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Tapio Wirkkala

Finnish, 1915-1985

Along with architect Alvar Aalto, the designer Tapio Wirkkala was Finland’s leading contributor to the Scandinavian interpretation of modernism in the mid-20th century. Prolific and innovative, Wirkkala excelled in a wide range of fields, including glass, furniture, porcelain, jewelry and tableware. The hallmark of his talent was an ability to impart a craft aesthetic based on natural forms — leaves, ice, bubbles, birds — to industrially produced designs.

A native of Helsinki, Wirkkala studied at the national School of Applied Arts and took up a career in graphic design. After serving in the Finnish army during World War II, he joined the glassmaking firm Iittala, an association that would continue to the end of his life. Wirkkala learned every aspect of glassmaking in keeping with his belief that an artist-designer should be involved in all stages of production. His best-known works for Iittala are vases and drinking vessels that resemble either carved ice or icicles. In 1956, Wirkkala began a long relationship with the porcelain maker Rosenthal, for whom he designed elegant table pieces, such as the Finlandia coffee service and the biomorphic Pollo vases. 

House Beautiful magazine declared Wirkkala’s Leaf platter the “most beautiful object” of 1951. (The acclaim led to his brief employment stint with industrial designer Raymond Loewy in New York.) That platter was one of the first designs Wirkkala made using laminated sheets of plywood sanded to a smooth surface that resembles an abstract leaf. It would go on to become a motif in many Wirkkala furniture pieces — most notably in inlaid coffee tables for Asko — and in a sense these are the works most emblematic of his personal aesthetic.

Wirkkala was a traditionalist in many ways, but he had a modernist’s practical approach, incorporating his leaf-like spirals into simple, functional objects. That is the core attraction of Wirkkala’s designs: They stand out with a striking, sculptural energy yet blend in as part of a warm and comfortable decor.

Find vintage Tapio Wirkkala furniture on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$795
Styles
Materials
Related Creators
Set 14 Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule Glass Dessert Bowls & Serving Bowl Finland
By Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Wayne, NJ
Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule Glass Set of 14 Dessert Bowls & 1 Serving Bowl Finland . The Large Bowl measures 4 1/8" high and 6 1/4" diameter. 1 original box. Only 1 still has a sti...
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Glass

Set of 8 Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule Glass Highball Glasses Finland 3 Toed
By Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Wayne, NJ
Set of 8 Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule Glass Glasses . They have a 3 foot / footed bottom. The top lip is approx 3 1/8" in diameter. Made in Finland . We ha...
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Glass

Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule Glass Pitcher On Rocks Old Fashioned Glasses Finland
By Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Wayne, NJ
Set of Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule Glass Pitcher and 6 Either on the Rocks or Double Old Fashioned Glasses ( measurements are very close on both, so not certain which they are) from ...
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Glass

‘Stellaria’ Candle Tealight Holder by Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala, 1970s
By Iittala, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in London, GB
Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala, c. 1970 ‘Stellaria’ candle tealight holder Clear textured glass Excellent condition Dimensions, approx..: Diameter 10.5cm, height 6.5cm, weight 2...
Category

1970s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Blown Glass

Tapio Wirkkala Scandinavian modern silver Trumpetti candlesticks Finland 1970's
By Tapio Wirkkala, Kultakeskus Oy
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Tapio Wirkkala Scandinavian modern silver Trumpetti candlesticks Finland 1970's A pair of Sterling silver “Trumpetti” candlesticks, model TW 284. Designed by Tapio Wirkkala in 1963 ...
Category

1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Silver, Sterling Silver

A Pair of Tapio Wirkkala, Bronze Bird Sculptures, Kultakeskus
By Tapio Wirkkala, Kultakeskus Oy
Located in Helsinki, FI
A couple of nice Tapio Wirkkala bronze bird paper weights. Both items are in beautiful original condition with nice vintage patinas. Although originally intended as paper weights, ...
Category

1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Bronze

  • A Pair of Tapio Wirkkala, Bronze Bird Sculptures, Kultakeskus
  • A Pair of Tapio Wirkkala, Bronze Bird Sculptures, Kultakeskus
  • A Pair of Tapio Wirkkala, Bronze Bird Sculptures, Kultakeskus
  • A Pair of Tapio Wirkkala, Bronze Bird Sculptures, Kultakeskus
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H 1.58 in W 1.97 in D 4.34 in
Fine Tapio Wirkkala Gilt White Porcelain Rosenthal Coffee Espresso Tea Set 1960s
By Tapio Wirkkala, Rosenthal
Located in Nierstein am Rhein, DE
Fine and exquisite Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal studio-linie gilt white porcelain coffee tea or espresso set for 6 persons, Germany around 1960s to 1970s. This set belongs to the cab...
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Porcelain

Large Venini Vase 'Coreano', Designed by Tapio Wirkkala in 1966
By Tapio Wirkkala, Venini
Located in Berghuelen, DE
Large Venini Vase 'Coreano', Designed by Tapio Wirkkala in 1966 A blue and green a fasce a spirale vase from the Coreani series. Designed in 1966 by Tapio Wirkkala for Venini. Produ...
Category

Late 20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Art Glass, Murano Glass

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Creators Similar to Tapio Wirkkala

More Tapio Wirkkala Designs
Tapio Wirkkala Triennale Pendant Light
Tapio Wirkkala Triennale Pendant Light
Average Price
$4,501
Number Available
10
Tapio Wirkkala Triennale Pendant Light
By Tapio Wirkkala
Materials
Glass, Metal
Styles
Mid Century Modern, Scandinavian Modern
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Tapio Wirkkala furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Tapio Wirkkala furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of glass and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Tapio Wirkkala furniture, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 263 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 19 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Tapio Wirkkala were created in the Scandinavian Modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Timo Sarpaneva, Kaj Franck, and Nuutajärvi Notsjõ. Prices for Tapio Wirkkala furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $57 and can go as high as $37,426, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,945.

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