Separating his time between an abandoned farm on an island in Finland (“I don’t have running water, but I have a 3-D printer”) and Brooklyn, the Finnish artist Santtu Mustonen presents works in a variety of media ranging in appearance from fantasy to 3-D protein structure. Primarily known for his brightly colored graphic work, Mustonen is intrigued by 3-D visualization and motion. Recently a collaboration with Iittala of Finland produced a series of large 12.5" glass artworks, Kartta.
Finnish design has generally been heavily influenced by natural forms with production in natural materials. Mustonen’s Kartta breaks away from these more traditional design elements into works based on interpretation and a dream-like level of distortion using color and form. The recent glass works appear to be placing emphasis on the mental and emotional understanding of our surroundings- rather than the natural form. The traditional Finnish glass blowing technique, however, is still present.
Being Finnish, the designer has known the Iittala brand since he was born and, like the storied initial meeting between Giulio Capellini and Jasper Morrison, the collaboration with Iittala resulted as a simple unsolicited pitch. The designer wanted to do something of a more physical nature; to bring an idea from the screen to real life.
Kartta, which means ‘map’ in Finnish, was the starting point for the design concept. Computers are a shortcut to the designer- allowing not a direct answer but one heavy with imagination. The end result is that the road map concept begins to resemble a series of synapses, degraded at times but still directional. A ‘mind map,’ says Mustonen.
The colors are vibrant in blues, copper, and grey. “(Ultramarine) Blue and Copper was ideal, as they are the most intense colors that I could use at Iittala… something that evokes emotions.” As far as function goes, the glass pieces are sold as sculptures but are blown and have open tops due to the production technique.. “I want to call them sculptures but I would love to see flowers in them.” The Kartta also work well together and provide an interesting negative space between them when displayed.
The Kartta are available here.