Eero Aarnio

Eero Aarnio (Jul 21, 1932) is one of the great Finnish interior of modern furniture design. In the 1960s, Eero Aarnio began experimenting with plastics, vivid colors and organic forms, breaking away from traditional design conventions. Many of Aarnio’s works are included in the world’s most prestigious museums, including Victoria and Albert Museum in London, MoMA in New York and Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein., such as his plastic and fibreglass chairs.

Born in 1932, Finnish designer Eero Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, and worked as an interior decorator, photographer, industrial and graphic designer before he began working with plastic as a medium for high-end furniture. Previously he had worked with traditional, natural materials, most notably “Jattujakkare”, a wicker basket chair. However, his interest and curiosity grew about plastic materials, particularly fiber glass, and he began experimenting. Today, the Finnish design world has been gifted with numerous of these innovative and iconic designs.

Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, and started his own office in 1962. The following year, he introduced his Ball Chair, a hollow sphere on a stand, open on one side to allow a person to sit within. The similar Bubble Chair was clear and suspended from above. Other innovative designs included his floating Pastil Chair, and Tomato Chair.

Designed in 1963 and manufactured in 1965, his piece “Ball Chair” consists of a spherical plastic shell reinforced with glass fiber and a round opening, allowing the user to peer out from his or her upholstered seat. The chamber also blocks out outside sounds, yet amplifies those that come from within the space of the globe.

Aarnio took the design a step further in 1968 with the introduction of the “Bubble Chair”, wanting to allow more light into the seating sanctuary and maximize visibility. Solid plastic was replaced with transparent Lucite, and the piece was hung from the ceiling, giving the illusion of floating in a giant soap bubble. His Screw Table, as the name suggests, had the appearance of a flat head screw driven into the ground. He was awarded the American Industrial Design award in 1968.

Another distinguished design is the 1968 “Pastil”, which won the American Industrial Design award for its comfortable form and unique aesthetic. Many other imaginative creations came to follow, including tables and light-hearted animal-shaped chairs beloved by children and kids-at-heart adults alike. Though many of these pieces are soaked in playful, pop colors, Eero Aarnio turned his nose to the throwaway ethic of the Pop era in which his work was born and thrived. He strived to challenge the way we think of plastics, and execute it in a way that is durable, beautiful and memorable. We think he succeeded.

Aarnio’s designs were an important aspect of 1960s popular culture, and could often be seen as part of sets in period science-fiction films. Because his designs used very simple geometric forms, they were ideal for such productions. Eero Aarnio continues to create new designs, including toys and furniture for children. Eero Aarnio opened his official webshop and first Design Eero Aarnio Showroom, in Helsinki. There you can find Aarnio`s latest design, prototypes and latest news.

Valmet Trade Mark Competition, Helsinki, Finland 1958, First Prize
International Furniture Competition, Cantu, Italy 1959, Third Prize
Export Furniture Competition, Helsinki, Finland 1963, Third Prize
International Competition on Furniture Design, Cantu, Italy 1964, First Prize
Scandinavian Park and Street Competition 1965, Stockholm, Sweden, First Prize
Steel Furniture Competition, Helsinki, Finland 1967, Second Prize
International Design Award of the A.I.D. (American Institute of Interior Designers) for Pastil Chair (Gyro) 1968, New York, USA
Honorary member of SIO (Finnish Association of Interior Designers) 1999
The Finland Prize 2005, The Ministry of Education, Finland
Interior Innovation Award Cologne 2006, Germany
The ADI Compasso d’Oro Award 2008, for Trioli chair, Italy
Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2008, Finland
Red Dot Design Award 2010, for Kubo bright light, Germany
Pro Finlandia Medal 2010, Finland
Green GOOD DESIGN 2010, for The Tree, USA
Red Dot Design Award 2012, for Ghost lamp, Germany

That´s it, Art Gallery Árvore, Porto, Portugal 2001
Eero Aarnio, Kunsthalle, Helsinki, Finland 2003
Eero Aarnio – popfantasier og sittende dagdrømmer, Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo, Norway 2004
Forestil dig en rund stol, Danish Design Center, Kopenhagen, Denmark 2005
Pop Fantasies: Furniture Design by Eero Aarnio, The Embassy of Finland, Washington DC, USA 2005
Fantasías del Pop. El diseño de Eero Aarnio, Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City 2007
Eero Aarnio – Retropop, Phantasie und Tagträume, The Embassy of Finland, Berlin, Germany 2007
The Kaj Franck Design Prize of 2008 – Eero Aarnio, Design Forum Finland, Helsinki 2008
Kaj Frank Design Prize Exhibition at the exhibition center of the visual arts TR1, Tampere 2009
Eero Aarnio Life in Design, AXIS Gallery, Tokyo and Design Museum de sign de, Osaka, Japan 2014
Eero Aarnio, Design Museum, Helsinki, Finland 2016
Eero Aarnio, Nationalmuseum Design, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm, Sweden 2017

Group Exhibitions:
Rattan Stools, Asko Oy, Helsinki 1961
7+7 Arkitekter, Stockholm, Sweden 1964
Triennale XIV, Milan, Italy 1964
Eurodomus, Genova, Italy 1966 and Milan, Italy 1970
Fiberglass Furniture, Asko Oy, Helsinki 1968
Plastic as Plastic, New York, USA 1970
Design aus Finnland, Asko GmbH, Cologne, Germany 1979
Masters of Modern Design, IBM Gallery, New York, USA 1991
Plastic Fantastic, Trapholt Museum of Modern Art, Denmark 2005
Pop Art Design, EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art), Finland 2015
Golden Generations. Modernism in Finnish Architecture and Design, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia 2015
Finnish Design 2017, Fukuoka City Museum, Japan 2017