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Iittala distribution centre designed from the inside out by Kasten.

Case Study Overview

Customer: Iittala Group
Location: Finland
Products/services used: Pallet Racking, Space planning, Design

Business need

Iittala started life as a company that created beautiful products in its glass factory. Today they have expanded their operation to offer additional items such as ceramics, cutlery and textiles that bring enjoyment and pleasure to everyday life. Throughout their history the company has retained its emphasis on the progressive philosophy of their design heroes, Kaj Franck and Alvar Aalto.

Iittala FinlandIittala sell their goods across Europe, Arabia, Japan and the USA and needed a distribution centre to service all the global distribution. Orders come in via various sales channels, including direct online sales.

The size of these orders and their eventual destination meant that the Iittala team in charge of planning the distribution centre were particularly keen to find a warehousing solution that would deliver customer satisfaction in a cost effective manner for all types of customer.

The company’s focus on design and functionality spread through to their brief for the construction of the warehouse. Nothing was to be built until the internal configuration had been worked out to ensure maximum space optimisation. As specialist in the field, Kasten was Iittala’s natural choice to supply and install the system.

Kasten solution

Working with such a forward-thinking company was like a dream come true for the Kasten team. They were able to devise a pallet racking system and layout that was not compromised by concrete pillars and other obstacles.

Iittala FinlandThey were able to determine the most effective aisle widths, advise on which height would be most efficient for Iittala’s storage needs, how many pallets and the best way to divide the pallet racks. With all Kasten’s plans agreed, Iittala allowed the builders to start construction.

Once the infrastructure had been completed, the Kasten team were able to jump straight in. The 7.6m high racking, which holds 22,800 pallets and is protected with frame protectors and tunnel guards, was divided into four Euro-pallet sections. As all beams have the same bearing capacity, they were able to achieve impressive load levels:

  • Load/level 3000kg
  • Load/section 15000kg
  • Load/FIN-pallet max. 1000kg
  • Load/EUR-pallet max. 750kg


The result

"Iittala’s strong belief in good design and functionality were central to the success of the project. The fact that they brought in Kasten to map out the space before it was even built was inspired. Designing from the inside out means this new distribution centre is far more efficient, as well as safer than anything they had previously."

About Iittala

The roots of Iittala date back to 1881 when a glass factory was established in a village of the same name in southern Finland. In its early years Iittala produced blown, pressed, polished, painted and etched glass according to continental models. In the beginning of the 20th century dinnerware was decorated with a variety of ornaments. Iittala was one of the first companies to make the transition from decorative dinner sets to functional, aesthetically pleasing objects infused with progressive Scandinavian design.