Paavo Tynell started his career in Helsinki in the beginning of 20th century as a tinsmith, but developed quickly into a fine blacksmith, specializing on metal finishes. While working for Koru OY, a Finnish art metal forging company, Tynell qualified as a master craftsman in 1913. At the same time he was studying in Taideteollisuus Keskuskoulu (nowadays Helsinki University of Industrial Arts), where he ultimately worked as a teacher, due to his impeccable skills of knowing and using different materials and finishes. Many later international Finnish designers were studying under his guidance at the time, Kaj Franck and Gunnel Nyman to name a few, who both also later became his colleagues. In 1918 Paavo Tynell started his own company Oy Taito Ab together with Gösta Serlachius, Emil Wickström, Eric Ehrström and Frans Nykänen.
In the beginning the company created various metal objects, from industrial lighting to more demanding art metal work, such as statues, railings and silverware. However, as one of the first producers of lighting fixtures in Finland in the beginning of 20th century, Taito Oy began to focus more on lamps during 1930s, with Paavo Tynell as their head designer and CEO. Due to Tynell´s great contacts with architect colleagues, the company co-operated with several well known finnish architects, Alvar Aalto being the most notable one. The Company produced fixtures for all of Alvar Aalto's major projects, such as Paimio sanatorium (1929-1933), Savoy restaurant (1937), and Viipuri library (1935). As dominating plaeyr on the Finnish lighting market, Oy Taito Ab designed and manufactured lighting for numerous public buildings in Finland until 1950s, such as the Finnish Parliament House, Hotel Vaakuna, Lasipalatsi complex and Helsinki Central Railway Station. They also won several international awards for their products, recognitions at the Barcelona World Exhibition in 1929 and Milan Triennale in 1933 being the most prestigious ones.
A true turning point for the company was after the Second World War in 1947, when Tynell became involved with the Finland House, a gallery-showroom, restaurant and office building, located in central New York and owned by the Finnish-American Trading Company. Paavo Tynell designed all lighting for the restaurant and the gallery, where his designs were also showcased permanently. Due to Tynell´s unique style, which was very different compared to anything else available in North America, his designs gained appraisals all over the press, most notably by Life Magazine, Interiors Magazine and The New York Times.
The designer was especially appraised for His organic design idiom executed in a modern way, mixed with an extensive use of perforated and polished brass as material. Positive publicity led Tynell to collaborate with major international architects and interior designers, by designing custom made lighting fixtures for several hotels, department stores, offices and private residences across the country. Although Paavo Tynell´s designs were marketed under the name Finland House, all were Taito products and they continued to produce all items in Helsinki. Even a trademark TT: Taito-Tynell was in use at some point for the international market, higlighting the importance of the company´s designer.
Tynell continued to collaborate with American and other international architects, and designed also numerous custom fixtures for private clients. The best known example from this era is his lighting design for the office of the Secretary General in the United Nations building in New York, 1952. The smaller and earlier variation of the so called UN-lamp had already won the first prize by the American Interior Decorator´s competition for best lighting design in 1950. In Finland Tynell continued to work with various architects during 1950s, especially with Finnish architect and interior designer Aarne Ervi, who frequently used his designs in most of his projects, including Tapiola housing project (several locations in Espoo, Finland), major power plant constructions with residential areas in Northern Finland as well as in numerous private residences.
After almost a decade of productive marketing and trade of Finnish design, The Finnish-American Trading Company decided to sell The Finland House property in 1957 and it was also decided not to continue running the gallery separately. However, successful collaboration with Lightolier continued all the way until 1964 and part of the production was even handled by Taito/Idman in Finland. Tynell continued designing regularly for Idman as well until early 1960s and the company continued to produce their most popular lamp design ever by tynell, square and rectangular-shaped "starry sky" ceiling lamp all the way until late 1970s in different variations. originally model 9068 had been designed as early as mid 1940s for Taito oy.
- RESTAURANT KAUPUNGINKELLARI, HELSINKI, 1947: LIGHTING DESIGN- RESTAURANT TERVAHOVI, OULU, FINLAND, 1941: LIGHTING DESIGN
—Posted April 29, 2019