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Considered to be one of the defining interior architects and designers of his era, Ilmari Tapiovaara’s (1914-1999) output was prolific with dozens of iconic designs to his name.
After graduating from the Department of Furniture Design at the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1937, Tapiovaara went to work as an assistant at Le Corbusier’s Paris office, before being hired by the Asko company, Finland’s largest furniture factory, where he worked as a designer and artistic director.
Often said to have captured the essence of Finnish identity through his designs, Tapiovaara created well-lit dwellings, infused with humanity and warmth. His furniture was always part of the whole, drawing on his architectural practice and he displayed a preference for wood over other materials.
Influenced by the work of designer Alvar Aalto, Tapiovaara sought to carry on his ideas in his own work. He adopted the principle of social equality of functionalism and applied industrial production methods to wood.
Throughout his career, Tapiovaara continued to create innovative works that refused to stay within the bounds of traditional furniture design. For his efforts he was awarded a number of prestigious awards, including six Gold Medals at the Milan Triennials, the Good Design Award in Chicago, Pro Finlandia medal and the Finnish State Design Prize.