Professor Oiva Toikka is a Finnish glass designer. Born in Viipuri (Vyborg), he is renowned for his designs for glassware for Iittala the Finnish design company. Originally trained in ceramics, he took up glass design later in life. Along with his glassware designs, Toikka is best known after 1973 for his designs for the iittala ‘glass birds’ series. Toikka’s designs are produced at the glass factory at Nuutajärvi.
Toikka has also enjoyed success in a number of other creative outlets. He has worked as a stage and costume designer, generally working with Finnish director Lisbeth Landefort although in recent years, he has also been associated with productions by the Finnish National Opera. Through the years, he has also contributed textile designs to the Marimekko collections from time to time.
Jack Dawson, who has studied Toikka’s work tends to view it within the context of general trends in glass design as opposed to a strictly Nordic sensibility. Toikka himself has sought to look beyond his own era and has instead harkened back to an earlier aesthetic. When asked to define his work, Toikka has said: ”Baroque is exactly the right word to describe my work – after all, one of the word’s original meanings is ”an irregular pearl.”
Toikka’s style deviates from the streamlined aesthetic of Scandinavian design in a rich, imaginative and bold way. He has been awarded some of the most prestigious design accolades in the world, including the lunning Prize, Pro Finlandia Medal, World Glass Now Award 85, Kaj Franck Design Prizw and the Prince Eugen Medal.