Kyösti Kakkonen’s unique design collection to be displayed permanently at WeeGee Exhibition Centre

Published: 12.10.2021 7.15
Timo Sarpaneva (1926–2006), Finlandia, 1964. Collection Kakkonen / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.
Timo Sarpaneva (1926–2006), Finlandia, 1964. Collection Kakkonen / EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.Photo: Rauno Träskelin

Long-term collector, Commercial Counsellor Kyösti Kakkonen is depositing Collection Kakkonen, his design collection focusing on Finnish glass and ceramics, to EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art.

Long-term collector, Commercial Counsellor Kyösti Kakkonen is depositing Collection Kakkonen, his design collection focusing on Finnish glass and ceramics, to EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art. The City of Espoo, EMMA and Kyösti Kakkonen have made a long-term collaboration agreement on displaying the collection. The internationally significant Collection Kakkonen features Finnish design from modernism to the present day. The depositing of the collection strengthens Espoo’s cultural offering significantly, along with the WeeGee-located EMMA’s position as an art museum showcasing design. The collection opens to the public in November 2022.

Collection Kakkonen focuses on the post-war era, i.e. the so-called golden age of design. During this time, Finnish design also gained more ground internationally. The core of Collection Kakkonen includes unique design, art glass and ceramics and their makers. The collection consists of works from over 30 artists and a total of 10,000 objects. It continues to be expanded. In addition to its extent, the collection is noteworthy in quality – the carefully compiled collection is entirely unique.

Central names included in the collection include Alvar Aalto, Rut Bryk, Kaj Franck, Birger Kaipiainen, Toini Muona, Gunnel Nyman, Kristina Riska, Kyllikki Salmenhaara, Markku Salo, Timo Sarpaneva, Michael Schilkin, Kim Simonsson, Nanny Still, Oiva Toikka, Kati Tuominen-Niittylä, Helena Tynell, Vesa Varrela and Tapio Wirkkala.

The deposition of the collection to EMMA is significant for the City of Espoo; the collaboration results in the WeeGee Exhibition Centre at Tapiola being profiled further as design and architecture hub.

Modernism is a connecting factor between Kakkonen, the WeeGee Exhibition Centre and EMMA and its environment. The concrete gem designed by architect Aarno Ruusuvuori that is situated in the internationally acclaimed Tapiola Garden City represents one of the finest of modernist Finnish architecture.

Collection Kakkonen will complement Espoo’s high-level cultural offering, which is also tailored to international audiences. “Displaying the collection is a cultural act strengthening the vitality of the city and Tapiola’s changing cityscape. Collection Kakkonen plays a significant part in the development of the cultural offering of WeeGee and EMMA as well as that of Espoo’s entire art and cultural field. We are very proud to be able to offer Espoo’s residents and visitors to the city a chance to get acquainted with this unique collection. Having the collection at WeeGee strengthens the internationally attractive design offering within the metropolitan area. Its future location in Tapiola will do its part in continuing the strong design and architectural tradition in the area and become a part of the Espoo story,” says Harri Rinta-aho, Deputy Mayor of the Educational and Cultural Services.

As a collector, Kyösti Kakkonen has carried out a unique cultural deed over the decades, one that will culminate with the collection being displayed to the public permanently at EMMA at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre.

“We are writing a new chapter in the development of the museum field in the metropolitan area. Having the collection at EMMA provides us with a very significant attraction,” rejoices Museum Director Pilvi Kalhama and continues: “With this significant collection, we will tell the story of unique Finnish design spanning from modernism to the present day – along with the story of a collector who is entirely one of a kind.”

“The WeeGee building and its large windows, designed by Espoo’s EMMA and architect Ruusuvuori, offers an excellent setting for displaying my design collection of glass and ceramics. Internationally recognised Finnish masters can get their works – most of them unique – close to nature, literally in its midst. For most of them, nature has been their greatest inspiration,” says collector and Commercial Counsellor Kyösti Kakkonen.

“My collection has seen various international design exhibitions around the world. Currently, there are agreements on setting up eleven different exhibitions in Japan. As such, I dare say that my collection will not only increase interest towards EMMA in the country, but it will also strengthen EMMA’s international position,” Kyösti Kakkonen adds.

The target group for the new collection exhibition consists primarily of domestic and international visitors interested in design and architecture. Collection Kakkonen will strengthen EMMA as an art museum for significant collections. The permanent collections already on display at EMMA are Saastamoinen Foundation’s art collection and the Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation collection.

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