Maija Isola was a Finnish designer, which was especially known for her most famous work, causing furores all over the world: The legendary Unikko pattern, which she designed in the 1960s for Marimekko.
The textile designer Isola, born in 1927, studied at the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki. After she graduated in 1949, the Finnish started to work as chief designer for the Finnish textiles company Printex. In that time Isola already designed numerous textile patterns, which were especially used for interior furnishing. In 1951 the designs of Maija Isola were also produced by Marimekko. Marimekko was founded as sister-company of Printex, in order to pass the designs of the textiles manufacturer into fashion and interior architecture.
The designs by Maija Isola are characterized by the floral motives, geometrical shapes and strong, balanced colours. The designer often transmitted patterns of the paintings she made to screen printing, in order to multiply them and to continue using them. Her characteristic style transformed Isola into one of few permanent house-designers of Marimekko.
Patterns such as Kaivo or the famous Unikko didn’t only embody Isola’s style, but they also encouraged a completely new trend in Finnish designs. This encouraged the worldwide success of the patterns of Maija Isola, passing the borders of Scandinavia. Her designs are still popular all over the world, from Scandinavia to the USA.