Marjatta Metsovaara founded Metsovaara Oy in 1954 in the exact location as her father Santeri Metsovaara’s carpet manufacturing mill Suomen Matto Oy in Urjalankylä, where first a weaving mill was built where all was woven by hand. The first significant order of 3.000m came from Asko for a fabric concept with grey stripes that were tightly interwoven. Considering a handweaver was producing about 3 meters per day, it was a big order. Marjatta Metsovaara, who only had four weavers, hired more women around the Parish of Urjala and trained them to gather 70 weavers. The order was completed within the due date.
Production in the 1950s was handwoven blankets, upholstery fabrics, and rugs. The Comfort furniture fabric was made for Funktio Oy. Piikko (homespun tow) and Pikku-piikko (small homespun tow) were fashionable, tightly woven furniture fabrics made with natural materials and colors for Artek Oy.
When producing the first plaid blankets in 1954, the textile artist proved to be a masterful ruler of colors and made these blossoming, especially the mohair blankets using 60% mohair and 40% wool, the opposite proportion from the usual 60% wool and 40% mohair. The felt surface was carded, and it reflected the colors richly. These blankets were handwoven in Urjalankylä by 80 hand weavers and became a statement. The US was the most important market. The mohair came from South Africa. Today these blankets are produced in the same material on slow-speed power looms at a plant with state-of-the-art combing and spinning facilities in Western Cape, South Africa.
The color incubation in the wool pile rugs was as masterful as the blankets. In 1960 a new weaving hall with modern weaving machines was added. Marjatta remained the sole designer and owner of the plant and continued producing handwoven textiles.
There was a collaboration with Villayhtymä Oy for producing other furniture, curtain, and costume fabrics, with Finnrya Oy to design and make machine tufted rugs, and Finn Flare Oy for the pattern design of its clothing lines.
The collaboration with Tampella Oy started in 1962, about 500.000 meters in prints on Marjatta Metsovaara’s designed and gradually improved Lappi-cotton satin were produced for Metsovaara Oy. The same year she founded a modern weaving mill in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. This town was the place of origin of the Belgian textile industry. The new factory created the most advanced and innovative fabrics for projects and the furniture industry. Materials came out in 40 different colors, and Metsovaara Oy got an excellent supply from her mill in Belgium and Tampella.
In 1969 the Employee’s Pensions Act came into force in Finland. With this new law, the social costs of the employees came to be paid by the employer, and the prices of manufacturing rose to a high. Production became unprofitable. Many factories in Finland stopped production. Despite this, Metsovaara continued producing in Urjalankylä high-quality fabrics at the pace of 100.000 meters per year.
The mill in Belgium was run successfully. It was perhaps the world’s most innovative weaving mill and a genuine textile research center focused on transport textiles and the contract business. Hilton, Sheraton, Hyatt, Daewoo, Mandarin Oriental, Oberoi, Ciga Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels like the Pierre in New York were dressed with Metsovaara textiles. Theatres like the Berliner Philharmoniker and city theatres in Finland, government buildings, and the White House were supplied with Metsovaara textiles.
The Belgian railway, the Dutch railway, and Van Hool coachbuilder with their demanding criteria were good regular customers. British Airways and Finnair choose their flatweaves for their aircraft seats, Royal Air Maroc, Air Inter and Sabena stylish, light, and highly tight woven jacquards in floral motives. Orders from cruise and ferry lines became the most important business. The furniture industry, namely Artifort, Asko, Avarte, B&B, Cassina, Knoll, Ligne Roset, and textile distributors like Design Tex, Clarence House Textiles, and Jack Larsen were selling Metsovaara fabrics. Wamsutta Mills in was the largest producer of Metsovaara textiles in the US.
The company today
Finland’s most acclaimed textile designer Marjatta Metsovaara transformed the modern interior textile design world. She lived ahead of her time, and ahead of our time.
Today Metsovaara creates and produces high-quality modern and contemporary interior textiles and textile-related products for private and public spaces in Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Australia, South Africa, and the UK, where the company is based in Europe.
Metsovaara respects the high artistic values of Marjatta Metsovaara, one of the greatest textile designers of all time. Like the great textile designer wanted, we encourage the private consumer to choose high-performance curtain fabrics for home interiors.
With the production capabilities of today, we are more accurate than 50 years ago in weaving and printing the finest fabrics with the finest designs and producing textile-related products.
Metsovaara is a Finnish National Treasure. Picture the golden era of Mid Century architecture, design, and exciting, vibrant home decor. That era introduced the world to the incredible library of woven and printed textile designs by Marjatta Metsovaara, the most acclaimed and internationally awarded Finnish textile designer. By expanding this heritage with forward-thinking materials, techniques, and bold creative thinking, our ambition is to deliver new perspectives on Nordic design.
Our fabrics are enjoyed across the world, representing the best of Nordic design today.