Birds by Matti Klenell

Matti Klenell is the newest glass designer for finnish glass company Iittala.

Klenell has designed two bird families for Iittala: the Harakka (Magpie) family and the Korpi (Deep Forest) family, both with two generations of members. Both families have five members – Mommy, Daddy, Brother, Little Sister, and Baby – each with their own distinctive character and their own story to tell. 

His Birds by Klenell collection is a celebration of glass technique and colour. The black-and-white Harakka family combines black, white, and clear glass, and depends on a range of moulds and traditional tools to make them possible. The Korpi family, in contrast, is very colourful, combining pink heads or beaks and dark blue bottom sections, or green, black, red, and white, with colour drawn on the surface in bands or blown into the body of the glass. In the process, he has given his glass birds a practical use alongside their aesthetic one – drawing on the varied skills of the glassblowers and craftsmen at Iittala’s Nuutajärvi glassworks. 

Klenell’s birds comprise two or three parts, which adds to their sculptural qualities. They also include a functional feature that is unique in the Iittala Birds collection, as the hollow bottom sections of his birds can be used as handy little containers to keep treasures, such as jewellery, notes, and memories, just like the magpie.

Glass is a familiar material to Klenell and one in which he excels, as his exhibition of unique glass pieces in Stockholm in 2008 showed. Working with the craftsmen at Nuutajärvi gave Klenell the opportunity to continue his exploration of what glass can offer. 

Read more: Matti Klenell

Read more: Iittala

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