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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ilmari Tapiovaara

Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914-1999) was born in Finland and graduated from the Central School of Arts and Crafts as an interior architect in 1937. Shortly afterwards, he was an assistant to Le Corbusier for six months.

In 1938 he became a designer and artistic director for the Asko company, Finland's largest furniture factory. In 1941 he became artistic and commercial director of the Keravan Puuteollisuus furniture company. He and his wife Annikki designed furniture for the Domus Academica student housing complex in Helsinki from 1946 through 1947. From this project came the Domus chair, one of his most famous designs.

Tapiovaara opened his own office in Helsinki in 1950 and received commissions from a number of companies. He admired the work of Alvar Aalto and was greatly influenced by him. His philosophy was that a piece of furniture should be understood at first sight. His work was straightforward and functional and made him an ideal choice for the design of public spaces.

He was awarded gold medals at the Milan triennials of 1951, 1954, 1957, 1960 and 1964. He received the Good Design Award in Chicago in 1951, the Pro Finlandia medal in 1959, the Finnish State Design Prize in 1971 and the Furniture Prize of the SIO Interior Architects' Association of Finland in 1990.

From and

Rocking chair

Dolphin chaise

Lulu chair

Bar stools

Maija lamp

Trienna coffee table

Nana armchair

Pirkka table and chairs


Domus chair

Tee-tee table

Kongo chairs

Bookshelf with storage bins


  1. The Dolphin Lounge is my kind of furniture - cool and comfy!

  2. @DearHelenHartman: I could watch some serious TV on that Dolphin!