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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.

Tapio Wirkkala, A Sterling Silver Art-Object, Model TW 36, Kultakeskus, 1959
By Tapio Wirkkala, Kultakeskus Oy
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Tapio Wirkkala, A sterling silver art-object, Model TW 36, Kultakeskus, Finland 1959 Artist Tapio Wirkkala (1915 Hanko, Finland-1985 Helsinki, Finland) A giant of Finnish design,...
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Silver, Sterling Silver

Tapio Wirkalla, Set of All Sizes “leaf” Art-Object, Model 3337, Ittala, 1950s
By Iittala, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in EL Waalre, NL
Tapio Wirkalla, set of all sizes “leaf” Art-object, model 3337, Ittala, 1950s Artist Tapio Wirkkala (1915 Hanko, Finland - 1985 Helsinki, Finland) A giant of Finnish design, Wirkka...
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Crystal

Tapio Wirkkala Ultima Thule for Iittala, Finland
By Tapio Wirkkala, Iittala
Located in Vienna, AT
Consists of: 12 whiskey glasses, 6 shot glasses, carafe. Whiskey glasses with upper diameter 7, height 8.5 cm shot glasses with upper diameter 4.5, height 5.5 cm, carafe height 22 c...
Category

1960s Finnish Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Crystal

Pair of Candleholders by Tima Sarpaneva for Iittala, Finland
By Tapio Wirkkala, Iittala
Located in Rijssen, NL
This pair of square candleholders designed by Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala, Finland are heavy, substantial and gorgeous. With large and small suspended bubbles and wrinkled glass, they...
Category

1980s Finnish Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Glass

Tapio Wirkkala for Venini Glass Art Egg Sculpture with Gold, Italy
By Tapio Wirkkala, Venini
Located in National City, CA
We are pleased to offer for your consideration a beautiful and hard to find glass art egg designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Venini. Original mount. Signed on the bottom. Made in Italy....
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Gold

Vase by Tapio Wirkkala
By Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Montreal, QC
White and clear overlay glass vase by Tapio Wirkkala. Etched signature on bottom "Tapio Wirkkala 3031." Original seal "made in Finland."
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Late 20th Century Finnish Tapio Wirkkala

Handmade Brass bowl by Tapio Wirkkala for Kultakeskus Oy
By Kultakeskus Oy, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Maastricht, NL
Brass bowl by Tapio Wirkkala and produced by Kultakeskus, Finland, 1970s, handmade by order. With makers mark and in perfect condition. We have several bowls by Wirkkala available. ...
Category

1970s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Brass

Molded Plywood Trays by Tapio Wirkkala
By Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Two "Fincraft" molded plywood trays (one large, and one medium-sized), designed in the 1950s by Tapio Wirkkala for Soinne et Kni, Helsinki. Soinne was the same company which produced...
Category

1950s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala

Materials

Plywood

  • Molded Plywood Trays by Tapio Wirkkala
  • Molded Plywood Trays by Tapio Wirkkala
  • Molded Plywood Trays by Tapio Wirkkala
  • Molded Plywood Trays by Tapio Wirkkala
H 16 in. W 21.5 in. D .7 in.
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