Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) can be described as one of the icons of Finnish design and a symbol of the international success of postwar Finnish design. He was a versatile designer and artist who could shift fluently between different materials and crossed established professional boundaries: he worked on everything from refrigerators to banknotes and from furniture to striking jewels. The most important materials for Wirkkala were wood and glass – he never ceased to explore the possibilities they offer.
Tapio Wirkkala was also a furniture designer and a sculptor. He started his career as a sculptor in the 1930s, but abandoned the traditional sculpture in the post-war years – in the early 1950s, alongside with other works, he started to develop an entirely new relationship with sculpture and a new technique to be used. The result was a series of unique plywood sculptures which combined form and movement in the vibrant, densely lineated surface of plywood. Wirkkala’s sculptures represented exceptional abstractism and gave Finnish sculpture art a new direction at a time when the official line preferred monuments and heroic sculptures.