A classic is born



Ruutu by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec for Iittala, a classic is born!

With 4,928 innovative entries from 1,994 participants from 56 countries in 2015 alone, the Red Dot Design Award for product design is the largest international competition. 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the awards. We are celebrating Ruutu!

Ruutu means diamond or square in Finnish. It is a collection of 10 vases in five sizes and seven colours. They all make a small, seamless installation, showing both the strength and delicacy of glass.

Ruutu represents a strict form, giving the impression, this would be an easy pieces to blow, but quite the contrary is the case. The hot glass mass needs to be handled very slowly, held in perfect position to make this simple design work. The edges are not even but shaped thicker and thinner at different parts of the corners, giving the whole an intricate delicacy and playfulness.

 Each vase is a masterpiece. The manufacturing process requires seven craftsmen and 24 hours to produce in Iittala’s glass factory (established 1881) in the South of Finland. And as head glass blower Tapani Viljamaa says,” It is fascinating to struggle with ‘living’ material such as hot glass. Glass does not forget if one does not treat it well. Glass has memory, all is visible.”

The large colour variety of the various pieces present another challenge in production, reaching an even, delicate colour throughout requires the exact temperature, exact timing and a great deal of expertise in glass-mass chemistry.

 The designers explain: ”The Iittala glass workers know very well how to manipulate colour. In Ruutu we where able to create a delicate, water colour like palette, all to intermingle in size and shade to form varieties of settings. Ruutu allows a game of composition where several modules create an individual assemblage.”

Ruutu was an inspiring challenge in the Iittala factory, given the many hours required to create perfect symmetry to a truly handcrafted, product. “We where seeking to express the purity of glass blowing in this simple diamond shape”, explain the Bouroullec brothers.

“Glass as a material likes round shapes, when hot it flows like honey. It does not like to be pulled into a precise geometric shape. By developing the strict shape the limit of the material is reached, only possible to do by highly skilled craftsmen.” Each vase has the designers name engraved at the bottom of the piece.

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have been working together for about 15 years, starting to work with Iittala in 2004. They have been collaborating with key players in the design industry such as Vitra, Magis, Cappellini, Alessi, Flos, Kvadrat, Mattiazzi, Hay and many more.

From designing spaces to furniture, tackling architectural projects to designing textile wall systems and comprehensive collections of table top items, the brothers maintain a high level of experimental activity in their approach to finding solutions for the task at hand. A number of exhibitions have been devoted to them such as for the London Design Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and The Centre Décoratifs in Paris.