Cover Toikka Birds from Iittala

If you think that there's no room for cute in your designer home, think again

Serious design brands have been celebrating animals for decades, many of which are now considered design objects. Here are 8 of our favourites.

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1. Vitra Resting Animals

The result of a research project by Swedish female design duo, Front, Resting Animals for Vitra focuses on the close connection between humans and figurative The Vitra universe is already full of beloved animals such as the Eames Elephant and House Whale but Resting Animals represent Front's systematic observation of sleeping or hibernating animals.



Comprising of a bear, a pair of birds and a cat, these slumbering creatures exude a serene tranquillity. While the cat and the birds are realised in ceramic, its largest animal, a knit-covered bear, can be used for a variety of functions, such as a stool, ottoman or backrest.

Vitra is available from HAUS 

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2. Normann Copenhagen Birds

Normann Copenhagen's flock of birds come in various delightful incarnations. Little Bird is a range of simple but expressive figures designed by designer Jan Christian Delfs. Turned in wood with a characteristic beak as the sole detail, the six different sizes each represent a particular character in the designer's own family, where tiny design-related variations give the birds personality

Designed by Icelandic designer Sigurjón Pálsson, the Shorebirds have a simple unadorned silhouette which belie the precision with which details such as variations in body thickness, neck length, and the positioning of the legs and beak gives all three birds their own unique personality. The largest of the three birds is inspired by the curlew, while the middle-sized bird is alert and active like a redshank. Lastly, the smallest represents the sociable sandpiper.

Also by Pálsson, the Puffin marks the coming of spring each year in the designer's Icelandic hometown. Carved from a single piece of wood then hand painted, this endearing little figure captured the sympathetic and slightly melancholic expression that makes this charismatic bird so loveable.

Normann Copenhagen is available at SMUK Living

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3. Aarikka Rams

While Finish heritage brand Aarikka is best known for buttons and jewellery, the company evolved from just wooden and silver jewellery into incorporating natural materials into beautifully realised homeware. 

The beads used in their jewellery were put to good use in their Pässi ram, a family of different sized rams in different colour ways and finishes. This design classic by Kaija Aarikka was born as the symbol of Finnish perseverance and has become a valued (and meaningful) gift, which still commands attention wherever it is placed.

Available at Aarikka

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4. Warm Nordic Beak Birds

Charming and full of personality, its no wonder that Danish brand Warm Nordic decided to immortalise Svend Aage Holm-Sørensen avians in teak. While Holm-Sørensen was synonymous with mid-century lighting design, his birds reflect a more whimsical side of the designer. 

What these birds do share with the designer's more well-known work is the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail. Realised in teak which acquires more character as time passes, the four engaging characters cover a broad spectrum, from upright and curious to more solid and thoughtful. But for all their differences, the birds are beautiful either together or solo. 

Available at Warm Nordic

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5. Architectmade Animals

Architectmade was established in 2004 is to create objects that are built to last and passed on and while it has a vast homeware range, it's the animal series that has captured the imagination. Indeed the menagerie featuring creatures designed by some of the design world's most iconic architects have become collectibles.

Take Oscar, Bobby and Rufus for instance, a trio of dogs designed by a young Hans Bølling in 1953. The Danish designer realised the dogs with his characteristic humour and love for details; the dogs bodies are articulated so they cam imitate everything a dog can do.

While Hans Bunde is more known for his silver work, the elegant Penguins was originally designed by the designer in 1954 for each of his sisters. Crafted from beech wood, the handpainted back represents the silky feathers of the bird although its clever design leaved no mistaking what other species these birds could be.

More recently, star-chitect Bjarke Ingels of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) was invited to design a pair of pandas to accompany the home BIG designed for two giant live pandas at the Copenhagen Zoo. Available in two sizes, the wooden pandas are designed to be rotate and have movable limbs.

Architectmade is available at Space Furniture 

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6. Woud Wildlife

Woud celebrates modern interpretations of Scandinavian simplicity in all its products, its small but considered animal collection is no different. All designed by Danish designer, Steffen Juul, the group comprises of Rina, a lovable rhino; the irresistibly charming hippo, Hibom; and Nunu, the friendly elephant.

All crafted from solid oak and designed so that their heads can be tilted to either side to give them expression, Juul's design builds upon an old tradition among Danish architects and designers to make expressive wooden sculptures.

Available at Woud

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7. Iittala Toikka Birds

Designed by Oiva Toikka, one of the greatest names in Finnish design, Birds by Toikka for Iittala Birds have transcended decoration into highly sought after art objects. The first Toikka Bird was issued in 1072, and since then every year reveals a new bird.

Each bird is a unique treasure, individually mouth-blown and signed with the artists' names. The Crake copper bird is the latest addition and features a special glass art technique that creates a brilliant stripe effect.

Iittala is available at Gudang.


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