An ode to Tapio Wirkkala, icon of Finnish design

Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) is perhaps the most renowned Finnish designer that reached world fame in the early 1950s as a frontrunner of Finnish industrial design, a movement that had its breakthrough at the triennial fairs of 1951 and 1954 in Milan.

Versatility is a keyword in describing Wirkkala work: although he is best known as a glass designer, his body of work ranges from post-stamps to furniture to lighting. The latter is worth mentioning, since some of the finest Scandinavian design lamps from the mid-century period are from Wirkkalas hand.

Concerning Wirkkalas design inspiration, professor Juhani Pallasmaa writes: “Wirkkalas themes often derived from nature: from leaves, from the swirls of seashells, from the shapes of birds or fish, or more distant observations such as ice formations or the movements of water. Usually his primal emotion is so deeply ingrained in the object created that its origin can no longer be identified or analysed. He also sought inspiration from his travels abroad and from early Renaissance art.”

We selected the best pendant lamps designed by Wirkkala, both vintage and re-issued models, for sale and auction on the web.

Source text: professor Juhani Pallasmaa for This is Finland

Idman/Iittala, c.a. 1960 (at The Art of Vintage)

 


Chandelier of three diamond shaped K2-140 lamps, c.a. 1950-1959, for €3.390,39 (at 1stdibs)

 

Pendant Lamp TW003 by Artek, for 226,00 (at Smow)

 


Six Hanging Torch Chandelier, c.a. 1950-1959, for 5.799,34 (at 1stdibs)

 


Left: Ceiling-lamp “K2-132” by Idnan Oy, Finland, for auction (at Boterweg Auction)
Right: Littala, c.a. 1960-1969, for $514.00 (at Pamono)

 


Red Cased Glass and Teak Hanging Pendant, c.a. 1950-1959, for 2.185 (at 1stdibs)

 


Iittala/Idman Oy, Finland, c.a. 1960, for auction (at Wright)

 


Ceiling lampbyIdman Oy, Finland, c.a. 1960, for auction (at Modernity)
Ruud Fiers

Ruud is art-director and editor of Plant Light Book

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