintings for Noormarkku Church. Hongell also designed posters and was involved in the interior decoration of the new Capitol cinema in Helsinki. His poster designs include an elegant poster for the 1928 Finnish exhibition of applied art, which he drew together with Gunnar Forsström. As a glass designer Hongell was one of the pioneers of Finnish glass tradition. Hongell was also a faculty member of the Central School of Arts and Crafts, where he taught ornamental painting from 1927 until 1935. He joined the Ornamo association of designers in 1924 and was an active member until the late 1930s. Back in the 1930s, he presented a first version of what would become his most famous creation, the hand-blown glass series Aarne. In 1954, he won the gold medal at the Triennale in Milan with Aarne. With the arrival of Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva in the 1950s, Hongell faded out of the limelight, but he remained a trailblazer in modern Finnish glass.