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A hand rests on a bright red sheet of Unikko fabric from Marimekko.

Marimekko: Get to know the brand that brings us timeless prints and endless joy!

In the world of design, few brands have bridged the gap between fashion and interior design quite like Marimekko. Renowned for its bold prints, vibrant colours, and timeless designs, Marimekko has carved out a unique place in the design world. At the heart of this iconic brand lies the creative genius of individuals like Maija Isola, whose contributions have left a clear mark on Marimekko's legacy.
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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The Urna vase in green from Marimekko stands on a cupboard with the mini vase in orange.
Urna vase 21 cm
green
$227.95$254

BRINGING JOY TO THE PEOPLE

Hailing from the Finnish capital Helsinki, Marimekko has been famed for their bold patterns and wayward spirit from the very beginning.  Founded in 1951 by the visionary and free-spirited Armi Ratia who had a dream of bringing joy and colour back to a grey, post war Finland, she set about commissioning young artists to create bold new patterns for her husband’s textile printing business. Marimekko's colourful, bohemian designs have now been mesmerising the world for more than 70 years coupled with a philosophy that, according to Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, the Design Director of Home & Print Design at Marimekko, emphasises timelessness and functionality, as well as perseverance and joy.

Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko signs her name at the bottom of a painting.

Armi Ratia - The founder of Marimekko

We want to create products that will stand the test of time, both in terms of aesthetics and longevity.

An image of a Unikko parasol from above with woman laying in the sunshine underneath.

Taken by legendary photographer Tony Vaccaro, in 1964 for LIFE magazine. This photoshoot, took place in Helsinki and Porvoo, and is now part of one of the most iconic sets of Marimekko photography.

COLLABORATION & CREATIVITY

Characterised by collaboration, creativity, and innovation Marimekko prides itself on a highly unique design process. With its textile printing factory situated alongside its design and product development teams, Marimekko fosters close collaboration between designers and skilled printmakers. "Marimekko’s own textile printing factory is located in the same building where our design and product development teams sit," says Minna. This unique setup allows for seamless integration of artistic vision and technical expertise, resulting in captivating prints and timeless designs. Marimekko's design team draws inspiration from diverse sources, from Finnish nature to global influences. This meticulous and detailed design process is what brings Marimekko’s distinctive designs to life, ensuring that each piece reflects the brand's unwavering commitment to quality and enduring design.

Streams of Marimekko fabric hang from the windows of an apartment block in Finland.
Maija Isola sits on the floor painting the famous Unikko pattern.

Maija Isola is the designer responsible for one of Marimekko's most recognisable prints - Unikko.

SHAPING MARIMEKKO’S IDENTITY

This commitment to enduring design is evident in every Marimekko creation, but perhaps none more so than the iconic prints conceived by Maija Isola. A visionary artist, Maija has played a pivotal role in shaping Marimekko's identity. Her bold and colourful designs, inspired by her travels across Europe, North Africa, and America, brought a sense of playfulness and vitality to the brand's collections. Isola's most famous creation, the Unikko pattern, holds a special place in Marimekko's history. Speaking about the background of Unikko, Minna recounts, "Unikko was born from the creative mind of Maija Isola in 1964. Armi Ratia, believed that the true essence of real flowers couldn't be faithfully captured in print, which is why floral prints (had been) excluded from Marimekko collections." Isola's response was a departure from convention—a collection of graphic, pop-art-inspired floral fabrics, among them, Unikko, which has since become one of Marimekko's most iconic designs.

A breakfast table set with the Marimekko Unikko plates and teapot and a stack of pancakes with syrup.

60 YEARS OF UNIKKO

In 2024 Unikko celebrated its 60th anniversary, a testament to the enduring popularity of this joyful pattern as well as its timeless appeal. To commemorate this milestone, Marimekko has launched a series of special collections, ensuring that Unikko continues to inspire and captivate audiences for generations to come.

Unikko is a powerful emblem of joy and creativity and one of our most beloved prints around the world.

THE ESSENCE OF MARIMEKKO

Ultimately, the essence of Marimekko lies in the emotions it evokes. Minna tells us, "We hope that each Marimekko design will bring joy to its owner's everyday life, passing down its legacy to future generations." It is this enduring legacy of creativity, innovation, and joy that continues to distinguish Marimekko as a true icon of design excellence. From Maija Isola's visionary prints to the brand's forward-thinking initiatives, Marimekko remains a beacon of inspiration in the world of fashion and design.

 

Photography: Elof Martinsson, Marimekko 

Rebecca Sparling
Author

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