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Tapio Wirkkala

Tapio Wirkkala

Geboren: 1915 in Finnland
Gestorben: 1985


Zum Künstler

Tapio Wirkkala war Grafiker, Innenarchitekt und einer der weltweit profiliertesten Designer seiner Zeit. Er arbeitete im Designbüro von Raymond Loewy in New York und erlangte Bekanntheit, als seine Arbeiten auf den aufeinanderfolgenden Mailänder Triennalen 1951 und 1954 mit insgesamt 4 Grand Prix und drei Goldmedaillien ausgezeichnet wurden.

Wirkkala's works range from exlusive creations of art glass to mass-produced everyday objects, from unique pieces to beer bottles, incandescent lamps and banknotes.
Tapio Wirkkala was without doubt a designer whose works broke down the boundaries between the arts and crafts and the visual arts. He was also a charismatic and encouraging teacher and he created an impressive oeuvre in a wide range of materilals produced in many different countries.
Where a common language was lacking, Wirkkala communicated with his pen, drawing for example, designs on the floor of a glasshouse in murano, Italy. He drew continuously, but also worked with a Finnish 'puukko' knife, especially preferring to carve bobbin-shaped long-legged birds.
"The artist gets his fulfillment in the shape he has achieved and in overcoming the technical problems involved."
"All materials have their own unwritten laws. This is forgotten far too often. You should never be violent with a material you're working on, and the designer should aim at being in harmony with his material."

Tapio Wirkkala designed dozens of cutlery series, most of which have never been produced. He developed and tested the designs in wooden prototypes and then in the proper material before working out the final drawings. Other than making glassware and stoneware, Wirkkala also designed jewellery and sculptures.
It is not without a reason that Ultima Thule is one of Finland's most successful glass series of all times. The old term "ultima Thule" meant the most northern, most demanding and at the same time most venerated place in the world. Tapio Wirkkala was directly inspired but the Arctic mystique, Finland's wintry landscape and glassclear ice.

Originally trained as sculptor, Tapio Wirkkala was to give Finnish art glass a completely new dimension, with massive works such as crystal blocks, "ice" sculptures and his renowed Chantarelle pieces, which are highly priced at international art auctions. For the finnish pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, Wirkkala prepared a 9 -metre-long sculpture in aircraft plywood with a Lapp stream rushing forth in the middle.


Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) was one of the pioneers of Finnish industrial art who gained international recognition in the years following the Second World War. This was due to his broad aesthetic scope and his refined exhibition designs. Conflicting aspects combined in Tapio Wirkkala's life and art. He was equally at home in metropolitans abroad as in the wilds of Lapland, where he sought inspiration and impulses for his advanced design rooted solidly in the most genuine aspects of the finnish experience.



Aktuelle und vergangene Ausstellungstermine:
13. Design Börse Düsseldorf: Sonntag 27. November 2011

Weitere Termine:

Prizes and awards

The bank of Finland
Milano triennale Italy 1951, 1954, 1960 and 1963
Lunning prize 1951
House Beautiful, USA 1951
World Fair in Brussels, Belgium 1957
Society of Industrial Arts, England 1958
Museum of Contemporary Crafts, USA 1960
The International Badische Ainilin und Sodafabrik; Germany
The Golden Obelisk, Domus Italia 1963
Faenze Italy 1963, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1973
Vicenza, Italy 1963, 1966 and 1967
Suomen kulttuurirahasto 1968
Prince Eugen's Medal, Sweden 1980

Memberships of honor

Honorary Royal Designer of Industry, London, England 1964
Chairman of the goverment's Committee for Industrial Arts 1968-1973
Royal College of Arts, doctor honoris causa, London England 1971
Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, honorary memebership, London England 1971
Academician 1972

Work for Rosenthal / Awards
Für Rosenthal arbeitete Wirkkala seit 1957. Zu seinen unvergessenen Porzellan-, Glas- und Besteckentwürfen zählen »Century«, »Composition«, »Kurve«, »Polygon«, »Taille«, »Variation«. Als Beispiel für zeitgenössisches Design wurde das Service »Century« in die ständige Sammlung des Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, sowie »Variation« in die ständige Sammlung des Museum of Modern Art, New York aufgenommen. Für die Limitierten Kunstreihen kreiert er das Vasenobjekt »Aphrodite« (200 Exemplare).
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1963) »Variation« Trinkglasserie
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1963) »Variation« Kaffeeservice
Internationaler Designpreis AIID (1963) »Variation«
Medaglia d'Oro (1963) »Composition«
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1964) »Composition« Kaffeegedeck
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1964) »Composition Carat« Mokkatasse
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1964) »Composition Carat« Gießer
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1964) »Composition Carat« Mokkakanne
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1964) »Composition Carat« Zuckerdose
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1964) »Variation« Kaffeekanne
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1966) »Variation Porcelain noire« Teeservice
Medaglia d'Oro (1966) »Rillenvase«
Medaglia d'Oro (1968) »Rotunda«
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1970) »Punktreliefvasen«
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1972) »Kurve« Besteck
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) »Polygon« Speiseservice
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) »Polygon« Kaffeeservice
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Schale
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Vasen blau/grün
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Vasen schwarz
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Vasen weiß
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Vasen 3535
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Vase 3527
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1973) Vasen 3538
Medaille IGP (1973) »Century«
Medaille IGP (1973) »Polygon«
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1980) »Century« Kaffeeservice
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1980) »Century« Speiseservice
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1983) »Century« Besteck
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1983) »Polygon« Kochgeschirr
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1983) »Polygon« Gourmetteile
Die Gute Industrieform / iF (1983) »Polygon« Kaffee- und Speiseservice


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