click > enlarge
Anu Penttinen, a glassblower and designer, isn’t trying to “change the world,” she just wants to make”well-made designs that hopefully make a difference in someone’s day.” The dailiness of design is something I keep hearing designers speak to, whether it’s a better contact lens case or a beautiful hand blown glass dish for your keys, the small things we handle multiple times throughout the day have the biggest impact on our lives.
Penttinen has been working with glass ever since she converted to it from ceramics while she was a student at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. In 2003 she started her own company, Nounou Design, which she now runs completely by herself – not just all the paperwork, but every item Penttinen puts her name on is blown or formed herself. With her dedication to craft it’s no wonder she’s continually commissioned by Iittala, which began as a glass factory in Iittala, Finland in 1881. You probably know them for their gorgeous tableware, but Penttinen’s latest edition for the brand is the Vitriini Box (available in large and small, wood and glass combinations, from $40-$115 – and no, I didn’t get a freebie for writing this!)
In luscious hues of peach, amber, violet, yellow, blue, green clear, taupe and smoky gray, the boxes look more like precious gems. Penttinen says she doesn’t “believe in gimmicks or designing stuff for the sake of stuff. I love eccentric designs that are very well designed, of high quality but containing an element of surprise, unexpected color combinations or a twist of some kind.” Even if that twist is as simple as swapping a glass base for a beautiful piece of wood, I think she easily fulfills her own credo. Some of her pieces are more intricate, with patchwork, nature inspired motifs, but it’s her simple, back-to-the-basics handblown style I love best. And my dailiness would be markedly improved if I tossed my keys into one of her purple glass cases at the end of a long day instead of hanging them on a nail by the door.