The origin of the company can be traced back to the late 19th century when a number of Swedish glass blowers in the village of Iittala started to work together to produce everyday glassware. During the 1930s they employed a number of designers including Aalto (see under Artek) but Iittala rose to prominence in the 1950s when Timo Sarpaneva joined the company. He not only designed many of their most successful products but was also responsible for their distinctive logo with a white letter i within a red circle.
Young artists including Tapio Wirkkala, Kaj Franck and Göran Hongell were recruited to produce a wide range of glassware - from elegant wine glasses to hefty tumblers for spirits - that are all very practical but also beautifully proportioned and, crucially, are well weighted to make the various designs of drinking glasses and jugs a pleasure to use.
The Savoy Vase designed by Aalto, with its gently waved but sloped rather than vertical sides, has become an iconic item. It was later renamed the Aalto Vase and now comes in a number of sizes and a range of colours.
Iittala also produces high-quality kitchen wares including saucepans, frying pans, roasting pans and serving spoons, knives, cheese slices and other kitchen utensils in heavy, high-quality stainless steel.