Modern Icons: Marimekko Textiles

Odds are, Marimekko fabrics are in your radar even if you did not know their name; in case you’ve ever received a Crate and Barrel catalogue, you will realize a’mekko print when you see it. A huge part of this mid-century contemporary boom, the business was started by Armi Ratia in Finland at 1951. The country was prepared for glowing bold prints after years of warfare, and Ratia was particularly prepared to recognize talented women designers and break through glass ceilings. After Jackie Kennedy ordered up seven of the dresses and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated sporting one in 1960, the newest became wildly popular at the U.S.. It has remained worldwide ever since.

Studio One-Off Architecture & Design

Tip: Stretch cloth over a canvas for an inexpensive means to pack a large graphic punch.

This is created from a classic’mekko printing named KIVET (it’s actually there to conceal the television). You can stretch the cloth over artwork canvases, buy kits (I recommend textile arts; their products are great and their customer service is excellent ), or buy hangings already assemble.

The Red Jet

Case in point: Blogger Red Jet Whistle created a contemporary wall hanging with this vintage’mekko cloth. Etsy and eBay are great sources for discovering pieces.

See the rest of the creative home

Palmerston Design Consultants

This exuberant poppy print, known as UNIKKO, was created by Marimekko great Maija Isola in 1964. It’s become wonderfully ubiquitous due to each the goods Crate and Barrel has generated using it (Crate has had the exclusive U.S. rights to Marimekko prints for decades). Though very popular, I don’t feel that this print has ever hit the tipping point. It’s timeless, as it comes in a range of scales and colours.

Side Note: I really like this tiny cribbed conversation that looks about the Marimekko U.S. site, explaining how UNIKKO was:
Armi Ratia:“No flower patterns”
Maija Isola: “Why not?”
Armi Ratia:“Since they can never match the beauty of a true flower.”

Thankfully, Isola chose this as a challenge and created what is now among the most quintessential Marimekko prints.

Tara Seawright Interior Design

Interior designer Tara Seawright solved the issue of supplying a little bedroom using this stretched canvas to function as a tall headboard. Unlike those hot lace heels, it doesn’t take up any floor space.

Tip: If you have a little or ho-hum toilet, try a large scale print shower curtain (I did).

This shower curtain, with its large spectacle of Scandinavian birch tree Long Beach printing, can totally transform a toilet.

Atypical Type A

On a smaller scale, KAIKU makes a beautiful screensaver.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

All these KIVET Butterfly Chair covers add welcome color to this modern home in the desert.

Divine Design+Build

In the same way, a framed UNIKKO print brings color to this toilet.

House + House Architects

KIVET in gray and black is contemporary and masculine. The circles are not perfect, which adds character and keeps it from being totally dotty.

James Wagman Architect, LLC

Marimekko napkins play the striped pendant lighting.

This wavy LOKKI pattern lends contemporary sophistication and curves for this modern dining area.

Webber + Studio, Architects

Marimekko TUULI throw pillows add inky black, abstracted trees to the bedscape.

My appreciation for all things Marimekko can be traced back to my aunt, Sally Wittenberg. She bedecked every bedroom in her Berkshires lake home with Marimekko linens and every bath with’mekko towels. She introduced me to Dansk, Catherine Holm and all things Scandinavian contemporary.

See the rest of the Berkshires lake home

Another Aunt Sally bedroom…

… and yet another! Marimekko looks great with her memorial posters.

Textile Arts

Unikko Gray Wallpaper from Marimekko – $149
Marimekko recently came out with a wallpaper line; today you can cover whole walls with your favorite prints.

Textile Arts

Marimekko Pieni Melooni Apron – $43
This apron is sewn from another timeless Marimekko print, known as MELOONI. It makes a great hostess gift for the Aunt Sally forms in your life.


Ducduc Collins Rocker at UNIKKO by Marimekko – $1,495
Not interested in average nursery decoration? Get this crazy rocker and design the whole room around it. As your child develops, you can move it in your den, study or family room.


Siirtolapuutarha Räsymatto Teapot – $98
It’s possible I will begin drinking tea if it’s an excuse to maintain this kettle out in my cooker 24/7.

Textile Arts

Marimekko Fashion and Design – $45
Marimekko tomes are so inspirational. We’ve covered only housewares here, however, the fashion and the design are also impressive.

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