7.22.2011

AALTO VASE


I have cherished many of the gifts I got as a young bride, and one of them is the classic glass vase by Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto. In all my purges of household items, I've never let it go, even though I must now confess that it always defeated me. I could never figure out how to make cut flowers work in it, they would fall out or crisscross or slump. But such a pretty vase, as a piece of sculpture. So I kept it at the back of the vase shelf in my pantry. Until last week, when, in my panic of houseguest preparation (which I was pleased to learn I do not suffer from alone as misery always appreciates company) I cut my hydrangeas short.

Suddenly I understood how the vase works: It has to be the star. But like all divas, it craves a robust audience (the flowers). The arrangements have to be compact, but the flower heads have to be large and strong enough to support one another. The hydrangea looked gorgeous both front and back.

13 comments:

TeaButterfly said...

Oh! Interesting indeed!

I have inherited one from a Swedish friend, in a milk white finish and also wondered how to use it!

Thanks for sharing.

-Vic from TeaButterfly.

Anonymous said...

Looks nice, but to make the flowers last longer remove all leaves below the water line.

Anonymous said...

What about a "frog"? Then, the flowers would seem to float upward?

quintessence said...

I definitely noticed this beautiful hydrangea filled vase on your kitchen counter. It makes a stunning visual statement that enhances but doesn't dominate the vignette!! Aalto was one of my early design heros and partially responsible (along with Marimekko and Eero Saarinen) for a trek to Helsinki many years ago.

Deborah A said...

Love the Hydrangeas! I have several bushes in the usual shades of blue, and one with really unusual grape to deep maroon colored flowers. I always dry them and use them all winter.
I too have a vase that challenges me, right now its holding makeup brushes on my vanity.
You gave me new inspiration to try it again with flowers!

Lines of Beauty said...

There was a reason that you held onto it for so long- you loved it and eventually- viola!- the pieces came together. I love that about life.

profA said...

I hear you. Those squatty vases (or "containers", as my nat. flower show judge mother-in-law was fond of reminding me) can be challenging. Your Aalto is lovely. Like a crinoline on its head with all of its graceful ins and outs.

So, I looked up "vases" and "containers" just now and it would seem that "vases" are glass and "containers" are everything else. I wonder if KDH would have been convinced.

And how would a trifle for two/four look in your lovely Aalto, or an ice-cream delight?

Stay cool, all~
Linda B.

GIN said...

Love the pictures, I am going antiqueing in search of such a vase!

kstrasen@placetextiles.com said...

Another wonderful way to let this vase sing in the spring - buy a big lovely bunch of tulips - wash all the sand out of the leaf crevices and "lay" the tulips in the vase so the flowers are resting on one edge and the beautiful green stems are against the side at the bottom. As the tulips open, the asymmetry of the vase and the flowers is great -

Dominique said...

What a fantastic idea about the tulips...will remember that one next spring. The Aalto vase is still available online from various sources....that milky white finish sounds lovely...

I change the water and rinse off leaves daily, with a glass vase, but you are absolutely right: in general, best to cut off leaves below waterline...

Manolo blahnik said...

These are wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

Sherry said...

The mention of tulips reminds me of the day I bought a pale green, glass ice bucket in a second hand store. I stopped at the florist's on the way home; said I needed some tulips. She says 'how many' and I hold my hands in a small circle a foot across. She says 'what color' and I point to my summery dress. I filled it tight enough, so they didn't fall over and enjoyed them very much. I think too often we forget that just enjoying an abundance of something, is such a pleasure. We need to treat ourselves with these treasures for the eyes.

TeaButterfly said...

hello Dominique,

I have an "Art of Collecting - vases" set on flickr, and your post reminded me I didn't take a pic of my white Aalti vase, yet. So here it is:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/teabutterfly/5977095165/in/set-72157615809428460/

Enjoy!

... and now to more burning issues like praying for rain in Texas, oh my!

-Vic from TeaButterfly.