Jac Ahrenberg’s sketch books

Johan Jacob “Jac” Ahrenberg (1847 Vyborg – 1914 Helsinki) was a Finnish architect, painter and writer. Aalto University’s Archive has just digitized a collection of Ahrenberg’s work from two sketch folders, including Ahrenberg’s drawings, paintings, photographs and prints. The sketchbooks will be available soon in Aalto-Finna’s archive materials.

Jac Ahrenberg. Photograph: Adolf Ecksteins Verlag, Daniel Nyblin. CC-BY. National Board of Antiquities / Finna.fi

Ahrenberg graduated from Stockholm´s Royal Academy of Fine Arts – School of Architecture in 1875. In 1877-1886, Ahrenberg worked as an architect in the the board of public buildings (in Finnish: Yleisten rakennusten ylihallitus) and as county architect in Oulu (1884-1885) and in Vyborg (1885-1886). He was appointed as chief intendant in 1910. Ahrenberg was conservative in architecture and supported C.L. Engel’s classicism. He also represented a classical academic tradition in state administration. Ahrenberg designed several public buildings, interiors and restorations.

Jac Ahrenberg. Page from a sketch book. Public Domain. Aalto University Archives.

Ahrenberg was also a productive writer, painter and art critic. He worked in art associations, lectured on art and wrote literary and visual art criticism in several Finnish newspapers. He was a member of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design, was one of the founders of The Friends of Finnish Handicraft, acted as artistic advisor at Arabia and designed interiors, furniture and artifacts for the industrial art exhibitions. Ahrenberg also taught drawing and art history at the Polytechnical Institute (later the Helsinki University of Technology, current Aalto University).

Jac Ahrenberg. Page from a sketchbook. Public Domain. Aalto University Archives.

Jac Ahrenberg. Page from a sketch book. Public Domain. Aalto University Archives.


Yki Nummi: designer of light and colour

Exhibition of original designs and drawings from Aalto University Archives

The exhibition displays the designer Yki Nummi (1925-1984) lamp design drawings, sketches and colour schemes.

Yki Nummi 1961-1962 at Orno design company located at Stockmann, Helsinki.
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Thorn-Orno collection, Kerava museum / Finna.fi

Yki Nummi VRC

Yki Nummi: “Practical lamp”- design. Aalto University Archives. All rights reserved

Nummi began his career in 1950’s straight from the Central School of Industrial Art at the Orno design company. His special material was lamps made from perspex, or acrylic plastic, which was lightweight and refracted light beatifully. He eliminated everything unnecessary or decorative from the lamp, favouring simple geometric shapes such as spheres, cones and cylinders.

Yki Nummi: “Practical lamp”- design. Aalto University Archives. All rights reserved

Nummi has designed many familiar Finnish lamps such as the Lokki and Kurki. His Modern Art lamp was chosen to the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Yki Nummi: “Modern Art” – design. Stockmann-Orno.
CC-BY. Helsinki City Museum

In addition to being an expert of light he was also an expert colourist. From 1970’s Nummi concentrated on colour design and was the head of  the planning department of Tikkurila paint factory. He first developed the Jokeri colour scheme containing 144 colours.

Aalto University Archives hold the private collection of Yki Nummi comprising the exhibited original drawings, colour schemes and an extensive collection of documentation about his life work.

Yki Nummi. Portrait photograph. Aalto University Archives. Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The exhibition is open 24.9. – 16.11.2018 at Harald Herlin Learning Centre, VRC, 1st Floor

See more Yki Nummi’s work in Aalto-Finna


Industrial textile art

Industrial textile art from 1970-1990s get catalogued and exhibited

Aalto University Archives have been cataloguing and digitising some new collections that have been donated to the archives alongside the Arabia Campus closure and move to the new Väre building in Otaniemi. Among them is a special collection of over 200 student works from the Department of Textile Art from 1970s to 1990s. The collection includes woollen and cotton fabric designs intended for interior and furniture textiles, some printed and clothing fabrics and material experimentations. They highlight especially the skill required in understanding materials, colour and texture as well as the technology of textile industries.

Virpi Syrjä: Huonekalukankaita, kudottujen kankaiden suunnittelu. Aalto University Archives. All rights reserved.

In order to organise the collection for future use each work has been photographed, grouped and catalogued to a basic coherent standard where each work can be searched for in a database. All archived objects receive the same basic treatment; a piece of textile art is treated the same way as much of the visual collections in the archive. The database information will also later be harvested into the Aalto-Finna search service’s Archive materials so that users can find the the objects with key words such as student name, title, type of textile etc. Due to the tactile nature of the works, the works will probably be viewed in their original format as physical objects by researchers, therefore they are preserved and protected in acid free archival storage material and kept in climate controlled premises to help ensure their condition in the future.

Digitising textile art by Marika Sarvilahti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Markku Piri: Meri – sistustuskangas. 1978. Aalto University Archives. All rights reserved.

A small exhibition has been arranged of the works at the Visual Resources Centre (VRC) at the Harald Herlin Learning Centre, Otaniementie 9.