Neckpiece, 'Hopeakuu', sterling silver, designed by Tapio Wirkkala, made by Nilo Westerback, Finland, 1970
The Finnish sculptor and designer, Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) was one of the pioneers of modern Scandinavian design who gained international recognition in the years following the Second World War. He designed glass, jewellery, ceramics, cutlery and textiles and his objects are among the most distinctive examples of 'Scandinavian Modern'. A graduate of the Central School of Arts and Crafts in Helsinki, from 1946 to 1985 Wirkkala provided designs for the renowned Iittala glassworks. He collaborated with many noted designers and companies, including Raymond Loewy in New York, Venini in Italy and the German firm Rosenthal. As Art Director for the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, he organized numerous exhibitions on Finish crafts and design. Wirkkala was awarded the Lunning Prize in 1951, three Grand Prix at the Milan Triennale in 1951 and three other prizes in 1954. In 1960 and 1963 his designs were recognised by the Triennale's silver and gold medals, and eventually the Prince Eugen Medal in Stockholm in 1981. He became an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry in 1964, received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London and was a member of the Finnish Academy.
Designed in 1970, the 'Hopeakuu' neckpiece is not only strikingly modern in its appearance but is designed to act as as a small kinetic sculpture when worn; each polished silver band gently moves on its own accord, catching and reflecting the light with the wearer's slightest move. 'Hopeakuu' embodies Wirkkala's design philosophy to create simple yet innovative objects crafted in traditional materials that are more concerned with pleasure they bring to the user than with display of status.
Also see: Aav, Marianne, ed., 'Tapio Wirkkala: eye, hand and thought', exh.cat., Museum of Art and Design, Helsinki, 2000, p.192
Eva Czernis-Ryl, curator, 2008
The neckpiece was designed by Tapio Wirkkala and made by Nilo Westerback in Finland in 1970.