Described in his native country as “The man who illuminated
Finland”, Paavo Tynell started his career as a blacksmith
apprentice before graduating from Helsinki’s College of Art and
Design. He worked a few years for Koru, a jewellery manufacturer,
before participating in the creation of Taito Oy, a lighting company,
of which he soon became one of the leading designers.
In 1919, he joined the Society of Finnish Decorative Artists
(Ornamo) and became president of the organisation. This
position placed him at the centre of the Finnish decorative arts
scene of the late 20s and allowed him to develop many successful
collaborations with other designers, such as Johan Sigfrid Sirén,
architect of Helsinki’s Parliament or Alvar Aalto, with whom he
commenced in 1929 a fruitful relationship to last many years.
At the end of the 30s, Taito Oy became the first lighting
manufacturer in Finland and the recipient of many awards,
such as the certificate of honour at the Barcelona Universal
Exhibition in 1929 and at the Milan Triennial in 1933.
During the 40s, Tynell developed a personal and unique style,
inspired by nature. He blended copper, glass, wicker and
leather to create lamps reminiscent of leaves, tree branches
His career expanded on an international scale after the
presentation of his lamps at the Finland House, restaurant and
gallery in New York and the publication of articles about him
in Life Magazine and the New York Times. Subsequently he
received numerous commissions amongst which exceptional
light fixtures for the Dallas Petroleum Club, Neiman Marcus
department store and the Havana Casino. The American
Institute of Interior Decorators awarded him the first prize in
1951 for his lighting creation for the UN Secretary General’s
office in New York.
(c) Catalogue Pierre Bergé & Associés, Mobilier scandinave 12 (15/12/2014)
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