design classic: Lederhosen of an Eskimo Woman

First produced in 1936, this glass vase was designed by Alvar Aalto inspired by the traditional costume of Sami women. Initially it was called Eskimåkvinnans Skinnbyxa but was subsequently renamed the Savoy vase after the luxury restaurant that opened in Helsinki in 1937.

The shape was created by blowing molten glass into a ring of irregularly spaced wooden sticks to create wave like and slightly sloping sides but as production increased first wooden and then later steel moulds were used. The vase was displayed at the World Trade Fair in Paris in 1937 and I believe it has been in continuous production since that year. The first vases were 140mm high but smaller versions are now produced by Iittala. Nord has one of the large vases, attracting much attention, in the window display, and a selection of smaller vases in clear, coloured and opaque white glass, sometimes called milk glass.