デザイナー不明のアラビア Anonymity in Arabia



Anonymous cups. Both pattern and shape are officially namelessShape EC but pattern officially namelessそれよりも重要なこととして、たくさんの”作者不明”のデザイン、製品が存在するのはアラビアの”Anonymity” ーデザイナーの名前を出さない事ーにあります。このアイデアはアラビアのリーダーであったカイ・フランクによって作られました。彼はとてもモダニストとして有名で、マス・プロダクション、もしくは日常に使われるテーブルウェアーにとってデザイナーの名前を明記する事は必ずしも必要でないと考えていました。





Kaj Franck

Kaj Franck

Many vintage Arabia collectors, including myself, are often frustrated in trying to find out a name for a pattern, the production year(s) and the designer(s) for a certain product. You have this beautiful retro plate or cup, and no matter how you try to research, it is impossible to find out more about it. How frustrating it can be!

After taking a closer look at this problem, I found a few explanations. First of all, in the history of Arabia, the company was not good at keeping consistent records of all details of its products. Researchers that take a look into Arabia`s history today, have found countless different product catalogues and records throughout times that are often incomplete. So the inconsistent record keeping at Arabia is a significant reason, as is the sheer number of products. Throughout history, Arabia has produced thousands of different shapes and patterns, and to document everything correctly in computer-less times was a massive (if not impossible) task.

But even more importantly, many of the unnamed products are simply due to Arabia`s company policy of “anonymity”, which was introduced by Arabia`s influential leader, Kaj Franck. Kaj Franck was a true pioneer of social design – he was known as a very modest man and he thought that especially in utility tableware design, it was not important to emphasize the designer name. Kaj Franck said: “Mass-production is nameless. Its planning process is teamwork that combines prototypes made by many artists…the shape of mass-produced items should not be something that you get bored with. The shape should be so simple that it lasts for years and decades, and so invisible that the user does not start wondering who the designer is. Factory-mark is enough for utility items”. The consequence was that many Arabia patterns are in fact originally nameless, no matter how pretty they are. Kaj Franck was really against the emerging trend of designers becoming celebrities.

Kaj Franck`s philosophy of “anonymity in design” is a deeply rooted principle in the Finnish design history. It was in fact Kaj Franck’s principles of simplicity and modesty – and anonymity – that has made Finnish design what it is today.

Sources: Avotakka (June, 2011). Deko (June, 2011)
Nuutajarvi – 200 years of Finnish glass.
Koivisto, Kaisa: Lasitutkimuksia – Glass Research (2001).