Alison Garwood Jones

My Stylish Youth

December 12, 2022

Julian Rowan Thermos and Esa Niemi Pattern

In hindsight, it’s fun and unnerving to discover that the everyday objects from your childhood are now pedestalled and spotlighted in a show on Canadian Modern design (see for details).

Today’s highlights from the show:

• Thermos Model 6402 | 1962

A smaller version of this orange canister fit inside my Snoopy lunchbox.

Designed by Julian Rowan (Dudas Kuypers Rowan Design)

b. Edmonton, Alberta, 1925

Canadian Thermos Products, Toronto, Ontario

• Onion Curtain [furnishing textile] c. 1975

I’m going to challenge that circa and guess that this “supergraphic” pattern dates closer to 1972 or ’73. Until this show, I hadn’t realized that the “swirly curtains” (as I used to call them) extending across the entire south wall of our kids’ bedrooms were the Pop Art-inspired textiles of Esa Niemi, a Finish-born designer who had a studio just down the highway from us in Etobicoke, Ontario. At the time, the suburbs of Toronto were humming with Danish modern inspiration. Both of my parents showed an intuitive understanding of the day-to-day social effects of good design.

P.S. My “swirly curtains” were sunflower yellow, olive green and burnt orange. The boys’ were red and maroon and black. I can still see them.

Designed by Esa Niemi, b. Finland, c. 1945-2000

Esa Niemi Design, Etobicoke, Ontario

If you need to take refuge from the holiday rush this week, stop by the show and discover all the designs that you never knew were singular to Canada.


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