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Tapio Wirkkala is renowned as one the pioneers of Finnish Modernist design. The title of this pendant - Hopeakuu - reflects Wirkkala’s love of nature.

The repeated sphere has a kinetic element allowing the rings to move independently of each other. A key element of Wirkkala’s design ethos was the use of geometric shapes.

Hopeakuu (Silver Moon) pendant, designed by Tappio Wirkkala, manufactured by Nils Westerback, Helsinki, for Kultakeskus Oy, Finland, c 1970

Hopeakuu by Tappio Wirkkala fact file

Date

c 1970

Designed by

Tappio Wirkkala

Made from

Silver

Made in

Helsinki, Finland

Museum reference

K.2016.102

Who is Tappio Wirkkala?

The work of Finnish designer and sculptor, Tapio Wirkkala (1915-85) embraced traditional materials and techniques. Inspired by the Finnish landscape, his earlier jewellery pieces are taken from nature or feature mythical characters. Later pieces are characterized by delicate metal forms and geometric patterns, similar to his sculpture and industrial designs. Wirkkala was a prolific designer who worked across various mediums.

Silver and wood, designed by designed by Tapio Wirkkala and manufactured by Hopeakeskus, assayed at Hameenlinna, Finland, 1965

Further pieces by Tappio Wirkkala 
in our collection 

Pinus vase

Vase of clear colourless moulded glass designed by Tapio Wirkkala in 1972, manufactured by Iittala Glassworks, Hameenlinna, Finland, 1979

This Pinus vase was manufactured by Iittala. Wirkkala was associated with Iittala for over 40 years, creating more than 400 designs for the company. 

Arcadia vase

Vase with vertical ridges, of thick clear glass, called Arcadia, designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala, Finland

Murano vase 

Vase of clear glass with translucent decoration, designed by Tappio Wirkkala in 1980, manufactured by Venini, Murano, Venice, Italy, 1982. 

Collaborating with Murano glassmakers Venini, Wirkkala experimented with techniques such as vetro filigrana, incalmo, murrines and metallic inclusions to colour glass. 

Tea for Two teapot

Teapot and lid, of black matt ceramic, called Tea for Two, designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal, Germany

Influences from the north

At the end of the Second World War, Design Councils across Scandinavia and Finland initiated measures to renew trade, nurture young talent and position their designers in all areas of decorative art, craft and design.

Finland has had a strong national design identity from the 1930s. Finnish jewellers integrated folk heritage with natural form. From the early 1960s Finnish manufacturers such as Lapponia, celebrated the uniqueness and texture of Lapland gold, and came to international attention.

Presented by the Art Fund. 

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Header image: Detail of Hopeakuu (Silver Moon) pendant, designed by Tappio Wirkkala, manufactured by Nils Westerback, Helsinki, for Kultakeskus Oy, Finland, c 1970

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