Friday, 2 August 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane (5): A visit to Marimekko founder Armi Ratia´s country retreat

Armi Ratia and her son Risto-Matti at Bökars.
I am not quite certain if my visit to Armi Ratia´s country retreat Bökars in Southeastern Finland took place in 1974, or the year after. However, at the time her company Marimekko was at the peak of its international success, and Ratia (1912 - 1979) was quite a well known personality in the international media. 

The young man in the picture is Ratia´s son Risto-Matti, the designer.

At the time of my visit, there were still a lot of partying going on in Bökars, although the most famous parties took place in the late 1950s:

In the late 1950s Armi Ratia, her product designers and their 'court' held legendary parties lasting days at the Bökars summer villa; there was food and drink in profusion, people had fun, and new ideas were born at an ever wilder tempo. The cream of the Finnish art world participated. Foreign visitors whom Ratia invited to these parties had an unforgettable experience of Finland.

If you are not familiar with who Armi Ratia was, here is a brief summary:

Armi Ratia established Marimekko Ltd, which made industrial use of artistic product design. The modern style of clothing which it marketed found especial favour with leftist intellectuals - but also with such international celebrities as Jacqueline Kennedy. As the founder and managing director of Marimekko, Ratia turned a relatively small firm in the textile industry into a national and international success story which later entrepreneurs have attempted to imitate.

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