During the 1950s and early 1960s, Scandinavian and Italian design in all media was internationally popular. In glass, the concepts of utility, beauty, and affordability - the hallmarks of modern design - were fully exploited in Sweden and Finland. One of the most influential Finnish designers at this time was Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985). In 1946, he was hired by Finland’s Iittala Glass Works, where he created sophisticated works that blurred the line between functional object and sculpture. Taking his inspiration from the northern landscape, Wirkkala favored abstract shapes in thick, transparent, ice-like chunks of glass. While international interest in Scandinavian design started to wane in the 1960s, Wirkkala’s influence remained strong. He continued to make popular designs for glass and furniture. A series of colorful plates and bottles, created in the late 1960s for the Venini glassworks in Italy, earned him further international recognition.