French Touch and Vodka.

Tapio Wirkkala started his “bubbly” production in search of esthetic, of course, but also of reducing the scrap in manufacturing.
A defect on an uneven surface will be less obvious than the same manufacturing defect on a flat or even surface.
Reducing the scrap would decrease the cost of production, and Wirkkala’s design would be more likely to be chosen when in competition with others.

The most famous piece is Finlandia vodka bottle, declined in different shapes and sizes.
You can still find some of those in flea markets for an arrogant collector’s price when, in fact, the value is quite low, due to its mass production and low re-utilization or decorative value.


Within the same manufacturing principles, Tapio Wirkkala designed a bulb for Airam.
I have seen it in 40W and 60W.
If you look closely, nothing in that bulb is perfectly parallel, nothing is perfectly round…. but bulbs were packed, shipped and sold… low scrap.

I have had few of those bulbs, once someone suggested to recycle the broken ones into LED lamps, I might work on that one day, it can’t be that complicated.

The other day, after a long morning sleeping, a lengthy brunch and no hurry to be out, we decided to head to the flea market for closing deals (I still don’t believe they exist, but life proved me wrong many times).
Long story short, I found 3 Wirkkala bulbs.

Very surprised that non of the professionals had spotted them and stocked them. Pros’ will stock those as the value can only go up as bulbs would, one by one, break.

Asking if they work, gauging the trust level, bargaining the price and here they are, paid and in my bag.

The most intriguing part of the story is the 3rd bulb.
2 bulbs were as we know them, 40W, bubbly like a bottle finlandia vodka.
The 3rd one, Frosty, still bubbly, but frosty bubbly.
– a fake? No, same manufacturing characteristics as the 2 others.
– a repro? No, dust + aging proof on the metallic parts.
– a limited series?
– is it rare, or is it just that I don’t know about it… yet.

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To this date. I don’t have an answer. Would you know?

Some are up all night to get lucky,
I sleep all morning to get lucky! (at the flea market)
This, is the French Touch.

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