This collection covers the period that Ratia was with Marimekko, 1951-1979.It includes scrapbook, press releases, correspondence, brochures, photographs, magazine articles, swatches, and trade catalogs. It contains extensive information about the company's affiliation with D/R and its operations in Finland. It includes a copy of "Phenomenon Marimekko," the catalog from a comprehensive exhibition that was held at the Museum of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1986. The collection contains legal correspondence and contracts pertaining to D/R's representation of Marimekko in the United States, as well as numerous swatches, sample books, brochures for stockholders, and trade catalogs. Files pertaining to Marimekko's work in Finland is mostly in Finnish and consists of brochures, posters, articles, and sample books, as well as a copy of the publication, "Design in Finland 1983."Additional information on Marimekko's association with D/R can be found in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Archive's Design Research, Inc. Collection.
Unprocessed. This collection consists of six record groups: 1) Company history and background information; 2) Marimekko/Design Research, Inc. Correspondence; 3) Marimekko Finland; 4) Scrapbooks and press clippings; 5) Swatches and samples; and 6) Photographs.
Finnish fabric manufacturer and retail chain. The company's chief designer was Armi Ratia (1912-1979), who was known for her use of vibrant colors and large patterns. She first joined her husband's design firm, Printex, in 1949. In 1951, the company was renamed Marimekko, which means "a little dress for Mary" in Finnish. During the 1960s and '70s, the firm manufactured cotton, jersey, and wool fabrications, along with paper, laminated plastics, and table coverings. Ratia was known for designing free, easy fashions in bold painterly designs taking much of her inspiration from nature and handicraft.
Ben Thompson, the founder of the retail establishment Design Reseaach, Inc. (D/R), discovered Ratia's designs at the Finnish Pavilion of the Brussels World Fair in 1957, and persuaded her to come to the United States. D/R became the exclusive representative of Marimekko products in the U.S. Today, through franchises worldwide, Marimekko stores sell simple clothing for women and children, as well as household accessories and furniture.
Location of Other Archival Materials Note:
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Textiles Department. 28 printed textiles designed by or for Marimekko.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Wallcoverings Department. One samplebook.
Marimekko Homepage. Additional information on the history of the company and its activities today can be found on Marimekko's homepage: http://www.marimekko.fi/.
The materials in this collection were donated to Cooper-Hewitt in 1975 by Benjamin and Jane Thompson.