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Tapio Wirkkala

(1915-1985) Finland

Sculptor and designer, major cultural figure in post-war
Finland, Tapio Wirkkala was an eclectic genius and the most
prolific Finnish designer. He worked from materials as diverse
as glass, metal, plastic or wood, but also designed a banknote
for Finland (introduced in 1955) as well as the Finlandia vodka
bottle (1970-2000).
Inspired and nourished by his native country, the shapes of his
creations often evoke leaves or mushrooms, and he regularly
recharged his batteries during long solitary stays in Lapland.
To create his furniture, he used innovative processes such as
veneer, a technique developed by aerospace, and exceled
in glass techniques, his early training at the Central School of
Applied Arts in Helsinki. His Duo pattern cutlery, a goldsmith’s
masterpiece, is part of the collection of the Musée des Arts
Décoratifs in Paris and he is represented in all major museums
worldwide. In the 60, he created the famous Finnish knife: the
During his long and rich career, Wirkkala won numerous
awards, including the Lunning prize, the Faenza International
Design Competition gold medal, and 4 Grand Prix at the Milan
Triennial, where he presented in 1951 a leaf-shaped dish. A
parallel can be established between this one and ours, for their
similar and great dimensions, which make them rare pieces.
Tapio Wirrkala’s leaf-shaped dishes made of laminated
wood are amongst his most emblematic and sought-after
pieces. Hand curved, each piece is unique and pays tribute
to the qualities and characteristics of the wood from which
it originated, which was cut and hollowed out to create a
stunning striped effect.

(c) Catalogue Pierre Bergé & Assosiés, Mobilier scandinave 12 (15/12/2014)

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