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The brilliant beauty of icy glass pieces is perfect for this time of year -- and proof of the clear genius of midcentury Scandinavian design.
Candlelight brings warmth to long Nordic nights, and clear holders -- including Ann Warff’s Snowball Votive, first designed in 1973, and tiered frosty pieces by Timo Sarpaneva -- make the most of it.
From left: Snowball Votive candleholder (top), kostaboda.us. Aspen Glad Pillar (bottom), steuben.com. Festivo candleholder, by Iittala, from moodindigonewyork.com. Kristal taper candle, wayfarercandles.com. Other candlesticks (similar to shown), americandinnerwareantiques.com.
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Advanced Scandinavian glass techniques allowed factories to create clear-as-ice pieces, including these realistically glacial vases by Tapio Wirkkala.
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Glass Shallow Bowl
Viewed from above, this shallow bowl by Tauno Wirkkala resembles a huge snowflake.
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Icy Punch Bowl
There’s no better vessel for the bracing flavor of Chartreuse punch than a bowl seemingly wrought from icicles. (A chilly accompaniment: vichyssoise in cucumber cups.) The fantastical shards of the bowl were designed by Tauno Wirkkala (Tapio’s brother). “It took a very complex mold to make this, and it was often copied by other companies,” author Lorenzo Vigier says. Scandinavian originals are brilliant, while knockoffs tend to be duller.
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For instance, this bowl, while still beautiful, is a Japanese version.
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It’s shown again with two crystalline bowls from Iittala.
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Glass Pitchers and Tumblers
Drippy, whorled, crackled, or cubed, ice glass was made with a great variety of textures. It was so popular that barware was produced for practically any poison. (Here, we have martinis and pear rosemary cocktails.) The look was transferred even to the Lucite ice bucket.
The pieces shown here are inexpensive, allowing for an abundant collection to display. (Round out the look by freezing your own stirrers and shot glasses using store-bought molds.)
Kastehelmi bowl (with olives), Ultima Thule platter (with oysters), and pitchers (similar to shown), iittala.com. 1970 Lucite Ice Cube ice bucket and 1950 Spun glass cocktail shaker, moodindigonewyork.com. Vases (similar to shown), americandinnerwareantiques.com. Ice straws, and frozen shotglass ice-cube tray, fredflare.com. Small thick orb bubble lights, calebsiemon.com. Peekaboo clear coffee table and Format storage shelf, cb2.com. Crisp console, conranusa.com.
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A Vintage Christmas Tree
Although plastic, this vintage tree demonstrates how influential the icy aesthetic was in the 1960s and '70s. Two of Ann Warff's Snowball Votives, which were produced in several sizes, rest below the icicle boughs, completing the frozen tableau.