A nationally and internationally significant art and design collection in Porvoo Museum is the heritage of the factory AB Iris. The factory was founded in Porvoo in 1897. The central principle of the business was to create real and functional products for the common man in the spirit of the English Arts and Crafts movement, as a counter point to industrial mass production.
One of the founders and the leader of the company was the Swedish-Italian artist Louis Sparre, who was also in charge of the furniture design of the company. The ceramics department was led by the Belgian-English artist and ceramicist Alfred William Finch. The factory operated on Kaivokatu in Porvoo and its products were sold in a shop in central Helsinki. The factory in Porvoo employed both skilled craftsmen as well as other workers in different roles. AB Iris was in operation only a few years. To sell quality handmande goods for a moderate price proved to be impossible. In 1902 bankruptcy was inevitable.
The AB Iris design collection in Porvoo Museum is one of the most significant in Finland. It contains over 300 objects designed by Louis Sparre and A. W. Finch.
AB Iris is one of Porvoo Museum’s national area of collections responsibility in the collection collaboration network between museums (TAKO).