TAPIO WIRKKALA at the Design Exchange (234 Bay) to September 30. 416-216-2160. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
holy retro! it's a scandinavianModern wet dream. If you've ever even wanted to shop for fabulous 50s housewares in Leslieville or on Queen West, do not miss Eye, Hand & Thought, the touring showcase of works by mid-20th-century design icon Tapio Wirkkala.
It feels like walking into a photo shoot for Wallpaper.
The distinctive, ice-inspired Finlandia vodka bottle ranks as Wirkkala's best-known creation, but many of the other eerily familiar objects that come to the Design Exchange from Finland's Museum of Art and Design and the Finnish Glass Museum are almost as ubiquitous.
The chunky, air-bubble-stemmed 1954 Tapio glasses that are still in production at Iittala glassworks, the stark white (and black) tableware and decorative vases created for Rosenthal china, the 1958 Nikke bent plywood stacking chair, even the 1963 ovoid plastic salad servers, seem familiar.
Despite the incomparable elegance of Wirkkala's designs, he remained true to his artisanal roots until his death in 1985, and was legendary for blowing off a meeting with royalty when it meant cutting short a retreat to his rustic Lapland home.
Wirkkala's aesthetic is so much in style right now that this show feels utterly essential.