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The artist couple Airi Snellman-Hänninen and Olavi Hänninen

Bukowskis presents

Airi Snellman-Hänninen & Olavi Hänninen – a private collection

Bukowskis presents a collection of works of art and furniture from textile artist Airi Snellman-Hänninen and interior designer Olavi Hänninen in an Online only auction.

Airi Snellman-Hänninen and Olavi Hänninen belong to the generation that made Finnish design world famous. In the Milan Triennial XI in 1957, Olavi Hänninen was awarded a gold medal for the section "Suomalainen koti" (A Finnish home) that he had planned. The home's dining table, bookshelves and seating were designed by him and the rug by Airi. Hänninen had chosen the rest of the interior from Finnish manufacturers' design collections.

‹ In Hanikka, Espoo, the artist couple's home and studio was completed in 1961. Both worked there for over three decades with both their own and joint projects.

Photo Ragnar Damström

Airi Snellman-Hänninen's career began successfully when she won first prize in a rug competition in 1959, 1960 and 1963 organized by The Friends of Finnish Handicraft. She got inspiration for her work from nature, which is noticeable in the rugs' names: Metsässä (In the forest) and Nurmikko (Lawn).

Countless sketches were born at Airi's desk. In the studio, there was plenty of space to build large, three-dimensional textile sculptures. Olavi Hänninen planned interiors and furniture, primarily for public premises. Their joint project consisted of a large number of works commissioned by the congregations over the years. The result of Olavi Hänninen's planning work can be seen in the interior of 14 churches and parish halls.

Airi Snellman-Hänninen, an art textile, Korret punainen (Red straws), signed, 1992. Estimate 2 500 EUR.

A common feature in both Airi's and Olavi's working methods is the freedom from preconceptions and the desire to experiment in combination with the ability to plan entire aesthetic environments. Airi Snellman-Hänninen renewed the rya rug technique and made them relieflike. Traditionally, rya rugs have been made from cams of wool yarn of the same length. Airi knotted different length cams in the rug, which created contrasts between light and shadow on the rug's surface. The relief rug Väreily (Vibration) (1972) is part of the Design Museum's collection in Helsinki.

Airi held solo exhibitions and participated in joint exhibitions. Her work has been showcased in five continents and in over 20 countries.

Airi Snellman-Hänninen, rya rug Talviniitty (Winter meadow). Estimate 2 500 EUR.

Out in the world, especially in Italy, postmodernism became dominant in the design circles, and the style came to Finland in the 1980s. However, the mindset of borrowing styles from different eras still existed. Olavi Hänninen began to experiment, but the result was more reminiscent of neo-funkis. The chairs Gallo and Gallina, ie. Rooster and Hen were created. The chairs were displayed at the Habitare Fair in Helsinki in 1983 at the Interior Architects SIO's department, whose theme was New Shapes. The experimental furniture also includes the glass table Poiju (Buoy), whose three legs are are a reminiscence of the sea.

Olavi Hänninen, chair 'Gallo' (Rooster) 1985.

Estimate 1 000 EUR.

Olavi Hänninen, a 1981 spindle chair. Estimate 1 200 EUR.

Olavi Hänninen, coffee table Poiju (Buoy), 1985.

Estimate 1 200 EUR.

In 2006, the Design Museum in Helsinki organized a major exhibition on Olavi Hänninen's life's work. Airi Snellman-Hänninen's exhibition, 60 Years of Textile Art, was held at Galleria Dix in Helsinki in 2018. In connection with both exhibitions, books were published about the artist couple's life and work.

Text Marja Turkka

Airi Snellman-Hänninen & Olavi Hänninen – a private collection

Auction 22–31 October, Online only

To the auction

For information Contact specialist

Anna Rosenius
Anna Rosenius
Head specialist Finnish design
+358 (0)40 1284 977