Design and style from a Scandinavian perspective

Ilmari Tapiovaara

Some utterly modern mid-century pieces from Finnish designer Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914-1999) made my day today.


Having worked for Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, you can definitely see traces of all of them in his designs, but Ilmari still managed to have a recognizable style by himself. His Helsinki office, opened around 1950, was involved in furniture and industrial design commissions for a number of different companies. He embraced the functionalist philosophy that a piece, both its use and structural conception should be understood at first sight.

While his pieces retained a sense of innovation and character, this belief made him an ideal candidate for the design of public spaces like students housing, cinemas, the Leningrad Concert Hall, airplane interiors for Finnair and the Intercontinental Hotel in Helsinki which he finished in 1973. His industrial design projects included the "Polar" series of cutlery for the Hackman Company, radio equipment for Centrum, and color planning for the paint company Winter & Co.



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