Wednesday, 28 May 2014


 Unikko, poppy in Finnish, was designed in 1964 by textile designer Maija Isola while working for Merimekko. 

This year the design is 50 years old and it is being celebrated in the many colors it has been printed. Since the 2000's it has found it's way printed onto every surface you can imagine, from shower curtains and bath towels  to mugs and plates, to Finnair passenger jets.

The simple, clean and bright pattern is still fresh today. It was created in protest, a real spirit of the period,  to the owner of Merimekko, Armi Ratia, announcing that they would never print a flower pattern. Maija, inspired by 60's Pop and the flower power movement ignored the ban on flowers and created the bold pink and red poppy blooms on a white background. It was an immediate success. It has never been out of print.

In the 70's it was printed in earth colors, by the beginning of this century it has been printed on a colored background and in 2009 the blooms became white on a black ground. Endlessly variable, always fresh and still retains that spirit of modernism:

I have always wondered if this silk screen print by Warhol had something to do with the imagination of Maija Isola in the making of Unikko:

Flowers, 1964

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