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Tapio Wirkkala Porcelain

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.

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Creator: Tapio Wirkkala
Fine Midcentury Tapio Wirkkala Rosenthal Coffee Set Gilt White Porcelain 1960s
By Rosenthal, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Nierstein am Rhein, DE
Fine and exquisite Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal studio-linie gilt white porcelain coffee set for 6 persons, Germany around 1960s to 1970s. This set belongs to the cabinet pieces so r...
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala Porcelain

Materials

Porcelain

Fine Tapio Wirkkala Gilt White Porcelain Rosenthal Coffee Espresso Tea Set 1960s
By Rosenthal, Tapio Wirkkala
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 Porcelain

Materials

Porcelain

Tapio Wirkkala Tea Set for Rosenthal Series Noire
By Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Berlin, DE
Set of 8 cups with saucers plus pitcher with brass handle. No chips!
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala Porcelain

Materials

Porcelain

Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal Porcelain Noir, 1960
By Rosenthal, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Los Angeles, CA
wonderful cylindrical black matte porcelain vase designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal/Siemens, with sublime relief of beaded pearls running down vertical lines, gives an impressi...
Category

1960s German Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala Porcelain

Materials

Porcelain

Tapio Wirkaala "Porcelaine Noire" Dish Plate for Rosenthal Studio Linie, 1970s
By Rosenthal, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Reggio Emilia, IT
Vintage dish plate in black porcelain designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal Studio Linie “Porcelaine Noire” serie with shiny and matte tone-on-tone dec...
Category

1970s German Post-Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala Porcelain

Materials

Porcelain

Tapio Wirkkala Composition Secunda Grey Set 34 Piece
By Rosenthal, Tapio Wirkkala
Located in Geneva, CH
Rare coffee and cake set in Rosenthal (Germany) bone china designed by Tapio Wirkkala, Finland 1963. 6 mocha cups with their saucers 6 coffee cups with their saucers Coffee pot Milk jug Sugar bowl 6 cake plates 20cm...
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1960s Finnish Scandinavian Modern Vintage Tapio Wirkkala Porcelain

Materials

Porcelain

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Previously Available Items
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Tapio Wirkkala porcelain for sale on 1stDibs.

Tapio Wirkkala porcelain are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of porcelain and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Tapio Wirkkala porcelain, although black editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original porcelain by Tapio Wirkkala were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider porcelain by Raymond Loewy, Lorenz Hutschenreuther, and Wallendorf. Prices for Tapio Wirkkala porcelain can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $450 and can go as high as $1,800, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,296.

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