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50 Y E A R S O F U N I K KO M A I J A I S O L A´S C L A S S I C P AT T E R N W A S B O R N I N 1 9 6 4 A F T E R A R M I R AT I A , M A R I M E K K O´S F O U N D E R , H A D A N N O U N C E D T H AT M A R I M E K K O W O U L D N E V E R P R I N T A F L O W E R P AT T E R N . M A I J A R E F U S E D T O O B E Y A R M I´S O R D E R S A N D – I N P R O T E S T – C R E AT E D A N E N T I R E SERIES OF GORGEOUS FLOR AL PRINTS. ONE OF THEM WAS U N I KKO (P O P P Y ) – N O W 50 Y E A R S YO U N G .

OVER TH E YE AR S, U N IKKO HAS IN S PIR ED MAN Y O F U S. I T H A S B E C O M E A S T O R Y O F C R E AT I V I T Y, S T R E N G T H , C O U R A G E A N D F A I T H I N O N E S E L F.

I N 2 0 14 , W E W I L L B E C E L E B R AT I N G U N I K K O A R O U N D T H E W O R L D – W I T H T H E J OY A N D E N E R GY B E F I T T I N G THIS ICONIC PRINT DESIGN. FOLLOW THE FESTIVITIES O N O U R U N I K K O W E B S I T E A N D S H A R E Y O U R O W N S T O R Y.

MAR IM EKKO.C O M/U N IKKO

#U N IKKO50

facebook.com/marimekkoglobal instagram.com/marimekkoglobal instagram.com/marimekkousa twitter.com/marimekkoglobal twitter.com/marimekkousa pinterest.com/marimekkoglobal youtube.com/marimekkovideo weibo.com/marimekkoofficial

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A MODERN CLASSIC

Maija Isola, the creator of Unikko, was a vi-

of her print designs. She liked the idea that her

sionar y designer who blazed her own path. She

patterns were sold by the metre and that people

travelled extensively and lived in several coun-

could do whatever they wanted with the fabric.

tries during her lifetime. As much as in her work

She hoped that people would bring their own

as in other par ts of her life, Maija shunned all

meaning and purpose to her design work. Maija

things conventional and predictable. Freedom

especially enjoyed receiving letters in which

fuelled her passion for work: it was the fire and

customers shared their joy and creativity with

inspiration behind her print designs and paint-

her. And of her many patterns, Unikko is prob-

ings. The origin of the Unikko print shows how

ably the one that has inspired people the most.

Maija held onto her ar tistic integrity and was

Magazine clippings from the 1960s show how

prepared to defy authority.

Unikko was finding its way into the lives of or-

Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko and

dinar y people. In their hands, Unikko became,

an ambitious textile designer in her own right,

among other things, original clothing, lamp-

sought to create modern patterns that would

shades and even wallpaper.

match with contemporar y homes and their new

Unikko’s immense success continued until

streamlined furniture. For Armi, modern was

the beginning of the 1980s, when interest in

synonymous with an abstract design language, a

bold patterns and colour ways began to wane.

clear and unapologetic form factor, and carefree

Unikko lay dormant until the turn of the millen-

simplification. Her vision represented a marked

nium, when it star ted to enjoy a greater role in

depar ture from the delicate and cute floral pat-

Marimekko´s collections. The revival came into

terns common in Finland during the 1950s. No

full bloom, when Marimekko’s young fashion de-

wonder Armi opposed Maija Isola’s floral print

signers star ted using classic fabric patterns in

designs in 1964.

their design work. The first ready-to-wear Unikko clothing was designed during this period.

Yet Unikko showed that a flower could also be modern. It embodied the spirit of the 1960s

In 2000, the newly launched Unikko cloth-

flower power revolution, and had plenty of pro-

ing collection heralded the beginning of a

vocative self-expression. People were attracted

global Unikko boom – to which there seems

to Unikko’s bold colours and unusual dimen-

to be no end. The classic print has also blos-

sions. And its full-bodied form had the same

somed in countless ever yday products: Nordic

sense of humour and exaggeration as Pop Ar t

walking poles, rubber boots, televisions, mobile

– the dominant ar t movement of the era.

phones, and computer mouses. Unikko’s growing presence in public spaces, homes and street

Unikko was greeted with a warm welcome when it was launched in 1964. With the excep-

fashion has ushered in a new era of success for

tion of a few ready-made products, it was sold

­M arimekko.

as a fabric by the metre. Finnish furniture manu-

Today Unikko has established itself as one

facturers used Unikko in baby cribs, laminated

of Marimekko’s most beloved classics – not only

ply wood sofa tables and oilcloth-upholstered

in Finland but also around the world. This child

sofas.

of the 1960s has grown into an admired adult, whose future is full of life and colourful joy.

Maija Isola was open-minded about the use 4

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ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION

50TH ANNIVERSARY UNIKKO

O IVA /U N IKKO

sateen fabric

tableware

6

7


We photographed Unikko’s anniversar y collection in Kiasma, Museum of Contemporar y Ar t in Helsinki.

50TH ANNIVERSARY UNIKKO fabrics 8

9


UNIKKO cushion covers and fabrics 10

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O IVA /U N IKKO mugs

50TH ANNIVERSARY UNIKKO sateen fabric 12

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50TH ANNIVERSARY UNIKKO fabrics 14

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The first Unikkos were printed in red, blue and black. These classic colour ways rode with the first wave of 1960s pop culture, when Andy Warhol’s works inspired by adver tising and celebrity culture, not to mention the swinging fashion designers from London and the Beatles, gave form to a new visual dynamic. Pop culture also led to a revolution in colour use: conser vative, broken colour schemes gave way to a clear, bold palette and large colour surfaces.

U N I K KO : A LIFE IN COLOURS

C O L O U R 0 01 / 19 6 4

C O L O U R 0 0 2 / 19 6 4

U N I K KO H AS AS S U M E D A K A LE I D O S C O P I C R A N G E OF LOOKS AND GUISES IN THE L AST 50 YE ARS. S O M E T I M E S I T H A S B E E N F L A M B O YA N T A N D P L AY F U L ; O T H E R T I M E S C A L M , G E N T L E A N D FESTIVE. AND EACH OF THESE MOODS HAS BEEN ACHIEVED WITH COLOUR.

In fact, Unikko has blossomed in more than eighty unique colour ways over the years, each conveying the mood and spirit of its own time. Maija Isola, for her colour ways, looked to weather, contemporar y cinema, ar t, music and even news stories for inspiration. Wherever she travelled, Maija carried along her notebook, writing and drawing about interesting colour patterns. Many of her notebooks are teeming with observations about weather conditions and natural shades of colour.

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C O L O U R 0 3 0 / 19 6 4


Unikko was a wonderful way for Maija to explore the impact of colour on a print design. Unikko would look different, depending on whether the selected colours accentuated the petals or disk of the floral design.

In the 1970s, the global oil crisis and economic recession changed the face of interior design: people pined for the good old days and a return to nature. Traditional handicrafts and ear th tones brought desired warmth and cosiness. The muted green and brown Unikkos from that period went hand in hand with the all-brown dĂŠcors of the 1970s.

C O L O U R 0 0 9 / 1974

C O L O U R 76 / 1974

C O L O U R 1 2 / 19 6 6

C O L O U R 31 / 19 6 8

C O L O U R 97 / 1974

C O L O U R 0 0 3 / 19 6 8


In the 2000s, Unikko mirrored bigger patterns of culture change as lifestyles became increasingly fragmented and varied. There were more Unikko colour ways than ever before, and the original print design experienced a radical makeover with the introduction of new colours. In 2002, Unikko was printed on a colour background for the first time. The same year, Unikko was launched in pink and light blue, which matched perfectly with Maija Isola’s passion for pastels. The first white Unikkos were printed in 2009.

Today Emma Isola, Maija’s granddaughter, is responsible for creating new Unikko colour ways. Her source of inspiration is Finnish nature and its seemingly endless range of colours. For example, her Unikko colour way no. 560, first seen in the 2011 spring collection, captures the colourful change of season as winter turns to spring in Finland. You can see the colours of the first flowers of spring – anemones and coltsfoots – glowing against a sky-blue background. At the same time, her Unikko colour way no. 580 faithfully reproduces the many shades of green you might find in a Finnish pine forest.

C O L O U R 3 01 / 2 0 0 2

C O LO U R 556 / 20 05 C O L O U R 5 6 0 / 2 011

C O L O U R 5 8 0 / 2 01 2

C O L O U R 910 / 2 0 0 9 C O LO U R 630 / 20 06


U N I K KO IN STORIES

wealthier society and a more just future. If any-

M Y FAVO U R I T E T H I N G S

thing, Unikko gave pattern to the turning points A timeworn toy, an heirloom piece of silver

in young people’s lives. If you were in your

jeweller y, the cretonne dress you find at the

twenties in the 1960s, Unikko not only symbol-

back of the closet. Some things – by design or

ized the rite of leaving home but also the sense

luck – give bir th to powerful emotional bonds,

of ecstasy that came with this new-found free-

evoking lasting memories of beloved people and

dom. Many would spend the last of their money

cherished moments. What kinds of memories

on Unikko fabric and use it as a cur tain or table­

does Unikko awaken?

cloth. Unikko would add a spark of inspiration

Since 1964, Unikko has delighted and thrilled

to an other wise drab student accommodation

people around the world, regardless of culture

or a welcome touch of colour to a young cou-

or passing trends. Finns in par ticular have al-

ple’s first home. Unikko allowed people to be-

ways had a special rappor t with Unikko – one

gin building their own identities with colour and

steeped in histor y and shared moments.

character.

Today the best place to shed light on our

With ever y new address or home, Unikko

continuing relationship with Unikko is the Ma-

would also follow in tow. It has been witness to

rimekko archive, where you can find countless

the many patterns of family life. Whenever there

customer stories about the iconic print design.

was a wedding, graduation or christening, Finns

These stories convey personal experiences and

would proudly don Unikko dresses, gowns and

open a window to a cer tain era and culture. Most

hats in celebration.

impor tantly, they show how objects can leave

With the passing of years, the family’s origi-

imprints in our lives. Through these objects, in-

nal Unikko print fabric, faded by sunlight or

dividual experiences enter the realm of the col-

worn threadbare, would be reborn as a pillow-

lective, joining us together in unexpected ways.

case, pot holder, patchwork quilt or rag rug. U N IKKO U N ITES

IN THE TURNING POINTS OF LIFE

22

Some of the earliest stories of Unikko paint

For a long time, Finns, when travelling

a picture of a dynamic generation living in the

abroad, could spot another Finn by a Unikko

social and political turmoil of the 1960s. No

dress or bag, largely because the iconic pat-

wonder young Finns quickly embraced the rad­

tern was not yet well known outside Finland.

ical print design as they set out to build a new,

Today Unikko is a global phenomenon, and its 23


popularity has travelled far beyond Finland. You

par ty, because it was impossible to overlook her

can bump into Unikko in the vibrant streets of

flamboyantly colourful dress. Sometimes Unikko

New York or Tokyo. You can even spot it in the

was the first step to a lifelong relationship.

Australian outback. Unikko is a powerful mes-

In the 2000s, Unikko experienced a second

sage, and if Marimekko is close to your hear t,

coming and attention was drawn to the role of

the classic print represents something of a trib-

family and togetherness in the Unikko stories.

al emblem or symbol. When two Unikko people

At family reunions and get-togethers, Unikko

meet unexpectedly, it’s the perfect moment for

dresses would be worn like a football team’s jer-

a friendly chat or the beginning of a new friend-

sey.

ship. GO OD BYE TO HOMESICKN ESS

In fact, it was just a few decades ago that many Finns sewed their own clothes from Unikko fabric, including maxi and miniskir ts, suits

Like r ye bread or salmiakki, traditional Finn-

and bell-bottoms. These home-made garments

ish salty liquorice, Unikko has always helped

made more than a fashion statement. They com-

Finns overcome moments of homesickness.

municated originality and a free-spirited take on

Whether studying abroad or working on assign-

life. A Unikko girl would soon meet someone at a

ment in a foreign countr y, Finns have packed 24

25


their suitcases full of Unikko. It was a par t of

from mothers and grandmothers. Frayed edges,

Finland – something that made the unfamiliar

faded colours and small stains ser ve to highlight

feel like home.

the many emotions behind these heirloom fabrics. Perhaps they can even bring young people

F R O M O N E G E N E R AT I O N

closer to an admired lifestyle or their family’s

TO THE NE X T

own stor y. For them, Unikko can be a visible reminder of their roots and a lasting statement of who they are.

If the 1960s generation look upon Unikko with nostalgia, young people today see the

So whether we see Unikko as an heirloom

iconic pattern as an exotic window to an era that

fabric or an exotic novelty, this beloved pattern

appeals to them for its honesty and authentici -

will continue to blossom in homes around the

ty. The retro-generations of the new millennium

world and inspire lifelong memories.

appreciate the colourful fabrics passed down 26

27


J O U R N E YS WITH U N I K KO IN TH E L AST 50 Y E AR S , U N IKKO HAS T R AV EL L ED TO T H E FA R R E AC H ES O F T H E W O R L D. S O M E T I M E S A S A N E X P E C T E D G U E S T. SOMETIMES AS A WELCOME SURPRISE. OF TEN IT HAS SHOWN UP FOR A FLEETING MOMENT OR T H E N D E C I D E D T O S TAY F O R A L I F E T I M E . Y E T O N E T H I N G I S C E R TA I N : W H E R E V E R I T G O E S , U N I K K O W I L L A L W AY S B E N O T I C E D .

FLOWERS IN MOTION Miles or kilometres? Thousands of commuters in Taiwan, Manhattan and Hong Kong have travelled in busses and metros decorated with Unikko. Elsewhere, too, Unikko has welcomed city travellers. 28

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BLOSSOM IN THE SK Y

CONVERSE

In 2011, a hot-air balloon with the Unikko pattern flew over Helsinki as par t of Marimekko’s 60th anniversar y celebrations. The Unikko balloon has also visited the United States.

Fun sneakers that combine Converse’s iconic footwear with Marimekko’s colourful patterns. No wonder Unikko stepped into these shoes almost right away. 31

M A R I M EKKO


F LY W I T H U N I K K O In 2012, Marimekko and Finnair took to the skies together. To symbolize the par tnership, 36 Unikko flowers were painted on a passenger jet flying between Helsinki and Finnair’s destinations in Asia. 32

33


E XHIBITION DESIGN: IMA ARCHITECTS. PHOTOS: NACĂ SA & PAR TN ERS IN C.

IN A JAPANESE SHRINE In spring 2013, Unikko and a host of other Marimekko fabrics were on display at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Japan in an exhibition entitled The Warp and Weft of Finnish Textiles. 34

35


P H OTOS: AMAN DA H ESTEHAVE

D R ES S ED I N U N I KKO In August 2013, Teemu Muurimäki’s stunning Unikko dresses were the grand finale at Marimekko’s spring fashion show during Copenhagen Fashion Week, the largest fashion event in the Nordic countries.

38

39


PEOPLE AND STORIES

KIRSTI PA A K K A N E N

I N T H E S P I R I T O F M A I J A I S O L A ’ S E X A M P L E , 2 0 14 IS A YEAR OF BOLD PERSONALITIES. PEOPLE WHO A L L O W I N S P I R AT I O N A N D C R E AT I V I T Y T O TA K E T H E M TO UNEXPECTED PL ACES. WHO GO AGAINST THE GR AIN, FOLLOW THEIR INSTINCTS – AND MAKE SOMETHING WONDERFUL HAPPEN FOR ALL OF US. P E R H A P S YO U ’ R E O N E O F T H E M? S H A R E Y O U R S T O R Y: M A R I M E K K O . C O M / U N I K K O O N T H E F O L LO W I N G PAG ES YO U ’ L L F I N D F I V E S TO R I ES O F W H Y C O U R A G E M AT T E R S .

had already broken down.

Kirsti Paakkanen became the owner and CEO of Marimekko in 1991. Prior to that, she

On the last page of my book of aphorisms my

had had a distinguished career as the founder

mother wrote some advice I have always tried to

and managing director of a successful ad-

heed: ’Each day one should work a wonder!’ It

vertising agency. Honorary doctorates were

was of par ticular impor tance during the moment

conferred on her by the University of Art and

on 28 September 1991, in the depths of the re-

Design Helsinki in 2001 and by the Helsinki

cession, when I put my signature as buyer to the

School of Economics in 2006. Kirsti Paak-

Marimekko contract. My work and life at Marimekko brought me

kanen managed Marimekko until 31 January

immense joy. I felt that I was of wor th and that

2008.

I had something to give. Day-to-day happiness is happiness supreme. Being able each day to

Having sold my adver tising agency, I ac-

work a wonder.

quired a residence in France and decided to settle there. I had hardly had occasion to ful-

Marimekko thrived because we believed in

fil an enduring dream of mine – of driving in a

the future and the power of working together.

conver tible, chiffons and hair blowing in the

We also had something truly special and unique

wind, through mar vellous landscapes and simply

– a strong foundation and heritage on which to

enjoying being alive – when a single telephone

build. And we had the world’s most beautiful

call altered the course of my life: ’Marimekko is

flower, Unikko.

yours’. The call followed negotiations I thought 40

41


MARISSA M AY E R and so I changed my major.

Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo as President &

JIN XING With

an

accomplished

and

never know what will happen the next night.

internation-

CEO in July 2012. Prior to Yahoo, she worked

It was in 1994 that I made that decision. But

ally awarded dance career and having also

for 13 years at Google, where she held nu-

a really amazing thing was yet to happen: the

proven her versatile talents in theatre, film

The turning point of my life, as a female ar t-

merous

de-

Web. That wouldn’t happen for another whole

and tele­v ision, Jin Xing has become a cultural

ist and as a woman, came with my family. Before

signer, product manager, and executive, and

year, so no one had even really dreamt of the

and social icon in her home country. Through

I became a mother, I had a different attitude to

launched more than 100 well-known features

enormous potential that symbolic systems and

her talk show and her fan base in the blogo-

the world. True reality brings you back to ear th.

and products. Previously, Marissa worked at

computer science could have. Nor did I really

sphere with nearly a million followers, she has

Once you have your feet on the ground, you

the UBS research lab in Zurich, Switzerland

have any idea of what kind of profession I would

a strong impact and she is one of the most

know what real life is. Real life and your imagi-

and at SRI International in Menlo Park, Cali-

have, and what kind of contribution or impact I

influential opinion leaders in China today.

nation, your creativity, become one – you can’t

fornia. She graduated with honours from Stan-

would be able to make.

positions,

including

engineer,

ford University with a BS in Symbolic Systems and a MS in Computer Science.

separate them.

When Google was about a year old, I took

In ever y thing I have done, in my dance ca-

Before I became a mother, I just wanted to

a trip to Switzerland and I saw the website on

reer and in my personal life, I have trusted my

fly as a free bird. Now, when I am a mother, I

someone’s screen. At that time no one in Swit-

own way.

know why I fly. Freedom has substance now.

Growing up, I was ver y, ver y cer tain that I

zerland was supposed to know about Google.

I like walking a path that nobody else has

was going to be a doctor. When I was in college

When I saw that this little website I was work-

walked before. It’s not always accessible, but

I was doing biology and chemistr y; I was good at

ing on with 20 of my friends was already being

I can learn from failures. Slowly the path be-

it but I wasn’t that excited about it.

used halfway around the world by people whom

comes a road, and there’s a free world in front

Then I took my first computer science

we didn’t know, and who were really enjoying it

of me.

course, and suddenly there was something that

and learning from it, I realized the impact of the

I have openness and curiosity in my hear t

really unlocked my creativity, my passion, and

internet and the impact that being involved with

– a curiosity about the world. Like a flower: in

meant a fundamental shift in my overall life

computer science and technology could have,

the springtime flowers come up and they don’t

view. I realized that I wanted to be a par t of it,

and it made my decision so wor thwhile.

know what is going to happen over the year. You

42

Just let things come and let things go.

43


S VA N T E ÖQUIST

tor-in-chief for ELLE Decoration.’

Svante Öquist is the editor-in-chief of the

My answer was ver y quick and ver y deter-

Swedish edition of Elle Decoration magazine.

mined: ‘No, I will NOT – because I CAN not!’

Prior to his current position, he worked for

N A O KO OGIGAMI

Naoko Ogigami is an internationally award-

to work freely and do something that nobody

ed Japanese film director. Educated both in

had ever done before. I travelled to Finland

Japan and in the United States, she received

and made my film Kamome Shokudo (Kamome

several years as art director for Elle fashion

Eva: ‘Yes, you CAN!’

attention for her 2003 directorial debut Bar-

D iner) there. On the premiere day, I instantly ­

magazine as well as for Elle Decoration.

I: ‘No, I CAN not. I prefer to be “just” an ar t

ber Yoshino (Yoshino’s Barber Shop), which

forgot my struggles and was filled with a sense

won a special mention at the Berlin Interna-

of accomplishment when I saw the long lines of

tional Film Festival. Her third film, Kamome

people waiting to see the film.

director, that’s my profession!’ Eva: ‘OK, sleep on it! But remember, the de-

The year is 1995. I’m the ar t director for

cision is already made and it’s non-negotiable.’

both ELLE and ELLE Decoration, the latter having star ted in Sweden three years earlier. Eva

A couple of months later Eva left the com-

Abrahamsson, a sor t of iron lady, was then the

pany and I became the new editor-in-chief for

CEO of Hachette Sweden as well as the editor-

ELLE Decoration.

in-chief for the two ELLE magazines. At some point she decided that enough was enough. At the end of August 1995, Eva said to me: ‘Svante, we need to talk. You’ll be the new edi44

Shokudo (Kamome Diner), shot in Helsinki, Finland, has enjoyed great success both domestically and internationally.

Since that moment I’ve never, ever had the

Having got tired of the conser vative Japan­

slightest feeling of regret. I still love ever y sin-

ese film industr y, I asked my producer if I could

gle day, and next year I will have been doing it

make a film abroad. Film-making is quite hard

for 20 years!

work, so if I had to struggle, I wanted at least 45


SO ME SIX T Y YE ARS AGO, THE BO LD C O L O U R S A N D U N C O N V E N T I O N A L P AT T E R N S O F T H E N E W LY E S TA B L I S H E D F A S H I O N AN D D ES I G N H O U S E MAR IM EKKO TRANSFORMED THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY I N F I N L A N D . T O D AY, O U R I N V E N T I V E , YE T TIMELESS DIALO GUE BE T WEEN COLOUR, P AT T E R N A N D S H A P E T R A N S L AT E S I N T O D I S T I N C T I V E D E S I G N S T H AT C E L E B R AT E T H E AR T O F PR IN T MAKIN G ALL OVER THE WO R LD.

Marimekko Corporation P.O. Box 107, FI-00811 Helsinki Puusep채nkatu 4, FI-00880 Helsinki Finland

Tel. +358 9 758 71 Fax +358 9 755 3051

E-mail: info@marimekko.fi w w w.marimekko.com


goodshaus.com Berlin Celebrates 50 Years of Unikko at Marimekko  

Explore a Modern Classic Collection of unique Marimekko Flower pattern printed on various Home accessories and Pillows at https://www.goodsh...

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