Museo del Vetro

Glass Museum



MUVE Contemporaneo


7 May – 29 September 2019
Murano, Glass Museum

Curated by
Harri Koskinen, Marco Romanelli and Chiara Squarcina

In collaboration with 
Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation and EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art


Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) was one of the great names of the golden era of design in Finland. He was a master of many materials and mediums as a sculptor and as an industrial and graphic designer. The scale of his work varies from stamps to monuments and from jewellery to furniture. He used a wealth of materials from silver to plastic, plywood to porcelain. His talent for transforming natural elements as well as his conceptual vision for design masterpieces made his work known worldwide.

Wirkkala is considered a design icon in the Nordic region but he is also well known in Italy. This year, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia – Museo del Vetro presents an exhibition focusing on the material that was central to Tapio Wirkkala’s career from the beginning: glass. The exhibition also covers some of his iconic designs that use other materials.
The exhibition is curated by Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and Italian architect Marco Romanelli. They have created a dialogue that exchanges perspectives between Finland and Italy.

Tapio Wirkkala collaborated with Iittala glassworks over four decades. His work with Iittala ranged from straightforward and geometrical yet refined everyday glass sets to unique art glass made with diverse artisanal techniques. He also designed a wide array of industrial glass objects, such as light bulbs and glass containers. Many of his creations are still manufactured and available today.

In Murano, Wirkkala collaborated with Venini from the 1960s onwards. The traditional techniques and strong colours typical to Murano inspired him to create another series of absolute masterpieces that are still well known. Tapio Wirkkala’s designs have been exhibited many times both in Finland and internationally. He received a multitude of awards during his career, including several Grand Prix in Milan Triennale. Tapio Wirkkala´s designs are found in the collections of several major international design museums.


Image: Tapio Wirkkala, Bolle, Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation Collection / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art. Photo Matti Silvennoinen / Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation Archive