The Colorful World of Marimekko

The Colorful World of Marimekko

Mark Chamberlain
Nov 30, 2010

I happened to notice from the street that Marimekko recently opened a shop-in-shop at Crate and Barrel Soho. Perfect match, if you ask me. And when I poked in my head, I discovered they've also greatly augmented their selections of patterns and colorways.

I'm a sweet, innocent Finnish boy from the middle west, mother's side, and I'm quite certain that even my diapers were made of Marimekko's bright red poppy pattern. The company was founded in Finland circa 1950, and sprang from the intersection of cheaper print fabric production, post-war abundance and good solid Scandinavian design. They're selling bedding, kitchen items, dresses, children's wear, oven mitts and fabric by the mile. Patterns are both bold and whimsical, often reflecting Lappland textures and botanicals. But those colors!

I remember all those Pop Art primaries in reds, yellows and blacks from my youth; what's new to me here are more nuanced combinations of purple, teal, rust and taupe. I also didn't realize Marimekko was producing wall coverings, from reedy stripes to flowers to things for children. And why not? You can paper your kitchen in purple poppies to match your potholder. At Crate and Barrel, or visit the shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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