The Secret History Of: The Sarpaneva Pot
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 07 January 2011
Scandinavian design is known chiefly for its ability to combine form and function without one losing out at the expense of the other. This Finnish casserole pot is a perfect example of that design sensibility.
Designed in 1960 by Timo Sarpaneva, the wooden handle can be used either to carry the pot or to lift off the lid for stirring. It is, apparently, meant to remind the user of sitting round a camp fire and using a stick to lift the lid and stir the food.
Sarpaneva was inspired by his blacksmith grandfather to create his modern version of an ancient cast-iron pot and it has become a design classic. It won the silver medal at the 1960 Milan Triennale and features in the V&A's collections.
He once said the idea was simply about rethinking a traditional object in a way that wasn't too novel and would make "a damn good reindeer stew in the process".
Enamelled cast iron ware is perfect for simmering stews over long periods and, because the enamel prevents flavours from sticking, it can be used for both meat and fish without residues of one tainting the other. It doesn't matter how burnt it gets; just leave it to soak and it will be as clean as when you bought it, whether you're cooking reindeer or, perhaps more likely, chicken.
Sarpaneva was one of the main personalities behind Finland's great reputation for design since the 1950s. He started out working in glass and branched out into porcelain and textiles. He trained as a graphic designer and Andy Warhol once said his fabrics were masterpieces that should be framed as paintings.
He won silver medal at the 1951 triennale for his tea cosy designed as a rooster and his career took off. His Suomi porcelain tableware is still in production and has a place at the Pompidou in Paris as an example of contemporary design. In the 1970s, Salvador Dali was among prominent artists invited to produce limited edition designs for these plates.
The Sarpaneva pot traditionally has a three-litre capacity but in honour of its 50th birthday, Iittala, which holds the licence, has issued a four-litre pot.
Tim Parker, Iittala's UK agent, says: "So many household items that were designed in the Sixties have ended up in museums, and while the term 'design classic' is often bandied about, this is one product that really deserves the title. It is just as appropriate in the modern kitchen as it was in the Sixties, although perhaps not so often for reindeer casserole."
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year
- 1 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 4 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
- 5 #AskNigelFarage: Twitter starts hilarious Q&A for Ukip leader
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...