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Marimekko is, without doubt, one of the great success stories in the history of 20th-century design. Founded in 1951 by the visionary textile designer Armi Ratia the company grew from a small textile-printing firm into an international phenomenon. Marimekko grew out of a small company called Printex, which was acquired by Armis huspand Viljo Ratia in 1949. Ratias expanded Printex, which had focused primarily on the production of oilcloth, into the textile-printing business. Armi (1912-79), who, as art director, built Marimekko into a purveyor and advocate of a highly distinct and fashionable lifestyle concept. She hired young artists with a fresh vision and encouraged them to experiment. She gave them a free hand to respond to new artistic and social currents. The best known artists, who worked for Printex and later for Marimekko were Maija Isola, Vuokko Nurmesniemi and Annika Rimaila.

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