Aino-Maija Metsola’s Muse: Spring Flowers

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Aino-Maija Metsola is one of my all-time favorite Marimekko designers. Though she lives in the bustling city of Helsinki, Metsola finds her muse in the many forests of Finland’s countryside. Her nature-inspired designs have showcased fruits and vegetables, animals, weather, and most recently, flowers. We just got in a plethora of products showcasing her two new similar yet distinct patterns, “Ailakki” and “Akankaali”, both featuring bunches of bouquets.

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Ailakki translates to Campion in English, a family of flowers known for their color and found through Europe. While looking for information on the beautiful blossoms, I stumbled upon an interesting New York Times article about the narrow-leafed campion plant. In 2012, just a year before Aino-Maija Metsola designed Ailakki, the extinct plant was revived from the flower’s fruit preserved for 32,000 years in the arctic of Siberia, Finland’s neighbor, making it the oldest plant to be grown from ancient tissue. Coincidence? Probably, but still a fun fact and beautiful metaphor to the themes of revival spring signifies.

Ailakki is available in a collection of kitchen items, including a placemat, potholder, and an oven mitt, as well as a pillow and tote bag. The pattern is also available in a Blue/Multi colorway of cotton fabric.

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Meaning Bugle in Finnish, Akankaali most likely refers to the flowering ajuga or bugle plant that is native to Europe and part of the mint family. The bluish-violet flowers grow upright with leaves growing in opposite directions, a color and composition that can be found in Metsola’s playful print. According to Marimekko, Metsola was inspired by the process of pressing flowers, which is thoughtfully translated in the flat feel of the petals and leaves. She mixes the flowers with various other patterns such as stripes, diamonds and checkers for mismatched look that adds to the scrapbook feel.

The medium-scale Akankaali pattern perfectly suits a variety of home decor items, from an adorable apron, to tea towels, to throw pillows.

We’ve come a long way since Armi Ratia demanded “No floral patterns!” half a century ago. With their familiarity that can provoke such strong feelings, and their ability to transition the home from season to season, we think the botanical beauties will be a style mainstay for quite some time.

What do you think of the new prints? Leave a comment below!

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