Known and unknown Finnish design in Hollywood movies

The Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the last crusade

Grail Jones 2

The grail used in the movie was created by Saul Nordqvist (1911- 2003) and Holger Granbäck (1927-1985) who made ceramic objects together for 38 years at the Savitorppa studio in Nurmijärvi. The production in the studio was relatively small scale and the first years were rocky. The simple gold plated Grail was selected for the movie and it is widely available as a reproduction these days.

The Leia necklace from Star Wars

Leia necklace

Björn Weckström designed the iconic piece of jewelery that princess Leia wore in Star Wars IV, a New Hope. It is still available in stores, though in a smaller size by Lapponia. It is said that the jewelery was specially ordered by George Lucas for the films and that Björn Weckström was initially not aware of what kind of film they were for. However, because of lack of time, Lucas had to choose a pre-existing piece. The original necklace is called ‘The Planetary Valleys’ and only a few were made.

The Ball chair in Tommy

Ball chair beans tommy

Ann-Margret trashes the Eero Aarnio classic in the film based on the rock opera by The Who from 1975. By the end it is so covered in beans that it was probably not solvable after the camera stopped rolling. The iconic chair can also be seen in films such as Austin Powers, Zoolander and Men in Black.

The Nokia 8110 in The Matrix

nokia 8110 matrix

The Nokia slide cover phone 8110 perfectly fit the high tech gritty neopunk atmosphere in the late 90’s film and I can imagine it boosted sales. It came over time to be called the ‘banana phone’ attributed to its somewhat bent shape. Wish I’d saved mine.

Various Marimekko fabrics in Sex And The City

marimekko curtain

Carrie’s apartment has been furnished with Marimekko over the years in the series and so too in the movie. A perhaps obvious observation on my part – I’ll try to find some more unknown designs in the following posts.

A bottle of Finlandia vodka in Deep Blue Sea

Deep blue sea finlandia

Ok, I’ll admit I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here but it’s still good. The bottle was designed by Tapio Wirkkala in the early 70’s and it was redesigned by Harri Koskinen a couple of years ago. The director Renny Harlin isn’t too subtle in putting in nods to Finnish culture.

A Pony chair in Ace up my sleeve

Ace up my sleeve

Karen Black rides a Eero Aarnio Pony chair (1973) in the film drama comedy film Ace up my sleeve. There are some other design objects in the scene as well but none of them Finnish.

Pentti Hakala Pikku-Lily chairs in Sleeping with the enemy.

Pentti Hakala - Pikku-Lily

They’re the ones down in the left corner. They’re very much 1980s chairs and there aren’t that many of them. It’s estimated that less than 500 were ever produced due to the recession in the 1990s.

Dress by Vuokko Nurmesniemi in Höstsonaten

Höstsonaten Vuokko Nurmesniemi

Ingrid Bergman wears a dark red dress by Vuokko Nurmesniemi in Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata to emphasize her dominance over her daughter.

Saturnus chairs by Yrjö Kukkapuro in Beyond the sea

Kukkapuro Saturnus chairs in Beyond the sea

The furniture manufacturer Haimi didn’t export much to the US to my knowledge so seeing these fairly rare Saturnus chairs and sofa pop up in this movie surprised me. The Bobby Darren biopic is directed by Kevin Spacey and it’s filled with lots of other designs around the set – worth checking out just for that. Thanks to Antti J. Kallio for the tip (who also happens to be designer Eero Aarnio’s manager).

A Moomin mug featuring Little My in A Most Wanted Man

Moomin mug in A most wanted man

Out of all the mugs they could have chosen, the went with this one..? The set designer is obviously a Moomin fan. Or maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman was a collector.

Eero Saarinen Tulips in Star Trek

Star-Trek-Tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen

I’m slightly pushing it here since Eero did not spend much time in Finland and the chairs are produced by Knoll. But his roots are most definitely from Finland and his father the world renowned architect Eliel Saarinen. Well actually to be completely honest – these are copies of the Tulip chair, made by Burke in Texas.

Eero Aarnio Pastilli chair in The Toy

The Toy film with Eero Aarnio Pastilli chair

The Pastilli became well known in the late 60s / early 70s together with the more famous Ball chair, in which the Pastilli was designed to fit in order to save space when transported.

A showel by Fiskars in The Martian

Fiskars showel in The Martian

When you’re stuck in the merciless sandy dunes of Mars, what better tool to dig yourself out with than a Fiskars showel. Good durable Finnish quality. I’m imagining that they had a couple of Fiskars scissors with them at the station as well.

The Netsurfer chair by Snowcrash in The End Of Violence

The Netsurfer ergonomic chair was designer by Ilkka Terho for Snowcrash in 1995 and it appeared two years later in Wim Wenders film with Bill Pullman sitting in one in one of the opening scenes.

I distinctly remember some lamps by Paavo Tynell in an old Hitchcock flick and the Yrjö Kukkapuro Karuselli chair in a science fiction movie. I’ll find them.

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