Norway’s Porsgrund Meets Finland’s Marimekko

I’m treading carefully here and may sound overly laconic but I’m coaxing my brain into defrost mode (doesn’t help having a broken boiler, mind you…)

Terracotta man by Lawrence Epps

Terracotta man by Lawrence Epps

Where do designs come from? The conscious and unconscious routes a designer takes are of great interest to me. Perhaps we constantly collect design inspiration throughout life, storing it in our brains until a spark unearths it? Personally I would go even further and say that design blueprints from centuries ago are stored in our DNA. I’m sure that’s why a strong and recognisable design ‘style’ can be be attributed to succinct geographic locations. If you’ve read my blog before, you will know I am drawn to Scandinavian design and the Northern colour palette.

I’ve recently been searching for some new dinnerware and while sifting through hundreds of images on line, I came across Marimekko’s siirtolapuutarha plates. I knew within a split second that I had found what I was looking for.

Marimekko plate

marimekko close up

Then, one evening last week I was enjoying an evening meal on my new plates (colourful food looks fantastic on them by the way, which is a relief as I’ve previously erred for trusty plain white dinnerware) my eyes drifted onto my all time favourite possession, a porcelain coffee set made by the Norwegian company porsgrund which my parents bought for themselves from a design shop in Edinburgh in 1962 and have since given to me. It is fine white porcelain with a shiny gold design on it. It’s delicate, slightly naive and utterly beautiful and even after many years of feasting my eyes on it, I still get butterflies in my stomach whenever I look at the set. What I hadn’t realise when I bought the Marimekko plates was that I was buying a piece of Finnish design in 2014 that looked like the ‘grandchild’ of the Norwegian Porsgrund coffee set my parents bought fifty years earlier. Do you see a passing resemblance or is it just me?

coffee cup coffee cup cream jug

Unfortunately I don’t know the Norwegian designers name (I must contact the porcelain factory to see if they have any information in their archive) and I think my Marimekko plates are designed by Maija Louekari and I doubt there is any connection (other than both being Scandinavian) between them but I think the essence is definitely there.

I am working on some new designs at the moment, something a little different from my other pieces and already I am wondering why I have come up with each particular design and indeed do I have any conscious decision in the end result at all or is it predetermined from some primal calling deep within or has it stemmed from a previous visual experience which is surfacing in the design work I do today? Who knows. However, in order to delve a bit deeper into neurological pathways and how I use them, I have enrolled on a meditation course which starts this week and my plan is to work on designs immediately after each class – I can’t wait to see what it unlocks.

Do you meditate and if so, do you feel more creative as a result?

+ I am delighted to report that since writing this post, the Norwegian porcelain factory, Porsgrund have been in touch and my beautiful coffee set is ‘Regent’ model and the design is called ‘Corona Gull’. It was designed by Tias Eckhoff who trained in Oslo and Denmark and his pioneering porcelain work for Porsgrund and flatware for Georg Jensen in the 1950′s earned him many awards and was seen as a pioneer in the Scandinavian design movement. I am absolutely delighted to have this precious information, thank you Marte at Porsgrund.+

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6 thoughts on “Norway’s Porsgrund Meets Finland’s Marimekko

  1. Fantastic to see your blog post ping into my email inbox. I think you may be onto something with the idea of a distinct cultural design DNA or mindset. That sounds very plausible. Are others discussing this idea? I guess the light and natural environment – shapes, colour, shadows and maybe even the way they decay, will also be involved (she says confidentially without any knowledge base whatsoever). I can’t wait to see for myself what thoughts and neural pathways are unlocked through your meditation course. It all sounds incredibly beneficial to both mind and spirit. And that was your Mum’s set on the sideboard in your exquisite dining room, wasn’t it? Happy to have you back in the Blogosphere x

    • Thanks Kellie and thanks for nudging me back into action!
      Yes, I agree, our natural environment will shape our designs very much, especially the light and the native vegetation which I think is great because it keeps our cultures unique.
      Yes, my Norwegian coffee set is on my dining room side board – well spotted Next time you come, I shall serve you coffee in the lovely little cups.

  2. I’m going to read this again once I’ve unscrambled my brain and once the horrid exam process is over. It’s a really interesting piece but I haven’t the energy to take it in! One thing though – the hub bought one of the larger Marimekko plates for my birthday a couple of years ago and I loved it and had it displayed in the sitting room. Should’ve known better. Bouncy balls can do SO much damage! Must replace!! ‘Speak’ soon xx

    • Hi Claire, gosh, I know exactly what you mean about exams and such.
      Isn’t it funny that we ‘met’ on blogosphere but we share so much in common. I love the fact you have the big plate too – did you know its Finnish name translates to ‘allotment’ – very suitable for you me thinks. Speak soon and thanks SO much for the woodcut christmas card. The woodpecker image is sublime x

  3. Great idea! And yes, the connections between the pieces above are clear. I spent quiet a few years living at a meditation center but at the time I was too busy working there to do artwork. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that quieting the mind, clearing it, is beneficial to the creative process, and meditation is one of the best ways to do that. I hope you enjoy the class. I think this time of year can be a good time to do that, too, as it’s more of an “inner” time – compared to spring and summer anyway.

    • Gosh, the more I get to know you the more fascinating your life sounds. It doesn’t surprise me you have worked in a meditation centre as your attitude is always very positive and you certainly ‘live in the moment’ and see things which you capture so well with your photographs.
      I very much enjoyed the class and being a bit of a ‘speed freak’, I think it’s going to be an enlightening experience. Interesting I have finished some designs I had begun a few months back but couldn’t quite get right so all good!

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