Monday, August 11, 2014

Ilmari Tapiovaara Centenary (exhibition at Design Museum, Helsinki)

Annikki and Ilmari Tapiovaara at their studio in 1954. Photo: Jussi Pohjakallio. Click to enlarge.
Ilmari Tapiovaara 100 years // 6 June - 21 September 2014 @ Design Museum
    Visited on 10 August, 2014.

A new book:
Aila Svenskberg (ed.): Ilmari Tapiovaara. Muotoilu ja elämä. Helsinki: Designmuseo, 2014. - 175 pages. - Written by Jukka Savolainen, Pekka Korvenmaa, Susanna Aaltonen, Suvi Saloniemi, Aila Svenskberg, Jonathan M. Woodham, and Ilmari Tapiovaara. - Richly illustrated.

Official introduction: "The year 2014 marks the centenary of the birth of designer Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914 – 1999). In honour of this event, Design Museum is staging a major exhibition of his work featuring both furniture and sketches from archive collections that have not been displayed previously. The book Ilmari Tapiovaara – Life and Design will be published in connection with the exhibition."

"Originally trained as an interior architect, Ilmari Tapiovaara followed an extensive career in design. He was the artistic director of a furniture factory, a teacher, an expert serving in development cooperation and the head of his own design office, among other work. Tapiovaara was a charismatic speaker and skilled writer with a public presence as a spokesman for modern professional design."

"The Ilmari Tapiovaara centenary exhibition presents one of Finland’s most significant designers in broad perspective. The numerous sketches, items of furniture, interior designs and personal items on show lead the viewer through Ilmari Tapiovaara’s life, presenting his development from an internationally oriented student to a prolific and responsible designer of the post-war years of reconstruction. His work is considered in particular from the perspective of the social responsibility of the designer. The exhibition also notes the significance of his wife and colleague, interior architect Annikki Tapiovaara as an important background figure."

"The exhibition is produced by Design Museum. The curatorial working group consists of curators Suvi Saloniemi, Salla Heino and Harri Kivilinna. The exhibition design is by Henri Halla-aho.  The book Ilmari Tapiovaara – Life and Design appearing in connection with the exhibition is edited by Aila Svenskberg with articles by Professor Pekka Korvenmaa of Aalto University, researcher Susanna Aaltonen PhD of the University of Helsinki, curator Suvi Saloniemi, editor Aila Svenskberg and Professor Jonathan Woodham of the University of Brighton."

The atmosphere is fresh and spacious in this Ilmari Tapiovaara exhibition which is structured both chronologically and thematically.
    The background in the large Tapiovaara cultural family passionately inspired by Finnish National Romanticism - even the names of the 11 children were taken from Kalevala mythology. Ilmari was the blacksmith sorcerer who forged the Sampo, the source of welfare.
    Early days in the 1930s, inspired by Alvar Aalto, Artek, the Projektio film society, the cinema, and work and studies in London, including film studies. Ilmari was studying to become the art designer for the films of his brother Nyrki Tapiovaara, who died in the Winter War.
    Wartime responsibility during three years as a frontline architect-designer of korsu dugouts. Necessity and hardship were mothers of invention. If I would make a biopic of Ilmari Tapiovaara I would focus on this angle. Ilmari always considered the war service his true university.
    The collaboration with Annikki Tapiovaara: they co-signed their designs. Like the Aalto couple and the Eames couple they worked together, and their home was their calling card.
    Postwar reconstruction: great designs for a battered and impoverished country.
    An international approach: participating in MoMA competitions and Milan Triennales, teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology with Mies van der Rohe, being created Honorary Royal Designer for Industry in Britain, working for development aid in Paraguay, Mauritius, Egypt, and Yugoslavia.
    Venturing to high modernism in the 1960s.
    Being inspired by psychedelia.
    Always with a respect to the skills of the handicraft of the carpenter.
Mademoiselle chair designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara (1957).

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