Fasetti Vintage & Design shop is an interior design shop which specialises in the work of Finnish designer, Carl Gustaf Hiort af Ornäs (1911 – 1996). Ornäs’ uncompromising approach to high quality design made an impact on Finnish design during his lifetime. Over time, his work faded from popular knowledge, until brothers Janne and Samuli Ylönen began their quest to rediscover the work of this forgotten design master.
Finnish Design, Ornäs and Fasetti
Finland is recognised internationally for its contributions to the world of design. From the iconic architecture of Alvar Aalto, to the brilliant prints of Marimekko worn by Jackie Kennedy, to the Planetoid necklace created by Lapponia worn by Carrie Fisher in Star Wars, Finnish design has made its mark.
Nordic design is much admired and continues to be a significant trend in the world of interior design. In particular, the calm and unpretentious aesthetic of mid-century modern Scandinavian design is a frequent favorite among interior designers.
For the Ylönen brothers, owners of the Fasetti Design Centre in Hollola, the discovery of Ornäs’ work was a pivotal moment that led to a prolonged search to find out more about this little-known designer.
About the Designer, Hiort af Ornäs
Carl Gustaf Hiort af Ornäs was born into a noble but poor family in Helsinki in 1911. While Ornäs was originally trained in architecture, he eventually began working in the field of furniture design and manufacture, beginning with his employment at the Kerava carpentry factory.
In 1936 he started working for the Ekwall company in Pori, where he was first introduced to the art of curving plywood, which would become a hallmark of his own designs later on. It was also at Ekwall that he became committed to “adopting the traditions of quality workmanship”.
At the end of the war in December 1944, he started the Puunveisto Woodworking Company which was located in Lauttasaari, an island in western Helsinki. The designs produced in the 1940s were nostalgic and reminiscent of pre-war design, but hinted at the functionalist approach that would become his signature in later years.
In 1951 Ornäs began designing for Nupponen (which, at that time, was a furniture store that was on par with Stockmann and Artek) on a freelance basis. During the 1950s Finland began to thrive, as the austerity of the post war era faded away. In this “golden age”, Finland excelled in the design field at an international level, triumphantly taking home every top award at the Milan Triennale in 1957.
People in Helsinki began to look for higher quality, elegantly crafted furnishings for their homes. Ornäs’ designs adapted to this demand, and a new sense of luxury crept into the designs. Stylistically, a tendency towards modernism grew, doing away with the nostalgic designs of the previous decade.
The Siesta Chair and New Techniques
It was during this period that some of Ornäs’ most outstanding designs were created. The Siesta chair in particular is noteworthy. It demonstrates the particular skill Ornäs developed in bending plywood, which he first learnt about during his time at Ekwall and later honed through the development of a new technique that bypassed earlier restrictions on how wood could be bent.
He created a plywood curving machine that allowed them to produce the furniture affordably in small runs. The pieces produced were customizable, with a variety of hardwoods and natural fabrics that individual buyers could select from, a tradition which is continued today by Fasetti.
Ornäs achieved a reputation for meticulously high-quality work during his lifetime, which also affected the Finnish furniture-manufacturing industry as a whole. Contemporaneous furniture makers acknowledged that Ornäs’ insistence on quality obliged them to raise their own production standards.
During his four decades of design and production Ornäs produced stunning armchairs, dining room suites, all-purpose chairs and a range of sofas and sofa suites, along with other items.
Lasting Style & Sustainability
Over time the Ylönen brothers have collected a substantial number of original Ornäs pieces. Today, the Fasetti Vintage & Design Company not only possesses a number of original vintage pieces, but also reproduces a selection of Ornäs’ designs. These pieces are produced in limited runs and are based on orders only.
New production runs of the designs stay true to the Ornäs’ original vision, from both an aesthetic perspective as well as in terms of durability. This is a refreshing approach in an era that has been dominated by mass production and disposable items. The modern reproductions are true to form and it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between vintage and new pieces.
Natural materials are used, such as the 100% wool upholstery fabrics that are naturally fire-resistant, removing the need for fire-retardant chemicals. Much of the upholstery fabric used in current production comes from the same factory in Lauttasaari which provided the fabrics to the Puunveisto Company.
Fasetti Helsinki Showroom
Fasetti recently relocated its Helsinki showroom to Pohjoisranta, just across from Uspenski Cathedral, the striking Russian Orthodox cathedral that sits on the Katajanokka waterfront.
Address & Contact Information:
Pohjoisranta 2, 00170, Helsinki
Tel: 010 4231006