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object: BRAVUR wall clock

BRAVUR wall clock

Since 1992 over 900,000 of the ‘BRAVUR’ model clock have been manufactured and sold by IKEA. This 60cm diameter wall clock is notable for its considerable size and antique style.

The design was based upon an existing clock in the ticket hall of the art-nouveau Helsinki Central Railway Station, and thought to be created by station architect Eliel Saarinen in 1909. IKEA Head of Design Marcus Engman remarked of the BRAVUR design: “it struck me as particularly beautiful, its crisp legible face and sturdy black frame, it must be a very early example of a public clock face that uses numbers as opposed to Roman Numerals; really brilliant 20th century European railway design. It’s very authoritarian, quietly grand and yet somehow friendly, faintly reassuring.”

It was thought amongst many of IKEA’s design team to be both too large and too retro for the contemporary homes of its client-reach. It’s now the company’s biggest selling wall clock and this piece of Finnish railway station is found hung across the homes of the UK, Europe and America.

The word bravura dually applies to a specific style of classical music and the particular way in which it is performed - parading the skill of the performer. In ballet a dancer has bravura if they display both boldness and brilliance. In Polish it means foolhardy.

My parents had the clock on the wall in our family kitchen when I was a child, it looked great with the high ceiling, but I still think it works on the wall of the smaller kitchen since they moved. The exact same model was on the wall of our local swimming pool, and when I was older in the theatre where I took tickets. On the high streets it is seen on the walls of hairdressers, estate agents and cafes, it is seen at car garages and through the windows of care homes.