Since 2003 the artistic legacy of Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) and Rut Bryk (1916-1999) has been entrusted to the Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk Foundation. The collection had its beginning in the foundation set up by the artist couple’s heirs, Sami and Maaria Wirkkala, after the death of their mother in 2003. The pieces in the collection come largely from their parents’ personal collection.
Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation
In 1946 Tapio Wirkkala won the Iittala Glassworks design competition with his art glass series and was immediately hired by the factory. Wirkkala is known for the diversity of his artistic production; he was a designer, exhibition architect and graphic designer who worked with glass, wood, porcelain, metal and plastic. In the mid-1960s he also designed glass for the Venini works in Italy and porcelain for Rosenthal in Germany. In Finland he designed utility objects for Ahlström , Airam and Kultakeskus.
Rut Bryk trained as a graphic artist and became a pioneer in renewing ceramic art in Finland. She specialised in producing ceramic tiles in which the drawing imprint of her early years developed into a versatile mastery of colour surfaces. In the1960s she began to work on large wall surfaces composed of small three-dimensional ceramic tiles. Gradually these works became increasingly architectonic with colours merging into white. In addition to ceramics Bryk also produced fabric models and designed motifs for dishes designed by Tapio Wirkkala.
The collection comprises more than two thousand pieces created by Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk and includes protypes ranging from glass tumblers to industrial machines. The collection placed on deposit with EMMA is, in global terms, a rare and significant collection of the design legacy of an artist-designer couple. The Wirkkala Cabinet, permanently located in the WG building lobby, houses a cross-section of the collection.