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EXHIBITIONS

ILMARI TAPIOVAARA (BEYOND THE NORDIC LIGHT)

ILMARI TAPIOVAARA
(BEYOND THE NORDIC LIGHT)

BARCELONA
SIDE GALLERY
DEC 08 2016 - FEB 09 2017

Ilmari Tapiovaara was one of the greatest Finnish designers of the XX century, if not one of the finest in Europe of his era. His character was curious, and he was a talented craftsman, thus he was always looking for new solutions to improve everyday objects. Throughout his lengthy career he created many iconic objects and sought-after furniture pieces, it is often said that in his work he “captured the essence of Finnish identity”.

Tapiovaara graduated from the department of furniture design at the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki in 1937. Once finished with his studies he worked as an assistant in Le Corbusier’s office in Paris before becoming artistic director and designer at Asko Oy, at the time one of Finland’s largest furniture manufacturers. On display at Side Gallery’s retrospective were a number of pieces designed and manufactured by Tapiovaara, during his time at Asko, for example a pair of armchairs, model “2468”, as well as a ceiling and two floor lamps from the series “Maija the Bee”


In the late 1940s the Finnish craftsman designed furniture with his wife, Annikki for Domus Academica, the new student housing facility in Helsinki. It was in the course of this project that the famous Domus chair was created. The chair was also displayed at Side Gallery’s Beyond the Nordic Light.

Another interesting aspect of Tapiovaara’s work was his inspiration and respect for his fellow Finnish creator’s work Alvar Aalto. Ilmari wanted to design products based on the same ideological premises as Aalto. He embraced the same principles as his idol that functionalism works hand in hand with social equality, Tapiovaara felt that architecture was the starting point for his design work.

Side Gallery presented an interesting overview of Tapiovaara’s work, with a particular focus on pieces produced between 1949 and 1960. Pieces by the designer are still on sale on the gallery’s website.