Gunnel Nyman (1909-1948) was a pioneering Finnish glass and metal artist who played a significant role in shaping the modern Finnish glass design. She was born on September 19, 1909, in Turku, Finland, and moved to Helsinki with her family in 1922. In 1936, she married Gunnar Nyman.
Nyman attended the Central School of Industrial Arts (Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu) in Helsinki, where she studied furniture design under Arttu Brummer. Her early designs were heavily influenced by the functionalist style.
Despite being trained as a furniture designer, Nyman also ventured into metalwork, designing lighting and ecclesiastical metalwork. Her collaboration with the metalsmith Oy Taito AB resulted in her design of lighting for the Swedish Theater in Helsinki.
Following World War II, Nyman turned her attention to glassware. She collaborated with several Finnish glassworks, including Riihimäki Karhula-Iittala and Nuutajärvi. Her glass art is known for its organic lines and focuses on the natural properties of glass.
Nyman's designs advocated early mass-produced glassware, which was a revolutionary concept in the 1940s. Her work paved the way for modern Finnish glass design, which is characterized by functional simplicity and a deep respect for the material.
Nyman's work has been exhibited in museums across the globe, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her legacy has been immortalized through various awards, such as the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1948, and her induction into the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in 1947.
Unfortunately, Nyman's career was cut short by her untimely death in 1948 at the age of 39. Nevertheless, her contributions to the world of design continue to inspire contemporary artists and designers to this day.