Fiskars unveils expanded and refurbished Iittala glass factory
Fiskars Corporation Press release, May 7, 2014
Throughout its history, the Iittala glassworks has been the heart and soul of glass-blowing expertise in Finland. This is truer than ever now that Nuutajärvi’s widely appreciated artworks and small-series production has a new home within the refurbished Iittala factory. The expansion of the Iittala factory and the building of a new batch house are now complete and they were inaugurated today by Ms Jenni Haukio, spouse of the President of Finland.
”Founded already in 1881, the Iittala glass factory encompasses all the elements upon which the post World War II reputation of Finnish design was built. Artisanry and craftsmanship and the deepest respect for traditions while endeavoring to improve upon modern methods. Unique and ground breaking design. Industrial and manufacturing competence. These are values upon which great successes have been built and will be built on in the future both in Finland and internationally. The consolidation of glass production to Iittala and the fact that these manufacturing investments are the largest made by Fiskars in decades are cause for great joy, as the conservation of Iittala’s world famous glass blowing skills is the conservation of part of our national and cultural heritage. It fosters faith not only in the success of Finnish design but also in manufacturing in Finland. This is precisely the kind of news that Finland needs today.
Each employee of the glass factory carries a great responsibility and plays an equally important part in the creation of a work of art on the path from the designers’ first intuition to the final esthetic source of joy the object becomes in the home it eventually decorates. I wish you all luck and success but most of all joy and inspiration in your fascinating work. The Iittala factory is a source of pride for all of Finland”, said Jenni Haukio, spouse of the President of Finland.
The consolidation of the group’s manufacturing at Iittala and the expansion of the factory are the biggest production investments Fiskars has made in several decades. The aim of which is to secure the competitiveness of the company’s own glass manufacture in Finland and to safeguard Iittala’s renowned glass-blowing expertise.
”We are very proud of the Iittala factory, which is home to many internationally esteemed design icons, notably the Aalto vase,” says Teemu Kangas-Kärki, President of Fiskars Home business area. ”It is extremely important for us that we have been able to make this factory an even stronger base for Finnish design. It has created a platform from which not only Nuutajärvi’s beloved birds will fly out into the world but also a place from which future generations of design icons will be launched. Iittala’s unique expertise in blowing and designing art glass is a cornerstone for the international expansion of the Iittala brand.”
The enlarged working area and annealing ovens for mouth-blown glass in the refitted factory have been designed in collaboration with the glassblowers, and a new space for the melting furnaces has been added. Coinciding with the completion of the building work is the plant’s new batch house, where the raw materials for the glass – sand, soda, calcium carbonate and other materials – are measured out and mixed in an automated process to form a mass that is mechanically moved through chutes into the furnace and beyond. Automation of batch production and its integration into the manufacturing process will add flexibility to the factory’s processes and speed up reaction times. Upgrading the factory has also provided an opportunity to improve the plant’s working environment and increase the level of comfort.
“Uniting two well-known and time-honored factories is a demanding task, and the credit for its successful completion must go to the project group, who remained committed and enthusiastic throughout. All the key elements of the factory’s expansion were planned in collaboration with the employees, and several dozen people were involved throughout the various stages of the process,” says Iittala’s Factory Director Per-Henrik Hagberg. “Our goal is to work together to make Iittala the world’s leading glass factory, and to achieve that we emphasize team spirit as well as management skills.”
An even more enjoyable tourist destination than before
Today, the glass factory founded in Iittala in 1881 is a key part of Finland’s oldest company, Fiskars, which this year celebrates its 365th anniversary. The village of Iittala together with its glass factory draw in some 150,000 tourists a year and are among the development priorities of the city of Hämeenlinna, which itself is 375 years old in 2014.
The craftsmanship and skills that have evolved at the Iittala factory are of great interest to fans of Iittala glass all over the world, which is why improving the experience for visitors was an important part of the extension project. As part of the plant’s refit, a new visitors’ entrance and viewing balcony have been built. The glass birds and the Aalto products manufactured at the factory are prominently displayed at a nearby Iittala outlet.
The viewing balcony at the Iittala factory is open to the public on weekdays during its working hours. Glass-blowing exhibitions are arranged at the factory during the summer season, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., from June 30 to August 1.
For more information, please contact:
Teemu Kangas-Kärki, President of Fiskars Home, phone +358 204 39 5703
Per-Henrik Hagberg, Iittala factory director, phone + 358 204 39 6228
Photos of the Iittala factory and the factory opening are available on the Fiskars Corporation website at http://www.fiskarsgroup.com/media/image-bank
Fiskars 365 – celebrating centuries of pride, passion and design. Every day.
Established in 1649 as an ironworks in a small Finnish village, Fiskars has grown to be a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors. Available in more than 60 countries, Fiskars products solve everyday problems, making daily home, garden and outdoor projects easier and more enjoyable, through superior performance and design. Listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Fiskar’s net sales totalled 799 million euro in 2013. The Group’s key international brands are Fiskars, Iittala and Gerber. http://www.fiskarsgroup.com/365