Above: Finnish designer Eero Aarnio sitting in his most famous design, the ‘Ball’ chair, 1963.
I began to design furniture, because a piece of furniture is the most important and most prominent product of an interior, and a chair is the most difficult and most fascinating thing to design
Beginning in the early 1960’s Finnish architect Eero Aarnio was one of the early adopters of the use of plastics in furniture design. Experimenting with simple, colorful forms he explored fanciful, futuristic themes that embodied the decade’s ‘Space Age’ aesthetic. Certainly one of his most noted designs is the ‘ Ball Chair’, a private personal sitting space produced by Asko of Finland and was a instant sensation when introduced in 1963.
Born in Helsinki in 1932 Eero Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts and upon graduating he opened his own office in 1962. The following year Finnish manufacturer Asko launched what is perhaps his most famous design, the fiberglass, gel-coated ‘Ball’ chair which is now considered an icon of Modern design. With the 1960’s public appetite for bold, colorful – and even outlandish – designs Aarnio found an eager, international audience. He followed up the success of his ‘Ball’ chair with other innovative designs including his ‘Pastil’ chair, ‘Tomato’ chair, and ‘Bubble’ chair throughout the 1960’s making him not only part of the vanguard of the Pop design movement but one of its leading figures. In 1968 he was awarded the American Industrial Design Award.
Although classified as a Pop designer, Aarnio nevertheless rejected the concepts of disposable and ephemeral creations introduced by the Pop movement saying that, “A work of art can be forgotten by time; it can be forbidden and rejected but the elemental will always prevail over the ephemeral.”
Some of Eero Aarnio's works. Click on image for full view.6189 false false true false true true false auto false ease-in-out 300 false 0 true true
Today, at age 84, Aarnio and his studio still produce new lines of work that maintain the simple, and playful notions that reflect his lifetime of work. While seemingly less-known his than his design contemporaries, like Gunter Beltzig, Nanna Ditzel, and even Luigi Collani – who all explored plastics as a design medium – a current show at the Finnish Design Museum should shed more well-earned light on a design innovator.
Some of Aarnio's newer works. Click on image for full view6191 false false true false true true false auto false ease-in-out 300 false 0 true true
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