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Savoy Vase
Iconic Designs

Savoy Vase

About the Design

When Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) designed the curvilinear Savoy vase in 1936 for the eponymous luxurious restaurant in Helsinki set to open the following year, he created one of the most well-known glass objects of the 20th century. 


The Savoy vase — commonly referred to as the “Aalto vase” — won first prize at 1936’s Karhula-Iittala Glass Design Competition, held to determine which works would be included in the Finnish Pavilion at the 1937 Paris World Expo. This very first vase was taller than the subsequently produced models and was executed in a wooden mold that was burned away during production.


Aalto’s inspiration behind the vase remains unclear, although it has been speculated that the design is based on waves or the Finnish landscape. The abstract biomorphic shape of the vase was designed to spread out any flowers placed inside and to support the stems in the folds of the glass facing in different directions rather than keep them bunched together in a central opening. The vase, which was included in the interior design commission for the Savoy (shared with his designer wife, Aino) that included the couple’s celebrated Golden Bell pendant light, was not the only revolutionary design Aalto created during his lifetime. He was a pioneer of Scandinavian modernist design as well as Finland’s most important architect of the 20th century. Aalto created or cocreated with Aino some of the most revered buildings in the Northern Hemisphere, such as the Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium (1928–33) in Paimio, Finland, and the Villa Mairea (1939) in Noormarkku, Finland.


The Savoy vase never made any money for Aalto because it belonged to the Finnish glassworks factory that sponsored the 1936 competition. The factory’s modern iteration, Iittala, still produces the piece today. Each Savoy vase is mouth-blown and can be found in various sizes and colors.

Alvar Aalto Savoy Vase

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Vase, Model 3031 “Savoy” Designed by Alvar Aalto for Iittala, Finland, 1950s
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Stockholm, SE
Opal glass that was blown into a wooden mould.
Category

Vintage 1950s European Mid-Century Modern Vases

Materials

Opaline Glass

Alvar Aalto Biomorphic Savoy Vase Early Etched Signature
By Alvar Aalto
Located in Ferndale, MI
Original design by Alvar and Aino Aalto for 1937 glass show. Leaded glass in biomorphic form. Etched signature denotes earlier production pieces over acid etch mark. Very nice clean ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vases

Materials

Glass

Alvar Aalto Glass Savoy Vase
By Alvar Aalto, Iittala
Located in Esbjerg, DK
1950s, Mid-Century Modern, blown glass 'Savoy' vase designed by Alvar Aalto with acid etched mark on bottom.   
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vases

Materials

Glass

Alvar Aalto Glass Savoy Vase and Bowls
By Alvar Aalto, Iittala
Located in Esbjerg, DK
1950s, Mid-Century Modern, blown glass 'Savoy' vase and bowls designed by Alvar, signed/marked. Measures: H. 10/4/3, W. 11/13.5/10, D. 10/11/9.
Category

Vintage 1950s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vases

Materials

Glass

Vintage hand signed 3030 Iittala Alvar Aalto Savoy Vase
By Iittala, Alvar Aalto
Located in Krefeld, DE
Hand signed Alvar Aalto vase 3030 Savoy for Iittala made in Finland. Nice vintage condition with some scratches at the base and one small chip at the rim. Price for one Savoy.
Category

Vintage 1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vases

Materials

Glass