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Marimekko, With Love

Date Jan 21, 2013 - May 12, 2013
Curated by Shauna McCabe

Exhibition Overview

Marimekko, With Love is a retrospective look at the company’s origins and role in shaping a new aesthetics and approach to living through fashion and design. Founded in 1951 by visionary designer Armi Ratia and her husband Viljo, Marimekko not only sparked an international revolution in post-WWII pattern and textile production but captured a new philosophy based on the power of design in everyday life – Marimekko was “a cultural phenomenon guiding the quality of living,” Armi recounted in 1962.

In Canada, a groundbreaking design studio called Karelia introduced Marimekko and contemporary Finnish design to international audiences. Named for the historical Finnish region and Armi Ratia’s birthplace, Karelia’s founder – architect, interior and industrial designer Janis Kravis – developed a close relationship with Marimekko’s early creative minds. Objects in the exhibition are primarily drawn from Karelia’s collections and archives.

Related Programs and Events


Exhibition Tour: Marimekko, With Love
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 6:30 pm
Join those closest to the materials featured in Marimekko, With Love for a tour of the exhibition. Architect Janis Kravis, founder of Karelia, offers a walkthrough highlighting the creative impulses and individuals at the core of Marimekko’s early decades.

HANDMADE! March Break Program
Saturday, March 9 - Sunday, March 17, 2013
Open Daily 1 - 4 pm
A drop-in program featuring hands-on activities inspired by Marimekko, With Love. For children 5 and up; all children must be accompanied by an adult. Included with admission.

Founder Armi Ratia (left); Unikko print, Maija Isola for Marimekko, 1964-1965 (right)
Armi Ratia, founder and managing director of Marimekko. Photo: Teppo Lipasti, 1975
Armi Ratia & Janis Kravis, Janis’ 40th birthday party. Photo: Ilgvars Broks, 1975
Karelia (Front Street), opening party. Photo: Wollin Gustavs Kayari, c. 1960
Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener
Maija Isola, Unikko (poppy) pattern, 1964, screen-printed cotton, Marimekko, Helsinki
Maija Isola, Kaivo (well) pattern, 1964, screen-printed cotton, Marimekko, Helsinki